News

Sea Level Impacts on Salt Marshes: Beach SAMP updates

October, or “Salt Marsh Month” as declared by Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee to highlight this rapidly declining landscape, is winding down, but efforts to restore and protect salt marshes are far from over. Many town and state officials, as well as researchers, gathered for the R.I. Shoreline Change Special Area Management Plan (Beach SAMP) meeting last week
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Napatree Point a Moving Target

Napatree Point is a 1.5-mile sandy spit that separates Little Narragansett Bay from the Atlantic Ocean. It is a constantly moving divide as storms have pushed back the barrier about 250 feet landward (towards Little Narragansett Bay) since 1939. “This is happening in response to storms,” said Bryan Oakley, assistant professor of environmental geoscience at
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State Adopts SLAMM Maps for Wetland Restoration and Adaptation

Rhode Island has lost more than half, or 4,000 acres, its salt marshes statewide, in the last 200 years – losing vital fisheries and wildlife habitat that also performs water quality and erosion control services. “Our salt marshes are drowning in place today,” said Pam Rubinoff, extension specialist for Rhode Island Sea Grant working with
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Retreating From the Rising Sea: Where Will Salt Marshes Go?

Rhode Island is losing its salt marshes, along with vital fisheries and wildlife habitat, as well as water quality and erosion control services. More than 4,000 acres, or more than half, of the state’s salt marshes, have been lost due to development since the early 19th century. Increasing pressures from sea level rise are further altering
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Wickford Tour Looks at Threat of Growing Floodplain

Coastweeks tour through Wickford looks at challenges of sea level rise and storm surge, and adaptation measures to protect historic town. Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse joined Sea Grant and municipal officials along the North Kingstown village of Wickford’s waterfront on October 2 for a tour that showcased some of the challenges this historic village faces in
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Seamen’s Church Institute’s 200-Year Plan

“They thought of this place as a big boat.” That’s what Michelle Duga, superintendent of Seamen’s Church Institute on Newport’s historic waterfront, says is behind the architectural choices that have helped protect the century-old brick building from the worst of flooding—first from storms, and now from rising sea level. “If you think about it, this
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Picking Up the Pieces in Westerly

The Andrea, like so many businesses along R.I.’s southern shore, is trying to keep pace with erosion, flooding, and storms. The Andrea, formerly a hotel built upon three generations and an iconic locale along Rhode Island’s Misquamicut Beach, has now been transformed into an open, seaside restaurant and bar. “It’s the second year, and it’s actually
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Sand and Gravel Extraction Regulations Challenged By Industry

Rhode Island is in great need of sand for erosion control, road building, and septic systems. But existing sand and gravel pits that are already struggling to meet demands, are getting more pressure from increased regulations to reduce impacts, that some say inhibit a much needed industry. “Whenever there’s a—let’s say—a natural disaster, the first
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First Draft of Shellfish Management Plan for Public Comment

The public is invited to review a draft of Rhode Island’s first comprehensive set of management recommendations for shellfish resources, both wild harvest and aquaculture, located in state ocean waters, and provide comments. The review process is a key topic of the SMP Stakeholder Public Meeting scheduled for tonight, Monday, September 29, 5-7pm, Corless Auditorium,
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The Problem with Aquatic Invasive Species in Narragansett Bay

Several new species taking up residency in Narragansett Bay are adversely impacting the neighborhood, and are the focus of much research to protect the local ecology and economy. Aquatic invasive species (AIS), which are marine plants and animals that are not in their natural environment, have come to Narragansett Bay from as far as Asia
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