Overview

Download the full Status of Island Waters Report

“Island Waters: The Aquidneck Island Water Quality Initiative” is a new program developed by AIPC in partnership with the communities of Newport, Middletown and Portsmouth, along with the non-profit partners Clean Ocean Access and the Aquidneck Land Trust. In September 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency selected Island Waters for funding under its Southeast New England Program – one of only 8 such projects selected by EPA that year.

With a single, shared drinking water system, Aquidneck Island is uniquely vulnerable to water pollution caused by stormwater runoff. As a world-class destination for beach-going, sailing, fishing and other forms of water-based recreation, our quality of life, our economy and our environment depend on clean fresh and salt water.

The purpose of Island Waters is to help the three Island communities work together to better manage stormwater pollution. Under this grant, we’re constructing stormwater control measures to reduce problems now, while planning for tomorrow’s funding needs. Outreach is a big part of the project, too, helping homeowners and others to better control stormwater runoff from yards and rooftops.


PARTICIPANTS

Local Partners: Aquidneck Island Planning Commission, Town of Portsmouth, City of Newport, Town of Middletown, Aquidneck Land Trust, Clean Ocean Access, Eastern RI Conservation District, RI Dept of Environmental Management, RI Green Infrastructure Coalition

Federal Partner: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Southern New England Program


GOALS

Island Waters’ goals are to:

  • Develop a sustainable inter-municipal partnership for restoring water quality;
  • Provide the communities with approximately $700,000 in new direct funding for actions to reduce stormwater impacts;
  • Engage and inform thousands of Island residents in watershed stewardship;
  • Evaluate the results of the program, including benefit/cost analysis for the municipalities;
  • Develop a financing plan for future stormwater needs; and
  • Share results with communities elsewhere in New England and the U.S.

PROGRESS & IMPLEMENTATION

In fall 2016, we developed the Island Waters program. The EPA grant was intended to run for three years, to fall 2019.

On December 8, 2016, we held “The Future of Clean Water: the Island Waters Public Forum” at CCRI Newport. With more than 170 attendees and eight presenters, it was an informative and engaging night. Missed the meeting? View/download the Powerpoint presentation here.

May 2018 saw the completion of the full Status of Island Waters Report.

Through 2018 and 2019, we began implementing the recommendations of the report, including outreach, communicating with partners, identifying the most practical projects to start with, gathering bids, and securing additional funding.

In the spring of 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we broke ground on two projects – a Wet Vegetated Treatment System (WVTS) near Sisson Pond in Middletown and a Best Management Practice (BMP) at Hoogendoorn Nurseries in Middletown, which will help restore the health of the Maidford River and Paradise Brook.