By Ryan Belmore
Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline today announced $619,322 in federal funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to support the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve’s work to preserve and restore the coastal and estuarine ecosystems in Narragansett Bay.
“The Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is an important ecological and research resource for Rhode Island, giving us a barometer to observe changes in the natural environment in and around the Bay while also offering opportunities for education, recreation, and stewardship. I want to commend the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and NOAA for their continuing partnership in managing this important reserve,” said Reed, a member of the Appropriations subcommittee which provides funding for NOAA programs.
“Narragansett Bay is Rhode Island’s most important natural resource,” said Whitehouse. “A healthier Bay means a healthier economy. With support from NOAA, our Research Reserve can continue its important work protecting our coastline and helping Rhode Island address the effects of climate change in the Bay.”
The Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is a partnership between NOAA and the state’s Department of Environmental Management (DEM) to promote informed management and sound stewardship of Rhode Island’s coastal resources. The Reserve conducts research, education, stewardship, and training activities for students, educators, and coastal-related organizations. The Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, which was founded in 1980, is a member of a network of 28 National Estuarine Research Reserves, representing distinct coastal ecosystems across the country.
“As we continue to assess, predict, and fight the effects of climate change, these funds will go a long way toward not only restoring damage along our coastline, but also making Rhode Island more resilient and protecting the environmental resources that play a vital role in our economy, tourism, recreation, and quality of life in our state,” said Langevin. “Congratulations and thank you to the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve for your tireless work protecting our coastal and estuarine ecosystems, and for inspiring a new generation of environmental stewards through your advocacy and education.”
“The Narragansett Bay is a national treasure,” said Cicilline. “This critical funding is an important step to ensuring that future generations will have access to this natural marvel. It is also a vote of confidence in the stewardship of the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, which has done an incredible job preserving and restoring the Bay. This decades-long partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration and the RI Department of Environmental Management clearly represents the best in federal and state collaboration.”
The Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve encompasses 4,453 acres of land and waterways on Prudence, Patience, Hope, and Dyer Islands. Properties owned by the Reserve are used as monitoring sites for detecting ecosystem shifts caused by climate change and coastal development.
“We are fortunate in Rhode Island to have the leadership of Senator Whitehouse and our Congressional delegation,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “The Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is conducting important research that will strengthen our state’s resilience and help preserve our precious water resources. The Reserve is also an important training ground where both educators and families are learning about environmental science and stewardship, and cultivating a love of nature. This funding will be put to good use, and we thank the Congressional delegation for their continued support of this incredible program.”