Narrow River Restoration Scheme Moves Ahead

Work has been ongoing since December 1 along the Narrow River as part of the salt marsh restoration and elevation pilot scheme, State of Rhode Island official website said in its latest project update.

The contractor, Patriot Marine, has been dredging down near Sedge Island.

The crew is approximately one-third of the way dredging one of the sections planned for this area, though work was halted unexpectedly on Monday, December 5 because of mechanical issues.

Work resumed later in the week, once the new piece arrived. Patriot Marine has been working long hours since beginning, and dredging and production operations are going as expected, the update stated.

One method of restoration involves placing dredged material on the surface of the marsh to raise the elevation so that plants can thrive.

This method, often called thin layer deposition, will be used in the Narrow River. Material will be dredged from select locations to create depths where eelgrass, another important habitat, can grow.

The dredged materials will then be dispersed on the adjacent marsh surface to slightly increase the marsh’s elevation, primarily in areas where the vegetation has died off or become stressed from prolonged flooding.

These areas will be replanted with marsh grasses.

From Narrow River Kayaks south to Sedge Island, crews are depositing material from the river onto different areas of the marsh.

The dredge footprint creates an approximately 65-foot wide channel in the river. Sand from the river is being used to help elevate the marshes on the eastern side.

A new low-flow method of dredging is being used to protect the existing marsh plants.

Marine dredging is only permitted in the fall and winter months to avoid impacts to fish species such as flounder.

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