Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Geography




The coastal zone is an area that has inspired man to some of his loftiest achievements and has provided an environment suited to many uses. Unfortunately, the growing pace and scale of development have created irrevocable disturbances of a natural environment important to the welfare of man. Environmental management is presented as the action essential to secure future benefits by reducing and preventing harmful effects of utilization. Water was chosen as the focus of the management program because of the role it plays in the coastal zone, its past history of management, and its interdependency with adjacent land uses from which total environmental management may inherently evolve. Basic to this management process was acknowledgement of and adherence to the 'situation' premise, namely, each region has its own particular identity which influences not only the importance of the various considerations but also the resultant actions to be taken.

Management is implemented through administrative agencies whose first priority is to establish designated areas of jurisdiction. If there were no constraints such as political boundaries and problems of political feasibility, what shape would these administrative units take? What are the ideal spatial units and what compromises will have to be employed given the 'situation'? These units were thought best conceived through legal and ecological considerations as they give notice to the 'situation' as well as being scope oriented. Their application to the spatial delineation of the coastal zone management unit was the purpose of the study. Ecological considerations exemplify the complexity and fragility of the coastal zone, define the role man plays in the scheme of things (something that has been paid little attention by managers), and serve as an introduction to systems management having spatial connotations. Legal considerations not only define the area of jurisdictional authority but also the administrative capabilities.

Chapter 2 reviews the ecological considerations by focusing on man's role in nature, and the systems outlook from which the application of two natural ecosystems in spatial delineation of the management area may be justifiably proposed.

Acknowledgment of the ecological 'situation', which incorporates the laws of nature, ideally should be complacent with international and national law which provides not only the jurisdictional authority to act but also the power to restrict what might be considered the appropriate action. This was carried out in Chapter 3 as it delved into legal norms as well as speculation of future developments in this field.

The river watershed and coastal ocean as designated by the ecological considerations were found from a legal point of view to require political compromise and alternatives. Integrated management requiring cooperative federalism had to be utilized in the application of the watershed concept. This was felt to be politically reasonable and therefore attainable. The coastal ocean, given present international legal norms, could not be included; therefore, a viable alternative was required. At the present time this alternative was the management of the coastal ocean within the coastal states' territorial sea with some initiatives being taken toward ocean management or at least toward coastal ocean management by international or national agencies.

The thesis concludes in Chapter 4 with a real world application of this hypothesis for Atlantic Canada (made possible by the allusion throughout the thesis to the Canadian 'situation' as it served to illustrate the considerations) . The only logical conclusion being that as the 'situation' differs from region to region so will the applicability of the concept.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.