Ocean and Coastal Law Outline
Showalter, Spring 2006
a. Coastal Systems: (The entire balance of the coastal systems depend on nutrient circulation. It may get out of balance by nutrient and settlement loading.)
iii. Estuary—where the river meets the sea. Area of fresh and salt water.
1. protected waters
2. may contain salt marshes, mangrove swamps, tidal creeks, mud flats, seagrasses, and shellfish beds
3. high nutrient levels
4. highly productive
5. different zones of salinity create habitat for numerous species
6. these are important b/c as nutrients come down the river they are able to export those into the ocean environment.
v. Coastal wetlands—most controversial area.
1. area on the coast where the land area is a transition between the land and the sea.
2. areas that are covered daily by tides. They are ultimately flooded, and there are lots of changes occurring daily.
3. these are not really ‘wetlands’
a. Provide essential habitat for many shoreline species and migratory birds
b. Nursery areas for offshore species
c. Shoreline stabilization and flood protection
d. Pollution control
i. Absorbs carbon and filter the water
e. Nutrient production
ix. Barrier island
1. these are the front line of storm defense.
2. These are not fixed, they are not supposed to be stationary. They migrate up and down the coast.
a. Ocean beach
b. Primary dune ridg
xii. Coral Reefs: most shallow tropical coast line.
1. clean, clear, lot of sunlight.
2. worlds most productive eco system
3. the coral itself are animals, and they grow very small amounts each year.
4. world’s most diverse marine habitat
5. estimated to support 1/3 of all the world’s fish species
6. highly sensitive to changes in their environment
7. 2/3 of the world’s reefs will face ecological collapse within the next century.
8. they are the most threatened habitat!!
b. Continental Shelf
i. Underwater margin of the continents formed by the splitting apart of continental blocks.
1. home to most of the world’s marine fisheries
2. often contains mineral or oil and gas deposits