Section I: A Town at the Head of the River: Salisbury and Environmental Change

(Chapters 1-5)

Section II: A River of Resources: Cashing in on the Wicomico

(Chapters 6-9)

Section III: Looking Downstream: Discovering a River in Need

(Chapters 10-13)

We have divided our work into three sections.  Within each section, you will find a series of chapters dealing with the environmental history of the Wicomico River.  Though we think that these sections, and chapters, are most effective when read sequentially, each chapter does stand alone. If you are only interested in fishing, then by all means, hop straight to chapters eight and twelve.  But, if you read the other eleven as well, you may just find your understanding of the changing fortunes of the Wicomico River fisheries, and fishermen, to be expanded in unexpected ways. 

A survey of the complete environmental history of even a very small river like the Wicomico is a vast undertaking.  Environmental history, the study of both how humans have affected their natural environment, and in turn how natural environments affect human societies, draws from several different academic disciplines, from biology, to geography, to political science, as well as more traditional history.  

As we were limited by the length of a semester in our research project, we recognize that we have left out many elements of the complex history of this river and its associated human communities.  We did not attempt to conduct any primary research into the pre-European history of this area, drawing instead from already published materials.  Further, although we did begin with the colonial history of the Wicomico River, the bulk of our research has centered around the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Geographically, we have attempted to give some idea of the scope of different portions of the river, but a greater preponderance of our research has centered around the largest human community on the river, Salisbury, at the headwaters.