Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2010 - Strength in Numbers

This year Save The Bay will be celebrating 40 years of protecting the health of Narragansett Bay. Our theme for the celebration is Strength in Numbers. Over the last 40 years, we have seen many changes and made many victories, but there is much work ahead of us. We will be sharing some of these successes and challenges with you all year, highlighting the strength we gain from working together.

Our kickoff event will be the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, being shown in three venues across the state in February. These films are beautiful, funny and inspiring, and highlight many of things that we do as an organization and many of the things that make our work meaningful. While the films are set in places such as British Columbia, Puerto Rico and California, you will immediately see the connections with the issues we face at home.

There will be many opportunities this year to support and participate in our work. If these first few weeks are any indication, it is going to be a very busy year. Our habitat restoration program is partnering with several groups to remove dams and build fish ladders. Two dam removal projects, on the Pawtuxet River and the Pawcatuck River, are in the permitting process and should be completed this year. The Blackstone River fish ladder project is getting ready for installation, and the Ten Mile River fish ladders will be in the ground this year as well. Design for a new dam removal project on the Cotley River in Taunton will also begin this year – one of three dams to be removed in that city in the next few years.

We are also launching an exciting new project in collaboration with the Wood-Pawcatuck River Watershed Association, The Nature Conservancy and DEM to designate portions of the Wood, Pawcatuck, Beaver, Queen, and Chipuxet Rivers as federal Wild & Scenic Rivers. Based on the great success we have had with this program in the Taunton River watershed, we are looking forward to studying these Rhode Island rivers for this very special designation.

This will be the last year of eelgrass transplants, so make sure to save some time to come out and get wet this summer. Last year the program had 163 volunteers who transplanted 110,000 eelgrass shoots.

On the legislative front, we are back in swing with the General Assembly session. Recent political events have most likely killed federal cap and trade legislation, so we must focus on what we can do locally, such as reforming our transportation system and supporting renewable energy. We are also anticipating the completion of the Ocean SAMP, which will help guide our way into a new generation of offshore wind energy.

We cannot do this work alone. Please join us.