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Due to the relatively high node density and source-to-sink communication pattern, wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are subject to congestion and packet losses. Further, the availability of low-cost hardware, such as Cyclops cameras, is promoting wireless multimedia sensing to support, for example, visual surveillance. As a result, congestion control is becoming more critical in WSNs. In this paper, we present a lightweight distributed congestion control method in WSNs. We develop new metrics to detect congestion in each node by considering the queue lengths and channel conditions observed in the one-hop neighborhood. Based on the estimated level of congestion, each node dynamically adapts its packet transmission rate and balance the load among the one-hop neighbors to avoid creating congestion and bottleneck nodes. In a simulation study performed in OMNeT++, our approach significantly enhances the end-to-end (e2e) packet delivery ratio and reduces the e2e delay without increasing the total energy consumption compared to the tested baseline approach.