IMPROVING WATER QUALITY IN GREEN HILL POND
A request by The Friends of Green Hill Pond
On March 13 2017, the Friends of Green Hill Pond (FOGHP) made a request to the
South Kingstown Town Council for $25,000 in matching funds for a project to help
improve the water quality of Green Hill Pond. The project focuses on improving
flushing and circulation through dredging the existing channel between Green Hill Pond
and Ninigret Pond to reduce bacteria levels, perhaps enough to conditionally raise the
shellfishing ban. Our project will do the field work and modeling necessary to obtain
the State permits which are required before applying for federal funding to do the
Before releasing the funds, the South Kingstown Town Council asked the Town staff to
further review the feasibility of the request. Specifically, the Town requested that
meetings be held with representatives of RIDEM, CRMC, and officials from the Towns
of Charlestown and South Kingstown, and Senator Algiere. We are pleased to report
that multiple meetings have been held with all the parties requested. The result of
those meetings and subsequent email and phone correspondence has resulted in the
1. Overall feasibility confirmed by URI. We met multiple times with Professors
Spaulding and King of the URI School of Oceanography. Although the magnitude
of the impact needs to be modeled, they confirmed that dredging the channel will
likely result in improved flushing and circulation leading to overall improvement in
2. Breachway option dropped. After DEM objected to constructing a breachway
directly from the ocean into Green Hill Pond, the scope of the project was narrowed
to focus only on dredging the channel between Ninigret and Green Hill Pond.
3. DEM acknowledged the potential water quality benefits of dredging. In their May
19 letter, DEM stated that the “dredging option may provide an increase in the
pond’s flushing rate, which should improve water quality”. It should be noted that
our project aims at reducing bacteria levels, which is the same metric used by DEM
in setting TMDL targets for the Town.
4. The Town of Charlestown denied our request for funding. Although the
Charlestown Pond Commission unanimously supported our request, the Town
Council denied it. Their core objection was that our project focuses mainly on
reducing bacteria not nitrogen. Reducing nitrogen is their major concern given that
they largely have well water. We are continuing to keep Charlestown town leaders
updated on our progress.
5. URI has prepared statements of work that details the deliverables, activities, and
confirmed the overall $100,000 budget. There are three phases to the work: 1)
Initial field work to support modeling ($25,000), 2) Modeling of water quality impact
of dredging ($50,000), and 3) Additional field work to conduct the surveys and
sampling needed to obtain a DEM permit ($25,000).
6. CRMC received $50,000 for modeling but that work is contingent on South
Kingstown. Senator Algiere was successful in obtaining $50,000 in State funding
in the current fiscal year for the modeling phase of this project. However, South
Kingstown’s funds are critically needed to conduct the initial field work that feeds
the water quality model. Without those funds, the project stops.
7. CRMC is the project manager and has selected URI as the lead contractor.
Professors Spaulding and King from the School of Oceanography will be leading
the team. A cooperative agreement was signed on September 13 2017 for the
modeling work which, again, is contingent upon the initial field work being done.
8. FOGHP is well on its way to raising the remaining $25,000. We are in discussions
with The Nature Conservancy and the Environment Council of Rhode Island to act
as our fiscal agent. An agreement should be finalized shortly. Meanwhile, even
before our formal fundraising campaign has even kicked off, we already have
$7,000 in pledges.
We believe we have completed all that the Town of South Kingstown requested. The
$25,000 needed from South Kingstown is critical to this project and in being able to
use the State’s $50,000 in matching funds. Therefore, we ask for the South Kingstown
Town Council to release $25,000 from the TMDL capital fund to help fund a project to
improve water quality in Green Hill Pond.
Thank you for your consideration.
The Friends of Green Hill Pond
Sep 20, 2017