July 12, 2013
12:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Coastal Institute on Narragansett Bay, Hazard Seminar Room
University of Rhode Island
Graduate School of Oceanography
Lunch available for all speakers and registered journalists
Welcome and Introductions
Sunshine Menezes, Metcalf Institute executive director, URI Graduate School of Oceanography
What is the “Watershed Counts” Report?
MEG KERR, URI Coastal Institute Fellow
Kerr will describe the Watershed Counts Indicator Project, a coalition of agencies and organizations who collaboratively examine and report on the condition of land and water resources in the Narragansett Bay watershed.
The State of the Narragansett Bay Watershed
SUE KIERNAN, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management; ELIZABETH SCOTT, RI Department of Environmental Management; JAN REITSMA, John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor
The Narragansett Bay watershed plays a critical role in the environmental, public health, recreational, and financial well being of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. This session will identify the state of watershed resources.
Beach Closures, Shellfishing Bans, and Water Advisories, Oh My!
DIANE MAILLOUX, Blackstone Valley Tourism Council; SEAN McCORMICK, RI Department of Health; LINDA GREEN, Watershed Watch; JAMIE RHODES, Clean Water Action, ELIZABETH SCOTT, RI Department of Environmental Management
The Clean Water Act seeks to make all U.S. waters fishable and swimmable. This ambitious goal requires the control of both point sources of pollution (e.g., industrial effluent pipes) and non-point sources (e.g., stormwater runoff). While point sources have been effectively managed since the Act’s passage, non-point sources have been much harder to contain. The resulting pollution can often result in beach closures, bans on shellfishing, and boil-water advisories at the height of the summer season, affecting tourism, public health, and the environment. Speakers will discuss the challenges, successes, and potential innovations in stormwater management in the region, and provide details on locations that are especially difficult to manage.
Going With the Flow: Is There Enough Water for All of Us?
RICHARD VERDI, USGS Water Science Center; KEN BURKE, RI Water Resources Board; KEN AYARS, RI Department of Environmental Management; MYRNA GEORGE, South County Tourism Council
After an especially wet winter and spring in the Northeast, it is easy to assume that regional water supplies are ample to support our freshwater needs, leaving many residents frustrated by the local limits on watering their lawns or even taking abbreviated showers. But are we facing even more critical limits on our drinking water supplies? Speakers will discuss the issue of water quantity in the region and its links to water quality and climate change.
Looking Ahead: Looming Issues for Regional Water Supplies
ARTHUR GOLD, University of Rhode Island; NANCY HESS, Rhode Island Statewide Planning; SHEILA DORMODY, City of Providence
Many variables affect watershed resources, such as open space, impervious cover, and infrastructure, green and otherwise. In addition to more obvious and common concerns about water quality and availability in the region, there are a number of topics that are likely to become more prominent as residents and businesses start to experience their effects. This session will be an introduction to some of the hot upcoming issues regarding regional water supplies.