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.
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
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.
In 2021, we executed on a major project to install two additional Wet Vegetated Treatment Systems between Carriage Drive and Oakland Farm in Portsmouth. The timing and execution of this project has been impacted both by Covid-19 protocols throughout construction as well as by three named storm events (Elsa in July, Henri in August, and Ida in September) which caused delays for rework and repair throughout the construction period. A small amount of remediation work on these systems will carry into the spring of 2022, whereupon Aquidneck Land Trust will assume responsibility for the maintenance of the site.
AIPC also worked with the City of Newport to secure funding for an asphalt remediation project for Almy Pond on Spouting Rock Drive and has provided project management for the effort. The project is comprised of removing a 700 LF portion of Spouting Rock Drive on a property that directly abuts Almy Pond. The original intent of this portion of roadway was to serve future residential properties; however, 13 properties were converted to conservation area and are no longer buildable property. As a result, that portion of Spouting Rock Drive is no longer needed and can be removed. The remaining segments of the road will be treated with two bioretention basins.