Quonochontaug Restoration Plan Gets $1 Million Boost

The R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) has been awarded nearly $1 million in funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for salt marsh restoration and enhancement at Quonochontaug Pond in Charlestown and Westerly.

The $982,103 the CRMC received comes from NOAA’s Coastal Resilience Grant program, which supports projects designed to help coastal communities prepare for extreme weather and climate-related hazards like sea level rise.

It will be used to restore 30 acres of degraded salt marsh in Quonochontaug Pond as well as an adjacent area used for recreational fishing.

Plans for the restoration include depositing dredged material on the marsh surface to fill man-made ditches and elevate it and replanting the marsh with native species.

This work builds on previous restoration planning efforts in the area, which were funded by a 2014 Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency award from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Through this award, CRMC and its project partners aim to improve the condition and resilience of the marshes within Quonochontaug Pond through the use of dredged material taken from shoaled areas within the man made breachway to raise the salt marsh surface elevations.

Material will be dredged and placed or sprayed on approximately 30 acres of marsh area, and graded to elevations best-suited for native salt marsh plant species. Some areas will then be planted with grasses grown from plants native to Rhode Island salt marshes.

Construction is slated to begin as early as November 2018, with pre-construction monitoring occurring during that year’s growing season, and planting the following spring.

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