Research and education is critical for understanding and alerting the public about the Narragansett Bay watershed and what can be done to restore and protect this valuable resource. These projects will allow nonprofits and other outreach groups to spread knowledge and awareness about various issues in the watershed. The Estuary Program and NEIWPCC have funded the following research and education projects:
- The University of Rhode Island’s Laboratory of Soil Ecology and Microbiology is conducting research on Optimizing Performance of Existing Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems. URI’s project goal is to optimize the performance of existing onsite wastewater treatment systems within the greater Narragansett Bay watershed to reduce nitrogen inputs. To achieve this goal, URI will collect data on effluent nitrogen levels and develop a statistical model to help service providers optimize nitrogen removal.
- The Northern Rhode Island Conservation District is leading the Moswansicut Reservoir Phosphorus Project to educate the public of the importance of protecting the Moswansicut Reservoir – a small tributary reservoir of the Scituate Reservoir, Rhode Island’s largest supply of drinking water. The reservoir, once a natural lake, is at risk of eutrophication and increased incidence of harmful algal blooms due to phosphorus loading from its watershed. The District is implementing targeted outreach programs, creating a volunteer water quality monitoring program, and creating an in-water nutrient activation treatment plan for the reservoir. The partners in this project include The University of Rhode Island Watershed Watch as well as Providence Water. See the ecoRI article on this project.
- Save The Bay is conducting a Ribbed Mussel Nutrient Bioextraction Pilot Project to study how ribbed mussels remove nutrient pollution in upper Narragansett Bay. Using three different techniques for growing ribbed mussels, Save The Bay is analyzing the mussels’ efficiency in removing nutrients. Through analysis of water samples, the project will measure the rates of nutrient bioextraction.
- Save The Bay is also developing a public education and awareness campaign focusing on the water quality and water supplies for the 67,000 residents of Aquidneck Island. Save the Bay’s communications staff will develop content for Bay Friendly Living, a publication for residents and businesses on Aquidneck Island. See the blog posts by Save The Bay.
- The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council is creating a public school curriculum for 4th graders, Trout in the Classroom, with a focus on stormwater discharges to restore the urban sections of the Woonasquatucket River and Narragansett Bay. This education project will also include public art with North Providence High School designing storm drain paintings and murals and youth leadership development for high school students in science education at the Met School in Providence.