Graham Sustainability Institute

Investigating the Interconnectedness of Climate Change, Nuisance Mosquitos, and Resilience of Coastal Salt Marsh Systems

May 2017

The Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve convened a roundtable of mosquito control agencies to examine the intersection of sea level rise, salt marsh structure, habitat modification and restoration, and nuisance mosquito populations. A chief concern is how climate change and sea level rise may affect marsh habitats, subsequently increasing mosquito production. Also of concern is how past physical alterations meant to reduce mosquito habitat affect the ability of salt marshes to maintain their relative elevation, and, as a result, their long-term resiliency in the face of sea level rise. Recognizing the valuable role that salt marshes play in buffering coastal communities, coastal decision-makers are increasingly advocating for the restoration of salt marshes. While the thin-layer application of dredge spoil is of increasing interest as a way to help marshes keep up with rising sea levels, it could also greatly affect mosquito production. In this project, mosquito control agencies and other land management partners are working together to design and implement a marsh research program that informs future mosquito control management actions.

The University of Michigan Water Center and partners are working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to implement the NERRS Science Collaborative, by coordinating regular funding opportunities and supporting user-driven collaborative research, assessment and transfer activities that address critical coastal management needs identified by reserves.

See: National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Science Collaborative