U.S. EPA has joined state and local dignitaries formally launching the Southeast New England Coastal Watershed Restoration Program.
The new program will serve as a framework to promote a broad ecosystem approach to protecting and restoring the coastal watersheds of southeast New England (coastal areas from Westerly, R.I. to Chatham, Mass., including all waters of Rhode Island, southern Cape Cod, Narragansett Bay and Buzzards Bay).
The program, consisting of government and non-government organizations, is currently working collaboratively and innovatively to maintain and improve water quality and habitat conditions within these coastal watersheds.
In collaboration with a diverse array of stakeholders, the program will focus on developing and promoting innovations in restoration and protection practices, development of new, more efficient technologies, and application of new policies to these new approaches.
A critical element of this program will be to prepare for climate change impacts and highlight the need to build resilience into all decision-making. Partners include key federal and state resource agencies, local organizations, and the two local National Estuary Programs in Narragansett Bay R.I. and Buzzards Bay Mass.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who is the co-chair of the Senate Oceans Caucus and a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee said : “In Rhode Island and Massachusetts we know that protecting the water quality of Narragansett Bay benefits our communities and coastal economy. Nutrient pollution and habitat loss in the watershed put the Bay and our way of life in Southern New England at risk. The projects being funded today will improve water quality in the short term and educate communities about how they can help protect Narragansett Bay as we face the challenges of climate change.”