MRRI provides science-based knowledge to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world. Our research focuses on the biotic and abiotic factors that make up the Meadowlands’ ecosystem, with a goal of trying to better understand the causes and consequences of rapid change within and around the Meadowlands.

Our offices are aptly located immediately adjacent to the wetlands and grasslands of the District, which serve as a natural laboratory for our long-term research. Here, our scientists explore the pressing issues that affect the Meadowlands, such as water quality, climate change, invasive species and restoration solutions.

Current Research Projects Include:


In addition to these research projects, MRRI regularly collects the following data to inform our research and restoration projects.

Water Quality


For the past 20 years, MRRI has been providing seasonal chemical analysis of water samples from 14 monitoring locations in the Lower Hackensack River. MRRI also provides continuous water quality monitoring from two locations in the main stem of the Hackensack River, in Carlstadt and Kearny. These locations are instrumented with a YSI EXO 3 multiparameter sonde that measures depth, temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, salinity, conductivity, and turbidity.

Water Elevation


MRRI provides real-time water level measurements at eight critical tide gates for landside and riverside measurements. In addition to water elevations at the tide gates, MRRI measures water elevations using sondes at various marsh and river locations throughout the year, developing tidal datum for the different reaches throughout the Meadowlands.

Water flow


MRRI uses the Sontek Argonaut ADV Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter (ADV) to record single-point 3D water velocity measurement. MRRI deploys the sensor at several tidal creeks to measure incoming and ebbing tides. The asymmetries of the resulting hydrographs show the hydrodynamic patterns as the tide moves in, overflows the creek banks, inundates the marsh platform, and recedes. The Argonaut, deployed with a turbidity sensor, is also used to estimate marsh organic matter export and retention.

marsh elevations


MRRI has been measures surface elevation changes in 11 tidal salt marshes in the Meadowlands since 2004 using the rod surface elevation table (RSET) method, developed by Cahoon et al. 2002. These measurements estimate surface elevation change, vertical accretion, and potential carbon burial rates.

Skip to content