...to preserve, protect, develop, and restore coastal resources for all Rhode Islanders
CRMC funds 9 habitat restoration projects
April 7, 2015, WAKEFIELD – The RI Coastal Resources Management Council has awarded funding for nine habitat restoration projects through its RI Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration Trust Fund (CEHRTF).
The Council approved the funding at the March 10 semi-monthly meeting in Providence. Projects approved for funding include two anadromous fish passage restoration projects, a salt marsh restoration project, a barrier beach restoration project, two coastal upland restoration projects, and one equipment request for the RI Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM). Project locations span the entire state, from Napatree Point in Westerly to Quicksand Pond in Little Compton, and to Blackstone Park in upper Narragansett Bay in Providence.
In its request for proposals, the CRMC put special emphasis this year on projects that would enhance the resiliency of Rhode Island’s coastal habitats to climate change and sea level rise. One of the funded projects, the Seapowet Point Restoration and Coastal Resilience Project, exemplifies these goals. The RIDEM Division of Fish and Wildlife will receive $30,759 to reconfigure public access, change land management practices and enhance vegetation at a state-owned shoreline property in Tiverton. The changes will allow for the migration and future development of coastal wetlands as sea levels rise, and enhance the existing shoreline habitat while still allowing for safe public access and recreation.
Save The Bay will receive $5,000 to improve anadromous fish passage to 86 acres of spawning area by removing obstructions from Mussachuck Creek in Barrington. The project will be carried out in partnership with the Rhode Island Country Club and the RIDEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife.
The Nature Conservancy will receive $9,300 to continue its work restoring native plant communities within the salt marsh complex at Goosewing Beach in Little Compton. This is an ongoing project funded previously by the CEHRTF and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and earlier phases have been successful at managing the invasive plant species Phragmites australis at the project site while allowing native plants to establish and thrive. This year’s award will go towards maintaining the gains made to-date through follow-up monitoring and management.
The Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation will receive $16,000 to fund initial phases of a wading bird restoration project on Rose Island in Newport. The ultimate goal is to restore nesting populations of wading birds recently extirpated from the island. The early phases of the project will include planting of native tree species to serve as a screen between nesting habitat areas and areas of heavier human activity as well as the deployment and monitoring of bird decoys.
The Watch Hill Conservancy will receive $20,433 for restoration of barrier beach plant communities on Napatree Point in Westerly. The funded project will expand upon restoration efforts previously funded by the CRMC and the URI Coastal Institute to control invasive plant species and plant native barrier beach species that will help to improve habitat value and decrease the area of walking trails that allow for human disturbance of the dune system.
The Blackstone Parks Conservancy will receive $30,000 for the second phase of a restoration project previously funded through the CEHRTF. The project will address severe erosion problems in a forested coastal upland in Blackstone Park in Providence through an extensive planting effort and trail maintenance measures.
Save The Bay will receive $100,000 towards removal of the Shady Lea dam on the Mattatuxet River in North Kingstown. This project received funding previously through the CEHRTF for design and a portion of the construction costs. Additional funding has been provided through the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the dam owner.
Habitat restoration projects are funded through the RI Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration Trust Fund and are selected from recommendations by the fund’s Technical Advisory Committee. Program funds come from the state’s Oil Spill Prevention Administration and Response Act (OSPAR), established by the legislature following the 1996 North Cape oil spill. Each year, the CEHRTF advisory committee, with approval of the CRMC allocates $225,000 from the OSPAR account to habitat restoration projects throughout the state.
“The CRMC is pleased to support this year’s diverse suite of habitat restoration projects, and recognizes the important role that habitat restoration and enhancement can play in improving the resilience of our coastal areas to climate change and sea level rise,” said CRMC Executive Director Grover Fugate.
To date and including this year, the Trust Fund has awarded $2.7 million for 105 projects, which have leveraged more than $23 million in matching funds. In its 12 years, the Trust Fund has helped to restore over 300 acres of Rhode Island.
The full 2014-2015 Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration Trust Fund report will be available on CRMC’s web site at http://www.crmc.ri.gov/habitatrestoration.html.
Photos of the projects are available upon request.