Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Robyn Reed

Second Advisor

Nick DePace


I feel as though it is crucial to structure this book in a way that takes you on the same journey I have taken through thesis, and life.

Growing up along the California coast has left me with an intense passion for environmental awareness and sustainability. I excelled in these courses throughout high school and eventually found myself taking more Environmental Science courses in college, during which I took a trip to India. There, I studied the environmental and economic effects of globalization. I remember stopping in Mumbai to witness the effects that clothing dyeing operations had on the downstream slums that used this water for everyday life. I specifically remember a little slum boy whose skin had been dyed blue by taking his morning bath in the neon waters. This experience kick started my journey into Landscape Architecture where I have continued to invest myself in issues of water quality around the globe.

Fast forward to the summer of 2018, when I began thinking about thesis topics. I was interested in looking at waste water treatment systems in Kolkata, India. However, finding accurate and current data became a tough hurdle to jump and after much deliberation, I moved my site from India to New Orleans, so I could look at similar issues through a Lost & Found 12 more localized lens.After spending a month researching water quality issues in New Orleans, I became interested in understanding post-storm resiliency strategies. However, after careful negotiations between my advisors and I, we decided that it was better to once again place my site and issues elsewhere, due to the tremendous amount of work and research being done there.

After another month of tedious research, I came across an article about post-hurricane nutrient pollution in North Carolina’s Neuse River and Neuse River Estuary. The Neuse River is known as the 7th most endangered river in the United States due to industrial and agricultural operations located in the river’s floodplain whose use of nitrogen and phosphorous hinders water quality. In many towns along the river, homes located in the floodplain have been evacuated and abandoned due to the constant threat of flooding. As floodwaters wash over the floodplains, it collects and carry’s pollutants back into the river. Eventually, these nutrients accumulate in the estuary where their booming overproduction causes anoxic water conditions that result in mass fish and shellfish kills. With the inevitable threat of climate change worsening, future flooding will only become more frequent and worse, which could permanently kill the entire estuary completely, along with its $1.7 billion dollar fishing industry.

Thus, my thesis became about how to reclaim floodplains as areas to filter river water and runoff, post-hurricane, in order to mitigate the mass fish kills that happen in the Neuse River Estuary for weeks and months post storm.

This book aims to convey the story, and transition, that took place after I had settled on the final topic of post hurricane nutrient pollution in the Neuse River. What I thought was my topic became the beginning of another incredible journey.



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