Parallel grid ditches were dug in approximately 90% of mid-Atlantic and New England salt marshes from the 1920s through the 1940s. Today, managers must navigate the effects of these past actions when making decisions about marsh hydrology and drainage that impact human health, ecosystem services, and marsh sustainability. Managers must also consider how stressors such as sea-level rise impact marshes. A team of scientists including staff from the Waquoit Bay Reserve in Massachusetts helped to address this challenge by working iteratively with coastal managers and restoration practitioners to develop a decision support tool for marsh hydrology management strategies that promote sustainability and continued delivery of valuable ecosystem services under future sea level rise scenarios.
In this webinar, the project team shares both the collaborative and technical aspects of their approach and the resultant Marsh Sustainability and Hydrology Decision Support Tool. The tool predicts potential outcomes of ditch and runnel maintenance in micro- and macro-tidal salt marshes under different scenarios of suspended sediment input and sea level rise.