Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Residential development and growth along private lands bordering the southern portion of Cape Hatteras may be increasing at a rate inconsistent with the current water supply and demand. In the late 1960's and again in the late 1970's a series of wells were drilled to supply area residences and businesses with potable water from the local shallow water aquifer. Today, additional wells are being considered to serve the expanding community of Buxton Woods.

At the same time, the National Park Service maintains a series of ditches for both mosquito and flood control management. A large ditch which trends approximately northeast/southwest through the Buxton Woods Campground and discharges approximately 1.5 miles west of Cape Hatteras into the Atlantic Ocean has been the subject of some controversy. This system was installed in the 1930's prior to conversion of these lands to park ownership. The history surrounding the purpose and development of the system is not well documented. The ditch serves to drain the low lying area of the park campground which is subject to flooding during northeasters, hurricanes, and periods of torrential rains. It has become a quasi-effective method of flood control for the campground which provides an important recreational resource for the park and attracts a number of visitors each year.

Both the construction of ditches and the withdrawal of water from shallow aquifers has the potential to disturb or alter the natural vegetation communities. The National Park Service has a vested interest in the protection and preservation of these vegetative resources. Therefore, an understanding of how the natural vegetation assemblages have responded to these stressors overtime better prepares the Service to implement responsible management actions.


Plant communities -- North Carolina -- Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Coastal plants -- North Carolina -- Cape Hatteras National Seashore