The Great Marsh Coalition hosts a variety of events throughout the year to bring policy makers, scientists, students and the general public together from field trips to symposia to learn from each other in service to the Great Marsh.

Please dive into links from our past Great Marsh Symposia to learn more about Great Marsh restoration, research, monitoring, recreation, art, and more!

Past Symposia

March 17, 2021 from 9:00am to 12:00pm

AGENDAclick here

Q&A FROM THE EVENTclick here

FULL VIDEOclick here*
(*Note that the time of each speaker’s talk appears next to their name below)


Anne Giblin (see at 00:13.36 – 00:30:07, 17 minutes)
Plum Island Estuary Long Term Ecological Research Project
Sea level rise impacts and what they may mean for Great Marsh restoration

Researchers have been collecting data and building models of how the Great Marsh will respond to accelerated rates of sea level rise. The picture that is emerging is that over time, overall marsh area decrease, open water will increase and much of the high marsh will convert to low marsh. Given this, should we target restoration efforts to preserve specific marsh habitats such as high marsh or let the marsh gradually evolve into a new configuration? 

Marc Carullo (see at 00:30:17 – 00:46:26, 16 minutes)
MA Office of Coastal Zone Management
Leveraging the Massachusetts SLAMM data to prioritize restoration, incentivize land protection, and improve land management practices

The Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM) and other ecological models suggest large-scale changes could occur in the Great Marsh between 2070 and 2100. Coastal managers and restoration practitioners will rely on a combination of approaches to limit the net loss of salt marshes on our well-developed coast. The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management will use SLAMM data and derivatives to support efforts to protect potential marsh migration corridors through land conservation grants and mitigation projects, identify opportunities to remove barriers to marsh migration, provide land managers with guidance on modifying maintenance practices to promote marsh migration, and work with partners to couple the facilitation of marsh migration with restoration efforts.

Sergio Fagherazzi (see at 00:47:18 – 00:01:18, 14 minutes)
Boston University, PIE-LTER 
Assessing salt marsh resilience with sediment fluxes

Sea‐level rise and reduced sediment inputs from rivers are jeopardizing the survival of salt marshes around the world. Without enough sediment to accrete, many marshes will drown. The only way to determine the fate of salt marshes is by developing an accurate sediment budget. Only a net import of sediment can allow a salt marsh to counteract sea level rise, while a net export of sediment indicates deterioration. 

Gregg Moore (see at 01:00:05 – 01:15:17, 15 minutes)
University of New Hampshire
Informing restoration with an understanding of current marsh dynamics

We have been investigating how the Great Marsh is currently changing under conditions of accelerated sea-level rise. In general we expect to see a switch from more high marsh to more low marsh and more open water. This switch will alter nutrient retention and carbon storage in the marsh as well as altering habitats for fish and birds. Restoration strategies should consider how to work with these expected changes and what habitats might require the most intervention. 

Wayne Castonguay (see at 01.33.13 – 01.47.06, 14 minutes)
Ipswich River Watershed Association 
Increasing the pace of barrier project implementation in the Great Marsh

Barriers, which are man-made structures that intercept flow (e.g. culverts, dams & causeways) are considered among the most impactful anthropogenic impacts to the ecology of the Great Marsh. These structures are also among societies most-at risk forms of municipal and private infrastructure due to the impacts of climate change. As such, numerous inventories and assessments of these critical structures have been made but addressing these in a comprehensive way has been fleeting. This presentation will summarize the recent Great Marsh Barrier Mitigation Project which aimed to address this challenge to increase the pace of implementation of these important green infrastructure projects to increase the resiliency of both the marsh ecosystem and the structures themselves.  

Nancy Pau (see at 01:47:50- 02:03:45, 16 minutes)
Parker River National Wildlife Refuge 
Innovative marsh restoration techniques in the Great Marsh

THe US Fish and Wildlife Service has worked with partners to develop several innovative marsh restoration techniques to address signs of marsh stress and change. Many of these techniques, including runnels, ditch remediation, ditch plug removal, OMWM plug modification, and island microtopography, have been piloted at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Nancy Pau will give an overview of these techniques, share results, and discuss how our understanding of marsh change is used to design comprehensive marsh restoration. 

Russ Hopping (see at 02:04:53 – 02:20:40, 16 minutes)
The Trustees 
Scaling up: Applying innovative techniques to restore the Great Marsh

The Trustees, together with its partners, are applying a suite of nature-based techniques to restore the Great Marsh. Russ Hopping, Lead Coastal Ecologist for The Trustees, will provide an overview of The Trustees approach including scaling up efforts to the landscape level and progress to date.

Coffee with Artists for the Great Marsh (see at 01:16:06 – 01:33:10, 17 minutes)

Kate Bowditch, Remarks
Peter Van Demark, Curator

At the mid-morning break there will be a 15-minute “Coffee with Artists for the Great Marsh.” Kate Bowditch, President of Essex County Greenbelt Association, will be the host. About a dozen artists will have a minute each to show images of and words about their art. The background music will be Robert Honstein’s “The Great Marsh,” a four-movement piece played by the Music for Eden’s Edge string quartet.