Narragansett Bay Estuary Program Awards $649,000 in Grants for Green Project Planning in RI and MA
Funding for 11 projects ranging from concept and engineering designs for watershed, green infrastructure improvements to creating open spaces
The Narragansett Bay Estuary Program (NBEP), hosted at Roger Williams University, announces $649,000 in planning grant awards to support green-infrastructure and capacity-building projects for municipalities, local organizations, and universities across Rhode Island and Massachusetts
NBEP is providing a total of 11 grant awards through the Green Infrastructure Planning Grant program funded under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Southeast New England Program (SNEP). These green infrastructure projects align natural and engineering processes to improve water quality, reduce flooding, and increase efficiency of the water supply, while offering a range of co-benefits, including climate resilience, wildlife habitat, public health, and other socioeconomic and community enhancements.
“Natural solutions to runoff pollution and flooding that work with the landscape and the community are the future,” said NBEP Executive Director Mike Gerel. “We are pleased to fill a gap in financial support for the vital pre-project planning work necessary to bring more high-quality green infrastructure to our region.”
R.I. Senator Jack Reed, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, spearheaded the creation of the Southeast New England Program, which provides funding to NBEP to support programs such as the Green Infrastructure Planning Grants.
“Meaningful change takes vision, planning, resources, and execution. I commend Roger Williams University and the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program for coordinating this important effort. These green infrastructure planning grants are an important step toward building a cleaner, more secure, resilient and prosperous future,” said Senator Reed.
“EPA is proud of the great work being done in Narragansett Bay as part of the National Estuary Program, in partnership with our Southeast New England Program and other EPA resources. These projects will help local efforts to protect and restore the water quality and ecological integrity in Narragansett Bay,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. “Estuaries are essential in protecting water quality, providing critical habitat and reducing flood impacts to communities. These benefits are very important here in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.”
The Town of Bristol, R.I., is one of the grantees and will receive $70,818 to address stormwater management and long-term water quality goals in a neighborhood off of Metacom Avenue.
“The Town of Bristol is very excited to receive the grant for planning our green infrastructure projects in the Sowams/Annawamscutt Neighborhood,” said Diane Williamson, Bristol’s director of community development. “This project will help us identify and plan to incorporate additional green infrastructure projects into Town-owned open space areas which will also provide many co-benefits such as improved recreational areas and habitat.”
In Fall River, Mass., Groundwork Southcoast will receive $25,000 to initiate an environmental justice-grounded project to develop green spaces for the community.
“Funding from NBEP is monumental for a community like Fall River. This will allow Groundwork Southcoast to implement nature-based solutions that will connect historically disenfranchised residents from Fall River’s wonderful natural resources,” said Eric Andrade, the Community Systems and Climate Manager of Groundwork Southcoast. “As someone who grew up in a Fall River ‘environmental justice’ neighborhood, unable to play outside and experience the environment around me, I can attest firsthand how bridging these gaps for residents of today can make a massive impact in how people engage with our natural and urban green and blue spaces.”
The grants were awarded through a competitive process overseen by NBEP’s Grants Subcommittee. These projects were chosen because they will address stormwater pollution concerns and advance the capacity of the region to identify and implement future green infrastructure projects. The complete list of awards for this grant includes:
- $99,000 to the Town of South Kingstown, RI to complete engineering designs, permits, and outreach for four private sites that build on existing engineering design for the Green Hill Pond watershed.
- $92,099 to Groundwork Rhode Island, Blackstone Parks Conservancy and Seekonk River Alliance to advance renderings of green infrastructure projects at the south end of Providence, R.I.’s Blackstone Boulevard to the design and public engagement stage.
- $75,000 to the Southern RI Conservation District to develop a master plan with three concept designs and outreach for green infrastructure consistent with MRP/Comprehensive Plan in Westerly, RI.
- $73,000 to the Audubon Society of RI to conduct low-cost effectiveness monitoring of green infrastructure projects in Roger Williams Park and across Providence.
- $70,818 to the Town of Bristol, RI to develop concept designs for up to three green infrastructure projects in the Sowams and Annawamscutt neighborhoods.
- $60,410 to the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council to engage engineers and residents to create effective, community-supported designs for green infrastructure on Salmon Avenue in the Olneyville section of Providence, RI.
- $50,015 to the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NBNERR) to complete conceptual designs, plans, costs, and permitting for at least four green infrastructure practices on reserve property on Prudence Island.
- $45,000 to the City of East Providence, RI to develop conceptual plans for stormwater management in Runnins River watershed, including design and permitting for one green infrastructure practice.
- $33,700 to the Town of Barrington, RI to complete a stormwater drainage system geodatabase mapping project to identify opportunities to retrofit existing or install new green infrastructure.
- $25,000 to Clark University and the Blackstone Watershed Collaborative to work with municipal decision-makers in Woonsocket, RI and Worcester, Mass. to create conditions for installation of nature-based solutions.
- $25,000 to Groundwork Southcoast to launch a Resilience District model in Fall River, Mass. that will create and maintain green open spaces that benefit the community.