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Roger Williams Parks Receives Federal Grant to Clean Up Ponds

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the Providence Parks Department a $424,300 grant to restore the ponds at Roger Williams Parks. The funds will be used to develop a comprehensive water quality management system to reduce the effects of storm water runoff.

The 105 acres of ponds, which are a prominent feature of Roger Williams Park, have been severely damaged over the years by storm water pollution. The storm water runoff, which flows downstream from urbanized areas, has caused poor water quality, eroding shorelines and abundant invasive fish species.

Mayor David N. Cicilline has recognized the importance of restoring the ponds. "Roger Williams Park is a Rhode Island treasure that hosts more than a million visitors a year and is a source of recreational enjoyment for countless residents and visitors to our state," Cicilline said. "This exciting new project will not only reduce pollution in the ponds, it will protect one of New England's most beautiful parks for generations to come."

Restoration Plan

The restoration plan will primarily focus on improving water quality by reducing the amount of storm water flowing into the ponds. The construction of pond buffers and rain gardens will serve as immediate solutions to treat storm water pollution, while the development of extensive wetlands will be a longer term strategy.

The restoration will also address the overpopulation of waterfowl, which are directly responsible for the increasing amount of harmful algae in the ponds. They will also restore migratory fish passages to the Pawtuxet River, reducing invasive fish and improving upstream ponds.

The project is a collaborative effort of the Providence Parks Department and the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program. An advisory committee comprised of local and state stakeholders such as the Pawtuxet River Authority and the Rhode Island Bass Federation will help guide the restoration. The Providence Parks Department also plans to match the EPA grant with in-kind services and funds. 


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