Coastal And Estuarine Problems

Being associated with MARINE RESOURCES in the State of South Carolina, I am here this morning to put a little salt in your program. Perhaps the first thing that I need to do is give a general definition of an estuary and the coastal zone area. Many versions of an estuary have b€en published but the one given by Pritchard (1967) appeals to me, "An estuary is a semi-enclosed coastal body of water which has a free connection with the open sea and within which sea water is measurably diluted with fresh water derived from land drainage." The Coastal Zone has been defined as "a strip of geography where the land meets the ocean." It has also been defined by land-oriented individuals as "the location where the people meet the ocean." In any case, "it is where the action is." It is where extremists of the economic development movement meet extremists of the preservationist movement and get involved in a fight that I hope neither side wins. Most people already have an understanding of both the quality and quantity of activities which occur in the coastal zone. However, very few appreciate the tremendous complexity and significance of the potentials and challenges which are present in the coastal zone. The principle issue permeating the coastal zone problem is to provide for many diverse and conflicting demands, both public and private and still obtain the greatest long-term social and economic benefit. In discussing Coastal and Estuarine Problems, I am going to concentrate on the Coastal State of South Carolina, but these problems would apply to most any Coastal State in the nation. Although we have a great marine resources potential in South Carolina, many demands are now being made upon our waters, marshlands, and open seas. We must have the proper research and management to insure the continued protecting of OUr estuarine areas. Other regions of the Atlantic and Pacific coast have grown fat with prosperity but are in danger of dying slow and painful deaths from the poisons they have spewed into their air and flushed into their waters. Is it now possible for preciously poor regions to enjoy unpoisoned properties? The South Carolina Marine Resources Divisions plan to exploit this to the fullest. Much of the coastal zone of South Carolina has not yet been properly planned for multiple-use development. The need for systematic intraagency planning is most obvious in the coastal zone. The economic conflicts are intense: the social and political considerations are complex; and pollutants do not observe state boundaries. Competition for these resources will grow more intense, and many decisions once carried out, can never be undone.

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