URI Study Assessing Groundwater Impact on Salt Ponds

A $400,000 research project, funded by the Southern New England Program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will assess the environmental impact of groundwater, a significant source of fresh water entering salt ponds, but one that is poorly understood. Greenwich Bay is also part of the study.

GSO professor Rebecca Robinson is the principal investigator on a team of scientists from the University of Rhode Island, which is leading the study. GSO professor John King, a member of the URI research team, said the role of groundwater in transporting nutrients and pollutants to the salt ponds has been underestimated until recently.

“The amount of nutrients coming in, in groundwater inputs, was always assumed to be small enough that you could ignore it, and that’s what the models did. They just basically ignored it,” King said. “To many of us, that really didn’t make a whole lot of sense, because the materials that the ponds and bay are in are surrounded by pretty porous glacial materials.”

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