Monitoring and improving natural habitat for plants and animals within the Narragansett Bay watershed is essential to restoring ecosystems. With a better understanding of the various habitats supported by the Bay and the watershed, towns and other groups can implement strategies to better manage, protect, and restore these areas. The Estuary Program and NEIWPCC have funded the following projects to help protect and restore habitat:
- The Pawtuxet River Authority was awarded funding for two projects. The first is a fish passage project to encourage spawning in Cranberry Pond in Warwick and Blackamore Pond in Cranston. The project is designed to build upon the Pawtuxet Falls dam removal , completed in 2011, and assess whether additional fish passage can be created in these ponds. They will examine fish habitat and stream flow conditions at each pond and assess the feasibility of removing barriers and restoring fish passage. The second grant allows for the purchase of a utility trailer to transport equipment for river clean-ups and debris removals at recreation sites along the Pawtuxet River. See the article on this project in the Cranston Patch.
- The Town of Barrington is collecting water quality and sediment data and designing green infrastructure projects in and around Brickyard Pond to address water quality impairments. Connected to Narragansett Bay through Mussachuck Creek, Brickyard Pond hosts an annual run of anadromous river herring. The Town will complete a conceptual design study for green infrastructure/stormwater best management practices for five Town-owned priority outfalls. The Town’s goal is to significantly reduce phosphorus loadings to support a healthy ecology in Brickyard Pond.
- The Town of Jamestown is building an innovative stormwater system to protect Sheffield Cove to help restore local shellfish beds. Shellfishing in the Cove was closed in 2009 due to excessive bacterial contamination. The project with be a combination of bioretention and sand filtration to treat pathogens from stormwater and dry-weather background flows. Jamestown will also conduct sampling using microbial source tracking (DNA fingerprinting) to differentiate specific impacts from various source types such as wildlife and domestic animals. See the Jamestown Press article on the project.