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Film Finders: Exploring Special Topics

Coastal Zone Act














Originally created as a companion to the 2015 exhibit “The Legacy of the Delaware Coastal Zone Act: Conserving the First State,” this guide presents Film & Video resources related to the 1971 landmark environmental legislation. The Coastal Zone Act was recently amended by the 149th General Assembly to reduce restrictions on development.

An Evolving Legacy : Delaware's Coastal Zone Act

Recounts the dramatic struggle of the late Governor Russell W. Peterson to craft visionary environmental legislation to preserve Delaware's shoreline, its 40-year history, and the ongoing challenge Delaware faces as it tries to balance development and the environment.
Available on DVD.

Poisoned Waters

More than three decades after the Clean Water Act, two iconic waterways, the great coastal estuaries of Puget Sound and the Chesapeake Bay, are in perilous condition. With polluted runoff still flowing in from industry, agriculture and massive suburban development, scientists fear contamination to the food chain and drinking water for millions of people. A growing list of endangered species also is threatened in both estuaries. This film examines the rising hazards to human health and the ecosystem and why it's so hard to keep our waters clean.

Available on DVD.

Coastal Dunes

Measuring wind velocity demonstrates how saltation, sand movement and erosion occur in dunes. Demonstrates the morphology of dune development and the interaction between it and the vegetation-soil system, and how slight changes can destroy large parts of the system.
Available on VHS.

Messages from the Birds

Examines how monitoring bird populations can serve as an early warning system against environmental hazards. Examples include the counting of migrating shorebirds on Delaware Bay; dying birds from low water levels at Cheyenne Bottoms, Kansas; and bird counts from Kesterson and Stillwater National Wildlife Refuges.

Available on VHS.

The Crabs, the Birds, the Bay

Every spring, nearly one million migrant shorebirds stop to feed on horseshoe crab eggs along the beaches of Delaware Bay. The catalyst for this incredible migratory stop is the horseshoe crab. A unique relationship exists between the migrant birds and the nesting horseshoe crabs. Together, the crabs and the birds teach a lesson about the interrelationship of all species.

Available on DVD.

Crisis in the Estuary: Cradle or Graveyard?

Shows how industrial technology is threatening the ecological balance of the Delaware Estuary.

Available on DVD.

Delaware's 101 Natural Areas

Examines various aspects of Delaware's coastal areas. Considers problems which have been caused by overcrowding and development, and relates these problems to the economic benefits derived from business, industry, and recreation. Originally issued as a 16 mm. motion picture in 1978; created by Earl Ferguson in cooperation with UD's College of Marine Studies.

Available on DVD.

The Coastal State of Delaware

Assawoman Bay State Wildlife Area by Lee Cannon, on FlickrExamines Delaware's natural areas, including its wetlands, streams, marshes, old-growth woodlands, geological formations, archaeological sites, state parks, and sea shores.
Available on DVD

The Pfiesteria Files

Details the first glimpse that scientists had of the strange and frightening phenomenon known as Pfiesteria, which began to kill fish in the Chesapeake Bay and Pamlico Sound. This microbe usually feeds on single-celled plants and animals and fish tissue but now had transformed into dramatically different life stages called toxic bloomDescribes how an unknown toxin associated with Pfiesteria caused confusion and short-term memory problems in those directly exposed.
Available on DVD.

Crash: A Tale of Two Species

Learn about the humble horseshoe crab and its annual spring spawning, which produces millions of eggs that are the lifeline for a tiny bird called the Red Knot, which migrates 10,000 miles from South America to the Arctic each year. Scientific and medical communities have discovered that the crab also provides an indispensable testing agent for drugs and vaccines.  But horseshoe crab numbers are plummeting from their new use as bait for the fishing industry, dropping by two-thirds or more since 1990.  Is the precious pyramid depending on this age-old creature is about to come crashing down?
Available on DVD