Over 40 Gaspee Point residents gathered at Mensa Park on a picture-perfect evening on May 18 to learn about the health of Narragansett Bay from Save the Bay’s “Baykeeper” Mike …
Over 40 Gaspee Point residents gathered at Mensa Park on a picture-perfect evening on May 18 to learn about the health of Narragansett Bay from Save the Bay’s “Baykeeper” Mike Jarbeau. And, according to Jarbeau, the health of the Bay is better than it has been in a very long time!
One of Jarbeau‘s many duties with Save the Bay is to sample the water quality of the Upper Bay in locations such as Salter Grove, Bold Point, and Fields Point. (The RI Department of Health only routinely checks the water quality of official Rhode Island beaches.). And, while Jarbeau has never sampled the water at Gaspee Point, he expressed confidence that the water quality would be “fabulous” -- unless, he added, it had recently rained. In fact, Jarbeau stated that nearly all of the Bay is safe for swimming and said “I would not hesitate to put my two-year-old nephew in the water at the Port of Providence.”
Jarbeau credited the improved state of the Bay on the State’s significant investments in sewage treatment and containment of ground water runoff into the Bay. He noted that there has been a 60% decrease in unwanted nutrients (such as nitrogen and phosphates) and a 50% decline in bacteria flowing into the Bay since infrastructure improvements were made.
However, Jarbeau cautioned that the Bay is also undergoing some unwanted changes. In particular, he pointed to a 3° temperature rise in the Bay since 1960 and a one-foot rise in sea level since 1930. More ominously, he warned that some projections show the Bay rising by as much as 6 feet in the next 50 years.
Gaspee Point residents were highly engaged throughout the presentation and asked many questions about shellfishing, marine life, water quality, and opportunities to volunteer.
The Save the Bay presentation was the first of a number of environmental presentations that will be hosted by the GPHA in the coming months. Watch for details.
This report was provided by the courtesy of Richard Brooks.
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