rhode island department of environmental management

Courtesy of Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation

The Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation is kicking off a new project to collect data on black sea bass, a species that has moved north in search of cooler water.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

For the first time in years, river herring are traveling up the Saugatucket River in Wakefield without the help of humans lifting them over a dam during the spring migration. 

River herring are an important source of food for other animals. This year the Saugatucket River in Wakefield has a new fish ladder that's easier for river herring to find and swim through. Bryan Sojkowski, an engineer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the new ladder replaces an old one that wasn't well designed. 

RI Department of Environmental Management

The freshwater fishing season has officially begun. More than 100 waterways across the state have been stocked with trout.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

An estimated 20 percent of the trash that ends up in landfills is food. One way to reduce food waste is to compost your kitchen scraps. 

Photo courtesy of Peter Green

Over the next five years, dozens of volunteers will comb the Ocean State to map bird distribution. The data will be part of the state’s second bird breeding atlas, a joint undertaking by state and federal officials in partnership with the University of Rhode Island.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Fishermen in the Gulf of Maine have been harvesting lobsters at record highs. That’s in contrast to fishermen in Southern New England, where there has been a sharp decline in the lobster population since the late 1990s. 
 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Earlier this spring, we brought you a report from our series Battle With The Sea about the impact of climate change on Aquidneck Island's drinking water with warmer temperatures, heavier rains, and more intense storms. But there’s more to the story. We pick up where we left off.

John Bender / RIPR

Over the years, the state has slashed budgets across all government agencies, including the Department of Environmental Management. This agency, tasked with protecting the environment, has seen a decline in staffing. Environmental advocates say these cuts have weakened and slowed enforcing environmental laws and regulations.   

Earlier this year, residents packed a small room at the Statehouse for a hearing about a zoning bill. They complained to lawmakers about industrial pollution from a quarry in Westerly. Residents blame the DEM for poor monitoring and enforcement.

Robin Angliss / NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plans to continue to monitor daily the three beluga whales exploring Narragansett Bay. Biologists want to make sure they return safely back to their Arctic habitat.

Courtesy of Narragansett Bay Commission

The board of the Narragansett Bay Commission has voted to move forward with the final phase of a water quality project designed to overhaul its old sewer systems. The wastewater agency is struggling with how much it will cost to complete the project, aimed at further improving water quality in Narragansett Bay.

The Narragansett Bay Commission’s third and final phase of a multi-year water quality project will cost about $815 million, if state and federal regulators approve the plan. This final phase could bring the project's total cost to about $1.5 billion.

The project, known as the combined sewer overflow (CSO) project, involves installing a large tunnel that would run through Pawtucket, Central Falls and the northern part of East Providence. The tunnel would stop untreated sewage and stormwater from overflowing into Narragansett Bay during heavy rainstorms.

Rick Payette / Creative Commons License

A farm in Warren is the 100th farm in the state to be permanently protected for farming. This marks a milestone for the state’s farmland protection efforts.

  The state considers Lial Acres in Warren an important farm to protect because of its prime soil and its close proximity to other protected farms. The farm also abuts land protected for drinking water quality by the Bristol County Water Authority.

The Lial family currently operates it as a vegetable farm, though previous family generations ran it as a dairy farm. It has been an active farm for 125 years.

John Bender / RIPR

The state of Rhode Island and a scrap metal recycler have reached an agreement through a court order to address pollution on the Providence waterfront. The state recently sued Rhode Island Recycled Metals for failing to comply with environmental rules. 

  David Chopy, chief of the Department of Environmental Management’s Office of Compliance and Inspection, said the state is concerned that the company doesn’t have enough money to do the required cleanup.

Scott Comings / Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy

The Pawcatuck River will have one less dam along its river in the near future. The Nature Conservancy has filed a wetlands permit application in Rhode Island to remove the White Rock Dam beginning this summer.

Ed Hughes / Courtesy of Audubon Society of Rhode Island

Bald eagles aren’t the only bird of prey thriving in Rhode Island. Ospreys are also making a comeback.

The population of ospreys substantially declined from the use of the pesticide DDT after World War II. Rhode Island initiated an osprey monitoring program in 1977 to document the fish-eating raptor’s recovery and breeding success.

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