Bay and Watershed Facts
By the Numbers:
- Narragansett Bay is New England’s largest estuary.
- In 1987, the United States Congress named Narragansett Bay an “Estuary of National Significance.”
- The Bay includes 196 square miles of estuarine waters.
- There are 37 public beaches and 39 islands in the Bay.
- The Bay’s coastline is more than 560 miles long – farther than a roundtrip car ride between Boston and New York.
- Narragansett Bay has 3,328 acres of salt marsh.
- Two types of seagrasses grow in Narragansett Bay: eelgrass (Zostera marina) and widgeon grass (Ruppia maritima). In 2012, a total of 513 acres of seagrass were mapped in Narragansett Bay.
- The Narragansett Bay watershed includes 1,091,120 acres of land (1,704 square miles) of which 35% is urban land (378,661 acres) and 39% is forested land (424,612 acres).
- 40% of the Narragansett Bay watershed is in Rhode Island and 60% is in Massachusetts.
- The Narragansett Bay watershed includes 4 river basins, these 4 follow in order of size:
1. Taunton River Basin 338,871 acres (529 square miles)
2. Blackstone River Basin 303,734 acres (475 square miles)
3. Coastal Narragansett Basin 300,124 acres (469 square miles)
4. Pawtuxet River Basin 148,404 acres (232 square miles)