2019, 2020, 2021
Save The Bay
Education and Coastal Restoration in Rhode Island
Rhode Island has lost over 50%, approximately 4,000 acres, of its historic salt marshes over the last 200 years due to filling (Bromberg and Bertness, 2005). Of the salt marshes that remain in the state, the vast majority are drowning in place due to rising sea levels. Save The Bay is leading statewide efforts to help salt marshes adapt to higher water levels to slow the future loss of these vital coastal ecosystems.
In addition, Narragansett Bay continues to be impacted by pollution, including microplastics caused by the degradation of plastics into tiny particles and the dumping of toxic chemicals down storm drains that lead directly to the Bay.
To address both of these issues, Save The Bay will undertake new statewide efforts to engage citizens of all ages to reduce plastic pollution, further coastal restoration, enhance ocean and environmental literacy, and build community engagement and stewardship. Through on-the-ground restoration and adaptation efforts, coupled with education, and volunteer engagement, Save The Bay can ensure the ongoing health of Narragansett Bay for generations to come. These activities directly engage communities, stakeholders, students, and volunteers in efforts to create systemic change to improve and restore the short and long-term health of Narragansett Bay and our coastal areas.
Narragansett Bay Environmental Education Activities
- Distribution of the Save The Bay ‘Bay-Friendly Living’ educational material for residents on simple actions, yard care, and lifestyle tips to save time and money, while protecting water quality in Narragansett Bay.
- Support remote experiential education for all Rhode Island students, allowing them to virtually connect and learn about the Bay during remote-learning times.
- Provide additional, curriculum-based resources to teachers in order to sustain students’ interest in environmental science, marine biology, and watershed education.
Coastal Restoration Initiatives
- Engage various stakeholders in Aquidneck Island to assess and create four acres of riparian buffer zones to reduce nutrients, sediment, and bacteria pollution from the Maidford River entering Newport’s drinking water reservoir system and contributing to harmful algal blooms at local beaches.
- Support additional coastal restoration efforts in Providence by planting up to 22,000 beach grass and native plants in order to reduce runoff pollution.
- Develop a statewide Salt Marsh Stewardship Program training and engaging volunteers to monitor and restore salt marshes continuously (10-15 years after completion) around RI.
Narragansett Bay Pollution Prevention
- The Microplastics Education Program will engage 3-5 urban/urban ring schools in Rhode Island in experiential education focused on microplastics and marine pollution through onboard Bay surveys and trawls. This will include the development of in-class curriculum and resources for teachers.
- The 4-Community Storm Drain Marking Program will install 2,000 storm drain markers in four coastal and watershed communities with bilingual messaging.
Salt Marsh Adaptation Initiatives
- Quonochontaug Salt Marsh Adaptation will protect 20 acres of high-risk salt marsh by improving drainage and creating marsh migration corridors in Charlestown, RI.
- The Providence Urban Coastal Greenway Habitat Planting will engage local communities to plant and restore 2.5 acres of coastal buffer at one of the only public waterfront access areas in the city.
- The Longmeadow Fishing Access Restoration will restore native vegetation along a 350-foot shoreline, to create a 1-acre coastal buffer against storm surges in Warwick, RI.
- The Salt Marsh Nursery Program will provide 120 underserved students with hands-on education through a Salt Marsh Nursery Program, where students grow marsh grass to later replant at multiple marshes totaling 44-acres of restoration.
About Save The Bay
Save The Bay is an independent, member-supported, nonprofit organization. Save The Bay got its start as a grassroots organization in 1970 after a small group of concerned citizens came together to fight an oil refinery proposed for the shores of Tiverton. The effort began the organization’s legacy as the eyes, ears, and voice for Narragansett Bay. Today, it carries out its mission through three areas of work: advocacy, education, and habitat restoration and adaptation.