At Home In Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island’s Coastal Waters
Science for Coastal Management
The recently-completed Ocean Special Area Management Plan (Ocean SAMP) brought together talented GSO/URI oceanographers and writers to produce a science-based management and regulatory plan to help stakeholders, managers, and policy makers make wise use of the Rhode Island’s offshore waters (RI Sound, Block Island Sound, and the associated continental shelf region of the Atlantic Ocean). Focused on economic development of offshore areas, including siting renewable energy installations (wind, wave, tidal), the Ocean SAMP is designed to preserve and restore the region’s ecological systems. With nearly seven million in funding from the State of Rhode Island and federal agencies, the plan’s development process brought together stakeholders from advocacy groups, industry, and individual community members. The Ocean SAMP was accepted by state and federal regulatory and permitting agencies, and guided the siting of what will likely be the first offshore wind farm in the U.S., just south of Block Island. The plan also serves as a beginning blueprint for a dynamic process, designed to evolve over time in the face of changing environmental conditions and public assessments. The URI-developed Ocean SAMP serves as a model plan expected to be emulated in other coastal regions and by other states with regard to their offshore development.
The Shoreline Change Special Area Management Plan (Beach SAMP) is a process undertaken by the Coastal Resources Center, Rhode Island Sea Grant, and the Coastal Institute at GSO, along with the state’s Coastal Resources Management Council, various other state and local government agencies, and stakeholders to produce a plan for coastal resilience. The aim of the Beach SAMP is to enhance or create new science-backed policies and tools to help communities work with government and private entities to adapt to shoreline erosion and inundation caused by large storms and rising sea levels.
Rhode Island Sea Grant, the Coastal Institute, and the Coastal Resources Center, all based at GSO, are coordinating the creation of the Rhode Island Shellfish Management Plan (SMP) designed to provide guidance for management and protection measures for shellfish, such as quahogs and oysters located in state marine waters.
The process involves stakeholders, the RI Coastal Resources Management Council, and the RI Department of Environment among other agencies. The goal of the SMP is to identify practices to restore lost resources and enhance the vitality of existing shellfish ecosystems.