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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Wetlands are now recognized for the many social, environmental, ecological, and economic benefits they provide. They improve water quality, support biodiversity, abate floods and storms, and provide local recreational areas. Historically, many wetlands have been drained or altered for residential, commercial, or agricultural use. Effective wetland restoration projects reestablish ecosystem services and mitigate legacy effects of land use change to create self-sustaining systems. However, a persisting lack of scientifically-vetted methodological and evaluation guidelines in the field of restoration ecology has caused many restoration efforts to fail to restore natural wetland hydrologic conditions. By definition, wetlands must be saturated, permanently or seasonally, for durations long or frequent enough to support hydrophilic vegetation. It is therefore critical in planning restoration projects to focus on creating shallow water table conditions and adequate soil moisture retention in the vadose zone.

This study quantitatively assesses the efficacy of a process-based ecological restoration technique that has been implemented at a retired cranberry bog in Manomet, Massachusetts. This restoration approach involved the creation of microtopography, ditch filling, and redistribution and mixing of the shallow substrate. The restoration goal for these actions was to bring the water table closer to the surface, increase soil moisture in the root zone, and increase habitat variability at the site. I examined the potential impact of these restorative techniques on groundwater and soil moisture dynamics. I conducted a parametric study using variably saturated groundwater flow modeling, examine the influence of specific restoration parameters (the near surface mixing ratio, anisotropy, and microtopographic geometry) on the restoration outcome. I tested the sensitivity of the water table and soil moisture to alterations in the near surface geologic structure resulting from a pit-and-mound restoration. I hope these findings will inform and optimize these practices for future restoration projects.


First Advisor

Christine Hatch

Second Advisor

Steven Loheide II

Third Advisor

William P. Clement