by Dr. Lenore Tedesco, Executive Director

As spring arrives in the marsh, I reflect on the passing of another year and how things have evolved. I take stock in the external forces that drive our work, the accomplishments we have achieved so far, and all we have planned for the new year.

I have the benefit of seeing the marshes almost every day and have developed an intricate understanding of them and how they are changing. I am lucky to see them through the seasons and to witness the abundance of wildlife that relies on them for their well-being – and I am reminded that we too rely on these marshes for our well-being. I also see change at alarming rates, which seem to be accelerating every year.

Our work has shown that our marshes are beginning to drown under the specter of rapidly rising seas – seas that are rising at rates that exceed the marsh’s ability to keep pace. The symptoms are evident in the many sunny days when the marsh is underwater and in the ever-increasing number of open-water pools in the marshes. You are all familiar with the work of the Seven Mile Island Innovation Lab and the more than 30 scientists working right here to advance the practice of marsh restoration and creation. We are pleased to report that, together with our partners at the US Army Corps of Engineers and NJDEP, this fall we will undertake another critical restoration project that will elevate the marsh adjacent to TWI. Our goal is to reverse marsh loss and stabilize the marsh by lifting the marsh using clean dredged sediment from a USACE NJ Intracoastal Waterway navigation dredging project. We have already conducted extensive research that has identified the need for action and informed the project design. We will have our eyes on the marsh to ensure success and continue to learn more about the benefits of these projects. You can read more about the project at

This work is not only restoring marshes here but is a catalyst driving marsh restoration work throughout the state and helping to get more projects on the ground quickly. The expertise we have developed and the knowledge we have generated is being shared with federal, state, and local governments, other scientists, and natural resource managers. We are helping to provide answers and alleviate concerns from regulatory agencies and providing tool kits to others to ensure marsh restoration projects are well-conceived, addressing the most important marsh areas with the hope that we can have measurable impact on scales that matter – for the marshes, the wildlife that depend on them, and for the resilience they provide to our local communities. Though this work is focused locally, it has impact on a global scale.

Stay tuned for many more opportunities to learn about this work and see first-hand how we continue to Make No Small Plans and why it means so much.

Sunny day flooding at the Institute, 10-30-2023