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CRMC to celebrate Quonochontaug Phase One restoration and elevation
April 22, 2019, Charlestown – To acknowledge the completion of Phase one of the Quonochontaug salt marsh restoration and enhancement project, the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) and project partners, as well as members of the Rhode Island Congressional delegation, will be gathering for a celebration at the project site on Thursday, April 25.
The CRMC, along with the Town of Charlestown, Save The Bay, Salt Ponds Coalition, US Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program, RI Department of Environmental Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, and contractor J. F. Brennan will be present. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) will also be attending.
The majority of funding for the $2 million project came from a NOAA coastal resilience grant. The Town of Charlestown has contributed $450,000 to the effort, and the CRMC-administered R.I. Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration Program and Trust Fund also dedicated $90,000 of funding from FY 2018, and $50,000 from the FY 2019 Trust Fund will go toward spring plantings, invasives management, grading adjustments, and creek excavation. Local nonprofit groups The Shelter Harbor Conservation Society and the Salt Ponds Coalition have raised a significant amount of funding for the project from their membership, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s Coastal Program also provided support.
“This event gives us an opportunity to publicly acknowledge all of the many partners who made the first phase of the project possible, and to kick off the next phase of planting vegetation at the site, which will be a largely-volunteer effort led by Save The Bay,” said Caitlin Chaffee, policy analyst and Quonnie project manager for the CRMC.
The project at Quonochontaug is similar in scope to the one completed at Ninigret: approximately 30 acres of heavily degraded salt marsh was restored and elevated through sediment placement and native marsh grasses will be planted this spring to help nature along in revegetating the restored areas. The placed material will increase the elevation of the degraded marsh so that it can better withstand increased flooding from storm events and sea level rise. A portion of the pond that was dredged to obtain the sediment for the project is expected to be colonized by eelgrass, a submerged plant that also provides important habitat.
“The Quonnie salt marsh restoration is a shining example of the progress that can be made when communities, businesses, and governments come together to tackle a problem,” said Pat Montanio, director of NOAA Fisheries Office of Habitat Conservation. “Restoring coastal habitat is a natural and cost-effective solution to protect communities from sea level rise impacts. We congratulate our Rhode Island partners for their years of dedicated service in making this project happen.”
What: Celebration of the Quonochontaug salt marsh Phase One Restoration and Enhancement Project
When: Thursday, April 25, 2019 at 9:30 a.m.
Where: Quonnie Boat Ramp, End of West Beach Road, Charlestown (map here)