The older triad of values along a spectrum


wildtiger monkey runs

book pagesChapter 7

Estuaries and The New Ecology: How the ecology of estuaries was examined and explained


Review | Key Players | Significant Idea | Summary | Concluding example

"The expansion of wisdom is a difficult task for an individual, let alone a society. In democratic cultures wisdom often may be overlooked at The voting boot in The formulation of policy. For citizens and civil servants alike, confronting popular notions of efficacy and justice takes courage. Rachel Louise Carson was an advocate of unpopular causes, including fish and bird protection, preservation of wild seashores, and opposition to heedless use of 'miracle' technologies. Her final, best known attack on The indiscriminate uses of DDT as an insecticide was only one part of her larger and more positive view of The world and humanity's place in The eco - energetic scheme.... More than any other scientist she popularized The oceans and The shores, with a profoundly religious respect for nature and a practical appreciation for human ignorance. A contemporary of her fellow preservation ecologist, Aldo Leopold, Carson focused more explicitly than he on oceans and shores."

(p. 134.)
Keystone Ideas:

Land Ethic



Wildlife Conservation

city or urban


Key Players

Rachel Carson

Eugene Odum

Joel Hedgpeth

Lewis Mumford

Henry Wright

Review of Chapter Seven's main points:

Rachel Carson's tradition 1937-1668.

Popularization of the Sea before and especially after the war

May 27, 1927, Rachel Carson was born in Springdale ,Pa.

1936 article in the Baltimore Sun on the Chesapeake Bay

Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act of 1934 to remedy single factor planning perspectives.

City Planning and scenic preservation in 1920s
Federal Conservation Policy reformulation from Hoover to Ickes and river protection

Carson's books

Carson in the US Fish and Wildlife Service

"takes away land suitable for wildlife" she argued as cities and highways were built and marshes were destroyed in the process.

Osborn, Brown and Commoner all stake out ecological problems due to population, resources and technology as causal factors.

The Sea Around Us (1951)
National Book Award

Edge of the Sea (1955)

tideland habitats and their creatures

Place of our ancestral beginnings

A sense of wonder for seashore life

"essential unity that binds life to the earth"

page, 141.


Basis of the marine food chain: dinoflagellates, diatoms and copepods: the plankton.

Oysters and filter feeders

"awareness of its beauty, and its deeper meanings, sensing the intricate fabric of life where one creature is linked to another and each with its surroundings."

page, 142.
Eugene Odum's work (1954) in the Georgia Sea Islands.

"arteries of a remarkable energy absorbing natural system whose heart was the pumping action of the tides"

marsh from above

Farm in the midst of Chesapeake Bay marshes.

page, 143.

Claude Zobel and the role of bacteria and soil fungus in productivity of plants.

Joel Hedgpeth

Between Pacific Tides, Ed Ricketts, John Steinbeck and the Monterey Bay fisheries

Shipworms and San Francisco Bay water quality changes

Water content of the hydrological system

water quality decline threatened estuaries nationally

Ties Lindeman's study to marsh grass productivity and Odum's rationale.

"We tend to see that estuaries tend to be more fertile than either uplands on one hand or the sea on the other." Eugene Odum, 1961.

Spartina grass, mud algae, diatoms and the productive base of tidal marshes

What accounts for productivity of wetlands?

The fertility of tidal seas is unsurpassed due to animals and plants found nowhere else. These bacterial life forms called "protoctista" are able to live in either oxygen abundant (Oxic) or oxygen scarce (Anoxic) situations and some thrive under both conditions. This area shown in the animation above is an important edge where one significant component of seaside production is apparent. This productive zone, deeper in the muds and sand flats, is a source of the prolific life that thrives in coastal marshes.

The ocean's temperate conditions, a coastal edge effect, and abundant nutrients are a triad of conditions contributing to the productive potential of this seaside nursery.

page, 146.


The economic returns from and thus the marginal utility of a corn field is greater than an estuary -- but an estuarine marsh is biologically greater in productivity where the yield in terms of fish caught along the shore, or offshore, or out at sea is reaped, not by the land owner, but by the fisher, the fisher's family or the canneries that process the fish. The fisheries, such as salmon, shrimp or blue crab, clams, sardines or oysters, all depend on the healthy functioning of clean and relatively undisturbed estuaries where coastal marshes help to nourish young fish, shrimps, crabs and mollusks.

Estuary productivity Estuarine

Problems of the merely agronomic approach to marshes is similar to one dimensional planning.

Need for coastal restoration districts based on the Soil Conservation District concept.

Comprehensive Planning theme
regional planning strengths and weaknesses

Planning movement, cities and transportation

Philadelphia transportation plan: PenJerDel

Suburban growth --as pictured here in the San Fernando Valley, just 20 miles from the coastline-- was enabled by the diversion of fresh water from estuaries and the progressive belief that home ownership was a strengthening element in post World War One America.

As the expansion of automobile roads and railway lines spurred the rapid development f land into suburbs, several cities began to become interested and promote regional planning.

Henry Wright -- NY State Commissioner of Housing define planning's goal

so that "economic gain may not involve inevitable social loss." (Pinchot),

balance country and urban influences by retaining the best of both.

page, 149.


Lewis Mumford's May 1, 1925 address on defects and fuzziness of "regional planning" defined region.
As "any geographic area that possesses a certain unity of climate, soil, vegetation, industry, and culture."

Defined in order that planners may see "that population is distributed" he said "to utilize, rather than to nullify or destroy its [the regions'] natural advantages."

Regional Planning Association of America

New York City Metropolitan Plan Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior, & the New Deal Programs of PWA & WPA

National Planning Board's short lived history

1938 Monterey County Zoning Board's scenic preservation zoning upheld in court.

Emergence from the ecological revolt of the Gospel of Ecology, New Conservation, or New Ecology 1959-1964, as the Third Wave of Conservation.

Human psychic need to identify with its surrounding land and water

sense of geological history to human endeavors

Carson's Silent Spring (1961 -1962)

page, 154.

Economic dependence on ecological conditions of productive existence, such as marshes as the necessity (B of A/B cleavage in Leopold's arguments) are quietly and unknowingly sustaining 1) mud algae, 2) diatoms, 3) spartina, or salt grass meadows needed by fish, mammals and birds. Although often caught off shore sport fish like tarpon, sport and commercial fish like salmon or shad, food fisheries such as scallops, clams, oysters and mussels thrive because of the food produced in estuaries and salt marshes.


So seafood and bird-life for which there is economic value, in that people will pay to eat fish and shellfish or view bird life, in the preservation of tidal marshes.

Popularization of the marsh / tidelands message

Dying of cancer she visited Mount Desert Island

April 14, 1964, Rachel Carson died (Silver Spring, Maryland) -- the end of "that intangible cycle"

pp. 155-156.

Ecological values:

"the articulation of an Estuarine preservation ideal" because the estuary is a "keystone for marine life" in the sense that certain animals are keystone species that support a wide variety of interdependent but not genetically related species.

Tropical hardwood

Economic values:

Value of marshes for sanitation alone (1960s) was over $50,000 per acre in cultural replacement of the natural function.

The estuary, any estuary acts like "a keystone for marine life because of its position in the food web of the sea," Bruce Wallace,(1972)

pp. 55-156.

"Cradle of life"

"A sea-life nursery"

p. 183.


A graphical example of how the distributed value of estuarine marshes is discounted in favor of the intensity of value of the fishers who harvest the catch dependent on clean, ample, circulating and well timed water delivery within a river's mouth.

pp. 144-186.

| Index for Complete book |

Estuarine protection

Images of the American landscape

Siry Cover Book overview : Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,