Joint project to improve Longmeadow fishing site access

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The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM), in cooperation with the City of Warwick and Save The Bay, will complete a coastal adaptation project at Longmeadow Fishing Access Site later this month. Located in Warwick on the shore of Narragansett Bay, this site is supervised and managed by DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) to provide coastal access, shoreline fishing access, and car-top boating access.

Situated at the end of Samuel Gorton Avenue, the site has experienced more than 100 feet of shoreline erosion over the past 75 years, and currently, the parking lot and entrance road flood regularly during moon and storm tides, limiting access and compromising infrastructure. Vehicle traffic over beach and intertidal habitats also has destroyed coastal vegetation and continues to cause erosion. With this project, DEM, the City, and Save The Bay aim to improve public access, enhance coastal habitats, and improve coastal resiliency.

“We are very pleased to continue our terrific collaborative relationships with the City of Warwick and Save The Bay,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “Shoreline access is a treasured resource to the people of Rhode Island; yet it is threatened by climate change and sea level rise. This coastal project, funded by the Coastal Resources Management Council’s Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration Trust Fund, is an example of how the impacts of climate change can be mitigated locally to preserve public access and enhance coastal habitats.”

“The City has enjoyed a long and productive partnership with both DEM and Save The Bay as we work together on issues of mutual concern,” Warwick Mayor Joseph J. Solomon said in a statement. “One of my priorities has been to improve our recreational facilities and expand opportunities for people to enjoy the great outdoors. This project not only has environmental benefits, but will result in better access to the waterfront for fishing and boating and address longstanding issues with the parking area. I know many in our community are looking forward to the completion of these site improvements. I thank all involved for their efforts and look forward to working with them on future projects to address areas of concern elsewhere in the city, such as Conimicut Point.”

“Removing asphalt at the end of Samuel Gorton Avenue, which floods frequently during higher tide events, and reconfiguring the parking area at the Longmeadow access point will restore the coastal habitat, improve public access to the Bay, and increase community resiliency,” said Wenley Ferguson, Restoration Coordinator for Save The Bay. “This collaborative resiliency project between DEM and the City of Warwick is a perfect example of steps that can be taken to remove infrastructure vulnerable to accelerated sea level rise.”

The project will be accomplished by removing a section of asphalt at the end of the road that extends into the tidal area; removing illegally dumped bulky waste along the shoreline; defining an organized parking area; grading and improving the parking surface; and restoring the dune and marsh by planting native shrubs and beach grass. Parking capacity will remain the same. The project partners hope that another benefit will be to help protect water quality in Narragansett Bay.

This project has been funded in part by Coastal Resources Management Council’s (CRMC) Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration Trust Fund. On-the-ground activities will be carried out by DFW and the City of Warwick and plantings will be conducted by the DFW, Save The Bay, and community volunteers.

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