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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Buying Time With Runnels: A Climate Adaptation Tool for Salt Marshes

Wednesday, September 14, 2022 | 4:00 pm
Alice Besterman Alice Besterman
Woodwell Climate Research Center
Diana Brennan
Bristol County Mosquito Control Project

Connection Information

Audience members will be able to join the webinar approximately 5 minutes before the start time. Use this link to join:


Salt marshes across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic are experiencing rapid expansion of interior shallow water areas, which are "eating" marshes from the inside out. Runnels, or shallow channels created to drain impounded water, have been recently used by resource managers across the Northeast US to restore tidal hydrology and vegetation in these areas. In this talk we will describe the origin, dynamics, and prevalence of interior shallow water areas in coastal marshes, and how runnels attempt to slow and reverse open water conversion through hydrologic modification. We will then discuss the history of runnel application as a "win-win" for mosquito management and wetland restoration, promising outcomes and lessons learned from existing projects.

About the Speakers

An NE CASC Postdoctoral Felllow at the Woodwell Climate Research Center, Alice Besterman is a coastal scientist interested in how global change (e.g. sea level rise) alters interactions between geomorphology and hydrology, and ecosystem processes. Her research focuses on primary production, trophic interactions, and food webs while paying particularly close attention to species and habitats of conservation interest.

Diana Brennan is the Wetlands Coordinator for Bristol County Mosquito Control Project. She leads the planning, permitting, and monitoring of water management projects for mosquito control.  She has contributed to the design and implementation of 6 projects using runnels.