NEWPORT — Improving the water quality of Narragansett Bay can start in your backyard.
That message, accompanied by steps residents can take to improve the environment, is the focus of “Bay-Friendly Living,” a guide produced by Save The Bay.
U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. David Cicilline, all Democrats representing Rhode Island, as well as officials from environmentally focused organizations attended a press conference Monday afternoon at the Easton’s Beach Rotunda to announce the guide’s release.
“When people act individually, you have collective power,” said Jonathan Stone, the executive director of Save The Bay, a nonprofit organization whose mission is a “fully swimmable, fishable, healthy Narragansett Bay, accessible to all and globally recognized as the natural treasure it is.”
The guide, which is available for download online at savebay.org/bayfriendlyliving, outlines simple actions such as landscaping and cleaning up pets’ droppings to ensure runoff in the watershed is cleaner.
Stone recalled when he started the top job at Save The Bay, he didn’t realize “70 percent of the time I’d be thinking about poop.”
But one Canada goose creates about 30 pounds of waste a month, and its bacteria can seep into the ground and flow with runoff. The same problem pertains to people’s pets.
The guide recommends area residents keep their lawns at least 3 inches high, station rain barrels beneath downspouts and keep storm drains clear of debris, such as grass clippings.
While officials of the three Aquidneck Island communities across have taken action to improve water quality, it is incumbent upon residents also to take action, according to the speakers.
The message of individual responsibility may resonate more today given the current administration in Washington, D.C.
In his first 100 days in office, President Donald Trump has “gutted” environmental regulations and standards, Cicilline said. Trump’s proposed budget cuts funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, Reed added.
Scott Pruitt, the head of the EPA, has a “long history of denying the reality of climate change,” Cicilline said.