Reed announces $250,000 to help keep URI’s Narragansett Bay Campus shoreline shipshape

January 26, 2022

Today, U.S. Senator Jack Reed announced $250,000 in new federal funding to initiate a shoreline protection project at the University of Rhode Island’s Bay Campus. Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee who sought to fund the project for URI, says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will launch and oversee the shoreline protection effort.

“This project will help protect new infrastructure investments that URI will be making at the Bay Campus to support the $125 million research vessel Narragansett Dawn and other campus improvements. This new federal funding means URI can focus more resources on its Bay Campus Master Plan and its marine research, ocean exploration, and education missions,” said Senator Reed, who visited URI’s Bay Campus this week to meet with faculty and educators at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO).

“We are grateful to Senator Reed and his continued support of ocean research and technology development at the University,” said URI President Marc Parlange. “These funds help keep URI as a leader in the Blue Economy, fueling economic growth and providing educational opportunities for our students and the greater community.”

“Tomorrow’s ocean leaders, entrepreneurs, and stewards are hard at work today on the URI Bay Campus,” said GSO Dean Paula Bontempi. “Senator Reed’s support is critical as we continue to invest in tools for Rhode Island’s growing blue economy, including the groundbreaking Ocean Robotics Laboratory, R/V Narragansett Dawn, and her new pier already under construction.”

Senator Reed worked for years to successfully help the National Science Foundation (NSF) build and modernize a new fleet of ocean research vessels. In 2018, NSF selected the East Coast Oceanographic Consortium (ECOC), led by URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography, to operate a new $125 million regional research vessel, one of only three such research ships in the nation.

Narragansett Dawn will support scientific studies and the testing of new ocean technologies. The ship will also offer education and public engagement opportunities for teachers, undergraduate and graduate students and the public.

URI’s outgoing research vessel, Endeavor, which has been in service since 1975, will continue to operate until R/V Narragansett Dawn arrives. The delivery timeline for Narragansett Dawn was delayed and required additional funding due to significant damage sustained by a Louisiana shipyard during category 4 Hurricane Ida this summer. To help get the project back on track, Senator Reed successfully worked to include $25 million in additional funding for the NSF regional research vessels in a recent continuing resolution appropriations bill.

While Endeavor is still in operation, its homeport is switching to Quonset Point to facilitate construction of the new Narragansett Bay Campus pier. URI’s new pier is part of phase one of the Bay Campus master plan to modernize facilities, optimize ship operations, and empower educators, students and scientists. This includes shoreline infrastructure and roads leading to and from the pier.

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