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POSITIVE HUMAN INTERACTION WITH NATURAL ECOSYSTEMS CAPE FEAR RIVER ESTUARY RESEARCH CENTER: WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA



The location of the site for the new Cape Fear River Estuary  Research Center is situated in a unique set of ideal urban conditions to establish a prominent plaza for celebrations and large gatherings. The site is also a historically significant node and anchor point along the famous Riverwalk of Wilmington, NC. The new research center facility will offer a hands on look into the daily cycles of the natural estuary, monitor the natural tide cycles, river dredging and depth control measures, and other constraints of this fragile natural resource situated ideally along the Cape Fear River and Atlantic Ocean Coast of North Carolina.



 

  








 





Inside The New Cape Fear River Estuary Research Center

K Y AREA KE E S + COMPONEN C TTS OF THE ESTTUARY: Y



1)- Northeast Cape Fear River Area: zero salinity area (salt water < 1% of water volume). Major

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Anadramous-



Benefits of Estuary Ecosystem m



benefits of natural processes of ecos ystem e



2)- Conjunction of Cape Fear River + Northeast Cape Fear River Area- water is just turning salty as it approaches within 2 miles of the Wilmington area. During high tides or low periods of rainfall salinity levels increase. Aftfer heavy periods of rainfall the zero salinity line drifts f as far as 15 miles to the south of Wilmington. 3)- Port of Wilmington- river bottom is dredged every few f years to keep water depth deep enough for f large ships to enter (water depth min. 42’to 48’). Vital components of the estuarine ffood chain can be ffound in the sediments removed by dredging. Benthic organsims- worms, amphipods, molluscs, + coarseness of sediments which is governed by chemistry and water velocity. Benthic organisms are displaced and move the ffood supply to where dredge spoils are dumped. Dredge spoils serve as important nesting areas ffor birds. 4)- Salt Marshes- located a ffew miles south of Wilmington’s’ center. Dominant plants salt marsh cordgrass, sea lavender,r sea oxeye, black needle rush, dead + living cedar trees. Certain areas of dredge spoils elevated enough to support small tree growth. 5)- Allen Creek Area- wide expanses of marsh + swamp remain intact. This area of the estuary is dominated by well-mixed river discharge which allows entire water column to move upriver during

 







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Local Watersheds + Nearby Estuary Centers

6)- Wrack Line + Spartina debris- this area serves as vital source of nutrients in the estuary. Grasses are inedible to most organisms in the estuary. Bacteria and fungi primarily serve as food f ffor crabs and snails, which are food f ffor birds and small mammals. Spartina trees die in the winter and dead husks are washed on shore providing shelter ffor crabs, small mammals, + alligators. Decayed plant remnants help to build up soils + sediments in the estuary. 7)- Tidal Creek Area- located near the shoreline consists of salt meadow hay, y wax myrtle, marsh elder,r seaside goldenrods and typically creates lots of diverse habitats within a small area. 8)- Federal Point Basin Area- located a ffew miles south of Snow’s’ Cut and is part of the Zeke’s’ Island cordgrass at the water’s’ edge, salt marsh reeds, shrubs + oak trees. Water has salinity of full strength salt water. 9)- Zeke’s’ Island + Intercoastal Waterway to Atlantic Ocean- fe f atures a cement wall which keeps the

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an extensive amount of oyster beds, various species of skates, rays, and small sharks.

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Key Sur urrroun oundin din ingg Areas eas+ + Com omp mpone onn nts


  New Estuary Research Center + Plaza Overlooking the Cape Fear River

Cape Fear River History + Constraints:

Geoff Wike





KEY COMPONENTS OF THE RIVER BASIN:

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1)- Cape Fear River Basin Profi ofile le-- 6,386 total miles of rivers/streams, 31,135 total acres of lakes, 31,753 total acres of estuary, 26 counties, 115 munincipalities, total area of 9,149 square miles. Natural river depth ranges from 4 ft - 32 ft undredged. The river is dredged often to keep typical river depths between 42ft - 48 ft. 2)- River Trade + Indusstryy- served as an important highway for early commerce through the historic ports of Brunswick, Charleston, and Wilmington. River trade extended up to Fayetteville with the use of a series of three locks and dams which raised the water levels. Throughout 19th century shallow-draft steam boats docked at more than 100 landings scattered from Fayetteville to Wilmington. 3)- Products + Exp xports- hundreds of turpentine distilleries once lined the historically vast longleaf pine forests of the area. Products of these trees such as tar, pitch, turpentine, and rosin made Wilmington the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest exporter of naval stores in the 18th and 19th centuries. 4)- Cappe pe Fear Riverr Es Estu Estu tuar aryy + W ar Wiilddlilife fe- the river ends as a 35 mile long coastal estuary. 95 species of commercial/recreational fish + 42 rare aquatic species inhabit the Cape Fear River Basin. The Cape Fear River Shiner (a type of minnow) is an endangered species that is only found in this area. The shortnose sturgeon, red-cockaded woodpecker, Saint Francis satyr (a butterfly) and West Indian Manatee are other prominent endangered species found in the area. Other threatened species such as the American Alligator and loggerhead sea turtle inhibit the area. 5)- PPrrobbleems 5) ms-- fertilizers and animal waste runoff from lawns, urban developed areas, farm fields, + livestock operations, all contribute to increasing the flow of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) into nearby waters. These nutrients stimulate a

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Dest De sttro roye oye yerr sh ship hip i arrr ivves in Wi W lm lmin i gt in g on

 





 







Flood Information from FEMA

Crrui uise Shi hipp de depa part pa rtin rt inng frfrom om Wililmi ming mi ngto ng tonn to to to Jam mai aica ca


Series of Urban Nodes

Urban Connections

Hierarchy of Streets

Prominent Views From Site

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Diagrams of Site Context: Downtown Wilmington, NC:

Stormwater Runoff From City Grid is Filtered Through Natural Estuary Processes

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Parti: Estuary Research Center


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Attractions

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Dining

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Houses of Worship

Parking

Services

Shopping


Southwest Elevation: Physical Model

Northwest Elevation: Physical Model


SECTION C SECTION B 0’ 16’ 32’

Northwest Elevation: Physical Model

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0’ 16’ 32’

View at Entry Court to Riverside Plaza from North Water Street

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0’ 16’ 32’

View at Suspended Exhibition Hall Stairs to Mezzanine Level

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View of The New Community Arts Auditorium Main Level

View of Riverwalk and New Cape Fear River Estaury Research Center


Building Section B: Riverside Restaurant and Academic Wing

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Section C: Riverside Plaza Ampitheatre, Estuary Research Center, and Community Arts Auditorium


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RIVERWALK AREA RIVERSIDE FESTIVAL PARK RIVERSIDE RESTAURANT SPECIAL EXHIBITS GALLERY RESEARCH LAB WATER STREET WALK COMMUNITY ARTS AUDITORIUM EXHIBITION HALL OBSERVATION DECK OUTDOOR AMPITHEATRE RIVERSIDE PLAZA

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MONITORING THE FLUCTUATING RIVER DEPTHS CAPE FEAR RIVER ESTUARY RESEARCH OUTPOST: NEAR SOUTH PELICAN ISLAND, NORTH CAROLINA The Cape Fear River Estuary Research Outpost is designed to monitor and record tide and water level fluctuations, serve as an educational resource to assist the general pubilc with a better understanding of the constraints of the Cape Fear River, the dredging process, natural filtration processes of the estuary, and to serve as a physical observation area of the natural habitat of the many creatures and vegetation of Cape Fear River Estuary and North Carolina Coast.


Cape Fear River Estuary Research Outpost Location: Near South Pelican Island (Birdâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Island) Purpose: To monitor and record tide + water fluctuation levels, serve as an educational resource to help the public better understand the river dredging process, natural filtration processes of the estuary, and serve as a physical observation area of the Cape Fear River Estuary

Dredging equipment

Dredged materials

Bird Island

Outpost location


The Research Outpost Station allows visitors to ascend high above the Estuary Marsh to avoid disturbing any natural resources of the fragile estuary marsh by repetitive foot traffic in the same path. Visitors can observe the River being dredged, while enjoying the natural rare sights and surrounding sounds of the Cape Fear River Estuary.

Cape Fear River

Estuary Marsh The Outpost Station allows for visitors to visually monitor the current height of the river’s water level due to association with which “step” the water touches. At dusk, the “step” indicating current river depth will be lit red or green, to help serve warning of dangerous low water conditons to ships. During the day, visitors can ascend the steps into the water when accompanied by researchers or appropriate Staff.

Dredging Debris


Existing Site and heavy bird traffic


Suspended Stair Detail Sketch

Research Outpost Physical Model

View from Outpost looking toward Cape Fear River + Sound


Plan and Section Sketch of Estuary Research Outpost



POSITIVE HUMAN INTERACTION WITH NATURAL ECOSYSTEMS