Monday, April 27, 2009

Ten Mile River Herring Scoop

The Ten Mile River Watershed Council conducted its annual herring scoop and cleanup at Omega Pond Dam in East Providence on Saturday. Last year over 200 herring were netted and transferred during the scoop. For many years the scoop was done by an informal group of fishermen as they collected fish for bait. Now the taking of fish is prohibited and all the scooped fish go into the pond.

Soon the scoop won't be necessary. Three fish ladders will be going up on the Ten Mile River, starting this summer with the Hunts Mills and Turner Reservoir. This could eventually result in a run of over 200,000 herring. The river is also an historic shad run with a potential for 25,000 fish. An eelway will also be installed for American eel which migrate upstream as juveniles after spawning in the Sargasso Sea.

The project is a partnership of the Army Corps of Engineers, the DEM Division of Fish and Wildlife, the City of East Providence, the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program and Save The Bay. You can read more about the project on our Ten Mile River web page.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Restoration is under way at Stillhouse Cove in Cranston

Save The Bay is teaming up with the City of Cranston, the Edgewood Waterfront Preservation Association and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to restore a salt marsh in Stillhouse Cove off Narragansett Boulevard in Cranston.

The salt marsh has been impacted by runoff from surrounding development and historic filling. This has resulted in sediment accumulation on the marsh surface and growth of Phragmites australis.

In 2004, fill was removed from
the marsh and stormwater management was improved through the use of catchbasins that capture sediment. This phase of the salt marsh restoration included restoring 1.5 acres of valuable marsh habitat by reducing the height of the marsh through removal of approximately 1400 cubic yards of material and excavating new creeks. Because some of the matrial was deposited in the upper marsh, it is now being colonized by Phragmites australis and holds fresh water where mosquitoes can grow.

The on
going second phase of restoration includes removing material from the disposal area, excavating a new creek and seeding the edge of the marsh with warm season grasses.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lobby Day at the State House, April 21st

The Environment Council of RI will be hosting their annual Earth Day Lobby Day event at the State House on April 21, 2:30-4:30. Save The Bay will have a table and will be participating in a discussion panel on the Water Conservation and Competitiveness Act. The top three legislative priorities chosen by ECRI are the water conservation bill (h5828), the polluter fines bill (h5061, s50), and the diesel emissions reduction act (h5910, s491, s484).

Schedule of events:
2:30 - Lobby training by Ocean State Action
2:45 - Water legislation discussion panel
3:15 - Speaking program
3:30 - Lobby!

As a member of the Coalition for Water Security, Save The Bay has been actively involved in develpment of the water conservation bill. We have also lobbied for passage of the polluter fines bill, which would raise the maximum fines for polluters to $25,000 per day. This legislation has passed the Senate and rests with the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. We came very close on both these bills last year, and hope to have success in this session.

This year at the State House, Save The Bay has provided testimony on several bills that are important to the future health of Narragansett Bay and our watershed. Both the House and Senate have now heard testimony on the Energy Independence and Climate Solutions Act (h5706, s488). Many groups testified in favor of this bill, including student groups, the religious community, and small business owners. Our testimony focused on the threats to Narragansett Bay and the adaptations we all must plan for in the future.

I also testified on the Grow Renewable Energy Now Act (h5462, s703), a bill to establish a solar energy program for Rhode Island by increasing the renewable energy charge on electricity service and adding to the Renewable Energy Fund. The average electricity customer would see an increase of 15 cents a month, but the program would generate 2.5 million dollars to give out to residents, business owners and groups like Save The Bay to install solar power. I have also testified on the various green building standard bills that are in the works, but it seems like the bill to watch is for establishing an state energy efficiency building code, which would position RI to take advantage of federal funding.

Please join us at the State House on April 21st to learn more and help advocate for strong environmental legislation!