Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Geography and Geology

Degree Type

Master of Science


In response to growing concerns over wetland habitat loss and the associated impact on water resources, federal and state legislation has been enacted to protect vulnerable wetland habitats from the impacts of humans. In order to examine the efficacy of current coastal resource policy and its implementation, a study was conducted in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, a coastal city of the Atlantic, focusing on the quantification of wetland habitat change over time within a specific area of interest. The study incorporated an assessment of the effects of escalating population pressures and subsequent urban development on local wetland habitats due to the inherent threat of habitat degradation resulting from negligent development practices. The research methodology included a series of stakeholder interviews conducted within the Mount Pleasant community in order to define the key players who shape coastal resource policy formation, implementation, and enforcement. Further, a spatial analysis examined land use change over time. A historical record of regional land use derived from remotely sensed satellite imagery enabled the measurement of land use change over time. The results of a change detection analysis indicate an acceleration of wetland habitat loss in the second decade chosen for analysis in spite of strengthened coastal resource regulations enacted within the same time period. These results support a need for improved regulatory enforcement strategies and utilization of conservation-driven development practices.


Environmental Health and Protection | Geography