New River, North Carolina: Fate and Transport of Non-Point Source Pollutants from a Coastal River to Nearshore Hardbottom Habitat

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Coastal Zone Management

First Advisor

Donald McCorquodale

Second Advisor

Charles Messing


This research paper reviews the literature on point and non-point pollutants in coastal rivers, and specifically their effects on nearshore hardbottom resources near the New River Inlet, the entrance of the New River tidal estuary that discharges into OnslowBay, Onslow County, North Carolina(Figure 1). The New River, which meanders through the City of Jacksonville and the U.S. Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune, consists of several broad shallow lagoons that drain a catchment area of 1,436 km2 (Mallin et al., 2005). The Inlet lies betweenTopsailIsland to the southwest andOnslowBeach to the northeast. This review demonstrates that the benthic flora and fauna documented as hardbottom communities in the study area have naturally adapted to and are characteristic of high suspended sediment environments with low-light conditions, that is, a silt-laden, turbid habitat. Nevertheless, excessive amounts of nutrients flowing from the New River to nearshore coastal habitats is altering the local benthic community by changing species abundance and richness, and decreasing biodiversity.

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