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

actual dredging.


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

following:


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

water quality.


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