Narragansett Bay

RIPR FILE

State legislators have introduced a resolution that would create a special commission to study the effects of ocean acidification on Rhode Island.

The world’s oceans are becoming increasingly acidic from all the carbon dioxide we’re dumping into them. Important habitats and fisheries, like shellfish, are rapidly degrading in many parts of the world due to ocean’s changing chemistry.

Courtesy Save The Bay

Seals from Maine and the Atlantic Provinces of Canada start migrating to Narragansett Bay in October. But February is one of the best months for seal watching in Narragansett Bay. That’s when the number of migrating seals peaks, ranging between 300-500. 

RIPR FILE

A new bill introduced at the general assembly could ban the use of plastic bags across the state.  It’s the latest attempt to ban plastic bags in the last several years.

The bill would gradually phase out the use of plastic bags over the course of two years at retail stores such as grocery, and convenience stores.  Over the past three years similar bills have some received public support, but failed in the General Assembly.  

Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation

Scientists are embarking upon a major campaign to get wild heron back on Rose Island.  Over the last decade the birds have disappeared from the island which sits between Newport and Jamestown in Narragansett Bay. .

Some 300 hundred pair of heron nested on the island until the mid-2000’s.  That number has dwindled to zero. The island’s caretakers think human activity, and environmental changes are to blame.   They’re fundraising to bring the birds back.  Rick Best is a spokesman for the Rhode Island Lighthouse Foundation.

What happens in the deep seafloor, west of Costa Rica, may unlock some mysteries about what happens in Narragansett Bay.

A biology professor at Brown University recently dove in the submersible Alvin, operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and owned by the U.S. Navy, to collect samples of microbes from openings in the Pacific sea floor, from where heated water flows. These seafloor openings are known as hydrothermal vents.

Jeremy Rich said he wants to better understand how fast microbes grow here.

U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse says the new climate change deal between the U.S. and China is good news for Rhode Island.  

The U.S. is committing to reducing carbon emissions 28 percent by 2025.

Whitehouse sais though Rhode Island is not a major carbon polluting state, it’s already feeling the effects of climate change. “Particularly with rising sea levels, Narragansett Bay is 3 to 4 degrees warmer, the winter flounder catch has virtually collapsed,” said Whitehouse.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week Dave and Mark talk with Kent Dresser, executive director of the nonprofit “Clean Bays”. He’s a licensed captain experienced in marine salvage and towing. They discuss the challenges to clearing old wrecks and pilings that lurk along the bay. The removal is one step toward reviving the waterfront in Providence and East Providence.

When to Listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

In our series One Square Mile we're exploring Narragansett Bay: what's lurking in the bay, its rich natural resources, how it affects the state's economy and the lives lived on the bay.  One of those lives is that of a tour guide who for years has delighted ferry passengers with fascinating stories of the many lighthouses in and around the bay.  

At Quonset Point, the ferry called The Ava Pearl idles along the dock as passengers line up to board. A man with a shock of white hair stands near the front of the line.

One Square Mile: Kayaking Narragansett Bay

Oct 10, 2014
Catherine Welch / RIPR

All this week we’re looking we’re looking at one of the Ocean State’s most visible resources: Narragansett Bay, with a series we call One Square Mile. There are plenty of ways for residents and tourists alike to get out onto the water: sailboats, surfboards, even jet skis.  

Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender went kayaking to get a feel for why people choose to pick up the paddle.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

We’re extending summer just a little longer this week with our series One Square Mile focused on Narragansett Bay. Now we offer a little poetry. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Catherine Welch caught up with Rick Benjamin, the state’s poet laureate, who wrote a poem about the bay for our series.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@ripr.org

Newport Historical Society

We continue our series One Square Mile: Narragansett Bay with a look at the bay’s role in the slave trade. Tens of thousands of slaves were traded on ships out of Narragansett Bay, more than any other part of North America.

Newport was at one time the largest slave-trading port in the region. To find out more, Rhode Island Public Radio's education reporter Elisabeth Harrison met Newport history teacher Matt Boyle at Bannisters Wharf, which was built by a merchant involved in the slave trade. She asked him what it would have looked like in mid-18th Century.

Rhode Island Marine Archeology Project

This week, we’re exploring Narragansett Bay. It’s the focus of a regular series called “One Square Mile,” where we dive deep into a particular area of Rhode Island. We’re taking a look at the people and places who make the bay so vital to the Ocean State.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

This week we’re bringing you stories from our series One Square Mile: Narragansett Bay. We’re taking a deep dive into the bay that helps define the Ocean State. Its history. Its present. Its future. Now, a look at how the bay keeps us healthy, through the eyes of a few of the growing numbers of open water swimmers.

Gathering for an evening swim

We’re sitting on a ledge at Narragansett town beach. The sky is overcast, it’s early evening. Dozens of people are suiting up for a swim.

John Bender / RIPR

All this week we’re taking a close look at the Narragansett Bay, for a series we call One Square Mile.  Today we look at the heavy industry that relies on the Providence waterfront.  Specifically, where those big piles of coal, scrap metal and salt,  sit along the Providence River.

Tuesday, independent Providence mayoral candidate Vincent “Buddy” Cianci, Jr. details his plan to turn the industrial waterfront to mixed use development, with things like hotels and marinas.   As Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender reports, that's been the subject of a decades-long battle.

In our series One Square Mile Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Scott MacKay sits down with Vincent Mesolella, chairman of the Narragansett Bay Commission board, about how the commission takes care of sewage treatment and keeping water pollution out of the bay.

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