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					                         The

 Salt Ponds
  Coalition
                         Tidal Page           News of the Rhode Island Salt Ponds
 www.saltpondscoalition.org	       	      Official	Watershed	Council	for	the	Salt	Ponds	 	               Summer	2009	 	

Why is this Clam so                    Salt Ponds Coalition Looks Towards Cow
Happy?                                 Cove Restoration Project in Weekapaug
Pond Festival August 13th              If you have driven across the causeway        July than now), which is a sure sign of
from 9:00 till noon at Quonnie
breachway parking area. Learn          from Weekapaug this summer, you               high nutrient levels. SPC suspects that
about our happy clams and              might have noticed two signs of trouble       both problems are caused by agriculture
lots of other cool stuff. Plus a       for Cow Cove, which is east of Weeka-         in close proximity to the ponds and inef-
kayak tour of Bill’s Island!           paug Road and connected to the breach-        fective safeguards to control runoff and
                                       way by a culvert.                             groundwater intrusion.
                                           One is literally a sign, which ap-             Last winter we walked the property,
                                       peared last summer and notifies the           which is partially owned by the Weeka-
                                       public that the waters are closed to shell-   paug Foundation for Conservation and
                                                      fishing due to high bac-       partially by the family that has farmed
                                                       teria levels. The second      it for generations. We noted that large
                                                       sign of trouble is float-     areas of the fields pitch towards the cove,
                                                       ing mats of unattractive      that corn rows come right up to the steep
                                                     green algae (worse in early                       Continued on page 11


In This Issue                          Prentice Stout to Premier New Multimedia
                                       Show on Salt Ponds at SPC Annual Meeting
 Message from the
 President
                                            We are very excited to have Prentice
 Cow Cove Pollution                    Stout signed up to speak at our August
 Prentice Stout
                                       17th annual meeting. Prentice is a great
                                       friend of SPC and has met us on the
 Award from the White House            water during several of our kayak out-
 Logistics of Sampling the Salt        ings to share insight on the salt ponds.
 Pond Waters                                At our annual meeting, Prentice
 Profile of an Oyster Farm             will premier the multimedia show he
                                       has been developing, which looks at the
 Upcoming Paddles
                                       wonders of Point Judith Pond - the most
 Demo Project in Green Hill            historical and complex of the salt ponds,
                                       yet a very close cousin to all of the oth-
                                       ers. It will be a very engaging evening.
   Annual Meeting                           Prentice has been an advocate for
    August 17th                        the marine environment practically his
                                       entire life. When he was four, his banker
  Kettle Pond Visitor Center           father - who had a love of shore birds -      banking world, Prentice was committed
           7:00 pm.
                                       took him to a tidal cove in Sandy Hook,       to marine studies and education, and to
   Members and public are              NJ, where he saw his first horseshoe          horseshoe crabs. Today the boat he keeps
   warmly invited to attend.
    Special guest speaker,             crab. It was love at first sight for young    on Point Judith Pond is named Limulus,
                                       Prentice and the professional course of       (the Latin name for the horseshoe crab)
      Prentice Stout.                  his life was set. While Prentice’s broth-     and the vanity plate on his car also sports
                                       ers would follow their father into the                          Continued on page 10
Message From Our President

                       Dear Members,

                            Please plan to attend the SPC Annual Meeting on Au-
                       gust 17th at 7:00p.m., or to send in your proxy if you cannot        Salt Ponds Coalition
                       make it. Bring lots of friends to listen to featured speaker, Dr.    The Salt Ponds Coalition stands up for the
                       Prentice Stout and join us on a wonderful visual trip around         health and sustainable use of the south-
                       the Salt Pond as Prentice tells us of the habitat, history, and      ern Rhode Island salt ponds. SPC is the
                                                                                            only organization whose sole charter is to
                       folklore of the region.                                              monitor and protect these unique resources.
                            Our programs are in full swing, with monitoring, Salt
Pond Safaris, kayak trips, a successful pizza fund-raiser and more. We continue to
seek grants and to expand our membership.                                                   www.saltpondscoalition.org
     This coming year will present many challenges for Salt Ponds Coalition. Sim-
                                                                                                        Email:
ply put, we are going to have to raise a significant amount of money to sustain our
                                                                                              info@saltpondscoalition.org
current program load. To maintain our current level of operation, SPC will require
roughly $135,000 for the 2010 season. For some, that doesn’t sound like a lot, but                Mailing address
for struggling non-profits in this economy, funding is hard to get. Our membership                    PO Box 875
                                                                                                Charlestown, RI 02813
levels continue to climb, but giving levels are down significantly, as are the size and
numbers of grants received (and projected for next year). Please consider SPC in                Board of Directors
your charitable giving. We are watching your back, particularly during the winter                       Art Ganz
when so many developments seem to take occur.                                                            President
     This year we would like to begin a “volunteer bank”, a list of volunteers we can              Edward Callender
call on to help with specific projects. We need clerical help, computer data entry,                  Vice President &
website and e-mail expertise, field workers, boat operators, and particularly qualified            Chair Environmental
                                                                                                        Committee
people with an expertise in fund-raising. Please call and register your interest with
us so we can call when the need arises.                                                                George Hill
                                                                                                         Treasurer
     In addition, next year we will need to have one or two volunteers to head up
                                                                                                      Nancy Zabel
the water quality monitoring. Dr. Ted Callender will continue with data analysis &                      Secretary
interpretation, but will retire from coordinating the fieldwork next year. Ideally, we
                                                                                                      David Bailey
need one or two individuals to volunteer now, so they can be trained through the
                                                                                                      Sarah Dodd
end of this year. Sarah Parker has been doing a great job this summer, but will be
heading to Law School in the fall. Anyone interested should contact Mark Bull-                        Barbara Engel
inger, Executive Director, at 322-3068.                                                                  Jack Frost
     Please plan to join us for a celebration of the acquisition of Bill’s Island (a won-              Sharon Frost
derful achievement by SPC and Weekapaug Foundation for Conservation) on                                Martha Hosp
August 13, at Quonochontaug Breachway (end of West Beach Rd., Charlestown).
                                                                                                      Kallie Jurgens
There will be family activities land-side, with a seine netting, aquatic touch tanks,
face painting and displays. There will be a kayak trip beginning at 9:30 a.m. leaving                 William Lester
from the Breachway launch to visit Bill’s Island with presentation by a USFWS bi-                       Leo Mainelli
ologist and a demonstration of the eelgrass and shellfish restoration around Nope’s                     Dick Sartor
Island. Please also join us for our Fall Kayak trip September 26, which will tour                      Elise Torello
Ninigret Pond using the new launch facility at the Ninigret Refuge.
     In closing, I thank you for your support and all those who have worked hard                   Executive Director
and passionately to keep our ponds protected and managed properly. We look for-                      Mark Bullinger
ward to your future support. Enjoy the rest of the summer!
                                                                                                  Tidal Page Editorial
                                                                                                      and Layout
                                                                                                    Mark Bullinger



The Tidal               Page              Summer 2009                                                                     Page 2
   Art Ganz and Salt Ponds Coalition receive
         Coastal America Award From
             Obama White House

    Art Ganz, President of the Salt         which was the basis for the award.
Ponds Coalition recently received the            Plans for Quonnie and Winnapaug
Coastal America Award for his in-           are ready to go except for acquisition of
volvement in the South Shore Habitat        easements for piping, writing job speci-
Restoration Project, which was done to      fications and hiring a contractor. The
remove tidal deltas clogging the ponds      Nature Conservancy, Salt Ponds Coali-
and restore eelgrass beds buried by the     tion, CRMC & the Weekapug Founda-
sand. In addition, settlement basins        tion for Conservation sought stimulus
                                            money for these projects, however none
                                            was awarded.
                                                  The project was led by the US Army      sediments and engineers carried o u t
                                            Corps of Engineers and had participa-         the flow calculations and planned the
                                            tion from Coastal Resource Manage-            project. Permits were obtained, job
                                            ment Council (CRMC), URI research-            specs were drawn, easements granted
                                            ers, the Department of Environmental          and contractors hired. Once the job
                                            Management, Salt Ponds Coalition, and         was completed, the State of Rhode Is-
                                            also eelgrass guru Dr. Fred Short of Uni-     land assumed responsibility for main-
                                            versity of New Hampshire . Rob Lyons          taining the improvements.
                                            of Ocean House Marina performed all                 Following construction, eelgrass
                                            sorts of jobs, and the US Fish & Wild-        was planted in the dredged areas and
                                            life staff and the towns of Charlestown,      the success of those efforts is still be-
                                            South Kingstown and Westerly all par-         ing evaluated. The next phase involves
                                            ticipated.                                    restocking shellfish and that effort is
                                                 Each group had their specialty:          well under way through the joint work
                                            ecology, engineering, geology and ad-         of SPC, The Nature Conservancy, RI-
Art posing with the Coastal America award   ministration. Geologists evaluated the        DEM and Save the Bay.
at the ceramony at Ninigret park on June
8th, 2009.

were dredged to capture the sand flow-
ing into the pond, for easier removal by
the state in the future.
     The award is the only environmental
award given by the White House and a
representative from the Obama admin-
istration as well as Senator Jack Reed
were on hand to honor the team.
     Three ponds were included in the
project: Ninigret, Quonochontaug and
Winnapaug. Ideally each of the three
                                            Front row from left: Ginger Tippie of Coastal America; Stephen Alfred of South Kings-
ponds would have been done over a three     town; Dr. Jon Boothroyd; (speaker from Army/; US Senator Jack Reed; Laura Furgione
year period. However, shortly after the     from the White House; Michael Tikoian, Chair of CRMC; Grover Fugate, Executive Director
                                            of CRMC; Unknown; Laura Ernst formerly of CRMC. Back row: Don Wood, Army Corp of
Charlestown job began, both state and       Engineers (ACE); Tim Rezendes of ACE; Maurice Boudoin of ACE; Todd Randall of ACE;
federal funds were diverted to other is-    Dr. Fred Short of UNH; Leanna Heffner of URI representing Dr. Scott Nixon; Rob Lyons,
                                            Charlestown Salt Pond Commission (harbor comm); Art Ganz formerly of RI-DEM and now
sues. Since the Charlestown job had be-     SPC; Chris Hatfield, ACE Project Mgr; Gregory Avedisian, Charlestown Town Council; Dr.
gun it was authorized to be completed,      Sheldon Pratt, URI; Janet Freedman of CRMC; Dan Golet of CRMC; Unknown.



Page                                                           The Tidal               Page           Summer 2009
                                                                                              Rhode Island growers buy seed stock
A Profile of Oyster Farming in the Salt Ponds
                                                                                              and grow it out. Rob grows the young
Mark Bullinger                                                                                oysters in wire trays and mesh bags to
                                             upon Mr. Johnson’s retirement. Prior to protect them from predators and to
     Aquaculture in the salt ponds is by     that, Rob owned a plot in Portsmouth prevent them from floating away. The
no means a recent development. As            and worked for a pioneer in modern trays are stacked five deep in wire bas-
documented in Virginia Lee’s book, “An       Rhode Island                                                    kets that are suspended
Elusive Compromise,” oyster fishermen        aquaculture                                                     below his floating barge
were moving seed oysters from various        for six years.                                                  moored in the central part
salt ponds to plots on Point Judith Pond     Rob earned a                                                    of Ninigret Pond. Rais-
in the later half of the 1800’s. A docu-     degree in en-                                                   ing pretty oysters is a la-
ment from 1879 made reference to the         v i ro n m e n t a l                                            bor-intensive process, that
state leasing out sections of Ninigret       sciences from                                                   requires regular tending of
Pond for “oyster culture.”                   Springfield                                                     the trays to reposition the
     Nevertheless, many Rhode Island-        College and                                                     rapidly growing animals
ers consider the shellfish aquaculture       worked at the                                                   and to clean off marine
industry in Southern Rhode Island to         URI Bay Cam-                                                    growth such as weeds and
be something new. Some think it’s great      pus for five                                                    barnacles. The individual
and others see it as an assault on the       years.      Dur-                                                oysters also try to fasten
“free and common” nature of Rhode Is-        ing an intern-                                                  together and they need to
land coastal waters. There are five farms    ship at a trout                                                 be separated to develop the
active in the salt ponds: Cedar Island       hatchery, Rob                                                   sought-after shape. Some-
Farm in Point Judith Pond, Matunuck          discovered that                                                 times Rob will leave trays of
                                                                  Rob with a tray of oysters, Five trays fit
Oyster Farm in Potter Pond, Ninigret         his highest am- into the wire baskets to the right of the oysters out of the water for
Oyster Farm and East Beach Oyster            bition was in picture and the whole assembly lowers a day to air dry the shells,
Company in Ninigret Pond and Watch           growing fish into holes in the deck of the barge.               which helps in cleaning
Hill Oysters in Winnapaug Pond. They         for commercial harvest.                          them. This also stresses the oyster, which
mainly grow oysters (that’s where the             Ninigret Oysters has two basic he feels produces a stronger animal and
money is) but several also grow clams.       components to its business. First is helps weed out those with a weaker con-
     Most of the wild oysters in the salt    growing pretty (and tasty) oysters for
ponds have perished over the years. Part     the restaurant trade and to a lesser de-
of the problem can be traced back to the     gree retail sales. Rob is part of a group
construction of hardened breachways in       called Ocean State Shellfish Co-op,
the first half of the twentieth century,     which includes four farms on Ninigret,
which dramatically increased the salin-      Potter and Pt. Judith Ponds, as well as
ity levels in the ponds. Mature oysters      two more on Narragansett Bay. To-
do fine in salt water, but the oyster lar-   gether they employ a sales rep who sells
vae do much better in brackish water.        to restaurants, primarily in New York,
More recently, nutrient pollution and        Washington D.C., Boston and Chica-
two oyster diseases have hammered the        go. Pretty oysters is a subjective term,
remaining population. In many areas,         but what it refers to here is a round-
cultured oysters are the only oysters that   shelled, nicely-sized oyster that looks
remain in the ponds.                         really good on the plate when served on
     I visited with Rob Krause, owner of     the half-shell at an expensive oyster bar.
Ninigret Oyster Farm, recently to learn      Oysters don’t naturally grow that way,
more about his operation and to develop      so tricks of the trade are employed to
a profile of a Rhode Island oyster farm.     encourage symmetry. The process starts
     Rob has owned Ninigret Oyster           when seed oysters as small as a grain of Rob with mother-in-law Kathie Gibson and
Farm for about five years. He pur-           rice are purchased from authorized and friend Nora Safford at the Cross Mills farm-
                                                                                              ers market, with mussels, clams and oys-
chased it from founder Dick Johnson,         highly regulated supply houses. All ters raised a few hundred yards away.


The Tidal             Page             Summer 2009                                                                          Page 
stitution. After a year of careful tend-     water and drifting away with the cur-         highbred strains, which have been de-
ing, the oysters are roughly the size of     rent. With five-million oysters on the        veloped to resist Dermo and MSX. This
a silver dollar. At this point they are      barge (not all of reproduction age) an        year Rhode Island farmers are planning
moved to a deep-water plot, where            oyster farm can pump a lot of oyster          to release eight-million oysters. The
they are dumped from the trays to the        larvae into the wild surroundings.            first generation of restoration oysters
sandy bottom below. Rob’s deep-water              The second component of the busi-        will reach three years of age this year and
plot has a hard sandy bottom, which he       ness is growing out oyster stock for re-      they will be closely monitored for dis-
says helps form the hard, round shell he     lease into the environment. The USDA          ease, which as mentioned earlier in this
strives for. The water in the deep plot is   pays Rob and twelve other farms in            article, starts to show adverse effects at
clean and cool and is ideal for finishing    Rhode Island to grow out oysters until        three years of age.
the oysters. Harvest usually occurs at       they can be released into the wild. This           Rhode Island grown oysters are
27 to 28 months of age, at which point       is part of an attempt to reestablish wild
                                                    stocks, which would be benefi-
                                                    cial to the environment as well as
                                                    those who love the idea of one
                                                    day harvesting oysters from their
                                                    favorite salt pond. This process
                                                    starts with the farmer delivering
                                                    150 bushels of culch to a Cape
                                                    Cod company named Aqua-
                                                    culture Research Corporation
                                                    (ARC), in Dennis, MA, to be
                                                    set with oyster larvae. Culch is
Above: Bags of oysters grow-
                                                              the material that oysters
ing on shell for release into                                 adhere to at the larval      Working the plot can be a solitary job, but
the wild. Right: A closer look                                stage and then grow on       Luna is a faithful companion who keeps
at oysters ready for release                                                               watch over things from her custome-built
growing on a surf clam shell.                                 throughout their natu-       perch inside the cabin.
                                                              ral lives. In this case it
the animal is an attractive                                   is old clam, scallop, and    available in many local fish markets
market size. Harvesting at                                    oyster shells. The culch     and in some cases at farmers markets
this stage also ensures that                                  is set in special tanks      and road-side stands. Watch Hill oys-
nothing is lost to Dermo                                      for a period of time and     ters are available at the Fishery (a fine
or MSX, two diseases that                                     when it comes out each       seafood market at Dunn’s Corners,
are harmless to humans,                                       shell has many tiny oys-     Westerly) and at a roadside stand on
but deadly to oysters, and                                    ter larvae set on them.      Route 1A in Westerly on the week-
which start to manifest at                                    The culch is packaged in     ends. Ninigret Farm oysters are avail-
three years. The cooler water also reduc-    mesh bags and trucked back the farm,          able at the Cross Mills farmers market
es the likelihood of the oysters spawning    where the bags are hung off the side          on Fridays throughout the summer and
during the finishing stage. This allows      of the barge. This past year RI farm-         at the Charlestown Mini Super. They
Rob to harvest plump tasty oysters year      ers brought back 4,600 bags set with          are also available at the Matunuck Oys-
around. In the wild oysters normally         70-million baby oysters. The shape of         ter Bar, which opened this year and is
spawn as the water gets warmer, result-      these animals is of no concern, so the        owned by Perry Rasso who owns and
ing in diminished quality of the meat in     maturing oysters are allowed to clump         operates Matunuck Oyster Farm on
the summer months – hence the old ad-        together with their partners through          Potter Pond. The new retail business is
age to eat oysters in the months with an     life on a single shell. When the oys-         both restaurant and fish market, where
R. Oysters in the warmer water where         ters are about an inch long, they are         customers can buy and compare oys-
the barge is do spawn and according to       removed from the bags and deposited           ters from many different Rhode Island
Rob the water in and around his barge is     in special spawner sanctuaries, where,        farms in one location.
milky white at spawning time. You can        with luck, they will survive and repro-
see the milt seeping out into the pond       duce. These animals are from several


Page                                                             The Tidal                Page           Summer 2009
                                                                                Managing the SPC Water -
                                                                                Start at left and follow the arrows to learn

                                                                            1   In April, volunteers are trained on how to collect and
                                                                                process samples consistently.

                                                                            2   Supply bags are compiled by the manager of the test-
                                                                                ing program and distributed to each collector. The
                                                                                bags contain the necessary bottles labeled with sam-
                                                                                ple type and site location, and all necessary supplies.

                                                                            3   On sampling days - generally every other Wednes-
                                                                                day from mid-May through mid-October - trained and
                                                              1                 equipped volunteers collect samples and record their
                                                                                observations.              Fig. 1




                                                                                   4



                               2               3
                                                                                                               Dissolved Oxygen


                                     4    On a full sampling day, SPC Pond Watchers collect sam-
                                          ples and information using the implements in the bar at
                                          right. Parts of their collections they analyze themselves;
                                          other samples are sent to the lab. Follow the arrows to see
                                          what happens to each.
                                                                                                                         Results from the DO
                                                                                                                         tests are entered on
 Dissolved oxygen titrations are the                                                                                     the data card along
 most involved task the Pond Watch-                                                                                      with the other Pond
 ers perform, but they are still less                                                                                    Watcher observa-
 complicated than most recipes on                                                                                        tions
 the Food Network! The samples
 need to be analyzed soon after col-
 lection to get a true reading. No time
 for a lab, so we do it ourselves. The
 kit shown at right brings back mem-
 ories of basic high school chemistry
 - only no lab reports to write!




                                                               URI Watershed Watch is the destination for many of the samples SPC
                                                               Pond Watchers collect. Watershed Watch maintains the equipment and
                                 URI                           staff to do detailed analysis of the samples. Watershed Watch covers
                                                               not only the salt ponds and other marine sites, but most of the ponds,
                                 Watershed                     streams and rivers across the state, too. Even in little Rhody, that is a lot
                                                                               of samples. Results generally come during the following
                                 Watch                                         winter.
                                 Labratory


The Tidal            Page                 Summer 2009                                                                       Page 
- Sampling Program is a Logistical Challenge!
how our volunteer Pond Watchers get the job done.

            The Salt Ponds Coalition (SPC) sampling program is the oldest continuously operating, volunteer staffed, marine water
       quality testing program in the nation. We call our volunteer samplers Pond Watchers and not only are they upstanding citizens,
       they are amateur scientists, too. Well, not all of them, but they do receive great training from real scientists and they do a fan-
       tastic job of collecting consistent samples and performing the field work that needs to happen quickly to stabilize the samples
       for future analysis.
            As you can see from the graphic example on this page, the process requires planning and organization on many levels.
       Responsible samplers need to be recruited and trained, backup volunteers lined up to cover for those who are away, testing sup-
                                                                                                         Continued on following page




 Temp & visual observations        Nutrient samples                  Bacteria Samples                       Chlorophyll


                      Temperature and visual                Nutrient and bacteria samples are
                      observations are record-              dropped off in a cooler at one of
                      ed on a data card and                 three collection sites, for transpor-
                      returned to the testing               tation to the lab.
                      coordinator.




                                                                                               Water tested for Chlorophyll levels is
                                                                                               carefully measured out in a large syringe
                                                                                               and then forced through a disc-shaped fil-
                                                                                               ter. Once the samples are stabilized and
                                                                                               packaged, they are put in the cooler.




                                                                                           A driver collects the samples and data
                                                                                           cards from the three drop spots and
                                                                                           rushes them to URI to maintain their
                                                                                           freshness.



       Page                                                            The Tidal                   Page          Summer 2009
plies need to be inventoried and orga-       aside, it’s a safe process that is performed        ter year to measure trends, while others
nized, and the logistics of making it all    thousands of times a day around the                 are moved to help identify the source of
happen on a given day need to be man-        world.                                              contamination.
aged. To complicate things, throw in the          On a typical testing day the Pond                   Each testing station costs $600 in
crazy weather we’re having this year and     Watchers are out on the water by 7:00am             straight lab fees, in addition to which
then multiply by thirty for the number       to get samples before the sun goes to               SPC has overhead cost associated with
of stations we service and you have your     work heating the water and driving pho-             managing the program. Ideally we cover
hands full. Fortunately for us, we have      tosynthesis, which can raise the oxygen             the lab costs by collecting station spon-
Sarah Parker on the job and she is doing     and chlorophyll levels. Of course this              sorships from area associations, towns,
a great job this season.                     summer we could test at noon on most                clubs, businesses, and individuals, and
     The sampling season officially be-      days and not have an issue with the sun,            use that demonstration of grass-roots
gins in the middle of April when we          but we won’t go there. Some of our sam-             support to help secure grants and large
hold the yearly training program for our     plers collect samples from docks and                donations to cover overhead.
volunteers. Most groups that partici-        sand flats that can be safely waded to,                  The Pond Watcher program is a big
pate in the state-wide Watershed Watch       while others utilize boats to test deep-            success and so important to the welfare
program have to go to a special training     water stations further out in the ponds.            of our coastal environment. Please con-
session, but we have such a base of ex-           Before any of the sampling takes               tinue to support us through your mem-
pertise we are allowed to train our vol-     place, the sampling committee has to                bership dues, donations and/or by vol-
unteers in-house. The testers learn how      determine where the testing stations                unteering to be a sampler.
to collect consistent samples and how to     will be. Some are kept the same year af-
perform some basic procedures to stabi-
lize the samples and, in the case of dis-       Pond Watcher Coordinator Needed for 2010 Season
solved oxygen (DO), perform the actual              Our beloved Sarah Parker is headed off to Roger Williams in the fall for the joint law
                                                    and marine studies program. We are looking for someone to take over - hopefully
test and record the findings.                       for several seasons. The work is challenging but fun, the people are great and it is
     Some people are a bit intimidated              very good experience on a resume or application. The position pays a stipend and
by the thought of doing chemistry on                requires on average about ten hours per week from March through September.
                                                    If you think you have what it takes, give us a call at 401-322-3068.
their own, but the training is good and
the process is kind of fun. As for safety,      Testing Fee Support Needed
                                                    We are still not fully funded for the $600 lab fees associated with some of our sta-
we haven’t lost a single person this year           tions. If you can sponsor a station this year please help. Come the first of the year
and the season is half over! All kidding            the challenge starts again and we’d appreciate your help for 2010 as well.




Cece Gamwell, Past President of Salt Ponds Coalition.
Cecil C. Gamwell III ( Cece) of Charlestown RI and Vero Beach Fl. passed away on March 7, 2009 at the age of 84. Cece
was a devoted member of the Salt Ponds Coalition, serving many years as a Pondwatcher, and later as President in 2002 and
2003. He was an avid supporter of SPC, and was dedicated to maintaining the health of Rhode Island’s salt ponds. He will
be greatly missed.


 How do you feel about aquaculture in the salt ponds?
 Kira Dacanay, a masters student in the Marine Affairs program at URI, is conducting a study on the public perception of aquaculture
 operations in the salt ponds. Please help her with the project and register your opinion by taking the online survey. Go to www.
 saltpondscoalition.org\aquaculture and click on the survey button.



The Tidal              Page             Summer 2009                                                                                Page 
Pizza Fundraiser 2009
                                                                                    beverages. And a very special thanks to our hosts, Cathy and
The annual SPC pizza fundraiser was a another fine success.                         George Hill, and the band of volunteers who prepped, shaped,
A rare sunny evening, and the lovely gardens at the Hill resi-                      baked and served a wide variety of gourmet wood-oven piz-
dence, made for the perfect setting and the food was tops!                          zas! The winner of this year’s raffle was Lo Crossgrove, who
Thanks to all who attended as well as those who participated                        will be treated to a catered dinner for ten in the Hill’s gardens
in the raffle. Thanks to those who brought salads, desserts and                     with pizzas from the Hill’s outdoor wood-burning oven.

                                                                                               Right: Hosts
                                                                                                 Cathy and
                                                                                                George Hill
                                                                                                 with raffle
                                                                                                 winner Lo
                                                                                               Crossgrove

                                                                                              Left: A
                                                                                              scene of the
                                                                                              gardens

                                                                                              Below: Cathy
                                                                                              and Fred
                                                                                              Schultz, Art
                                                                                              Ganz




    Table for two: Eleanor Hill & Marjie Stevens            Right: David Bailey, Sharon Frost, Mary Jarvis and Tom Battista




 Julie and Jim Slimmon with Barb Engel                                                                         Dining next to the gardens




The cooking and serving crew: Marjie Stevens, Cathy               Elise Torello, Ted Callender, Nancy Zabel           Sue & Bill Lester, Kristin & Joel Revill
Hill, Tracy Stilwell, Rob Guglielmo, Sue Desillier, Moira
McCool and George Hill

Page 9                                                                          The Tidal                    Page               Summer 2009
Prentice (continued from page 1)
                                              the heyday of this program, events took        and a generator. Getting kids to venture
a variation on the name. A little-known       place almost every day of the year. Pren-      out on a dark, still night, where strange
fact is that Prentice earned a PhD by         tice recalls how this was a very popular       sounds carry for hundreds of yards across
studying the animal. He doesn’t use the       program, and laments how it fizzled out        the water, wasn’t always easy, but when
title Dr., preferring to keep a lower pro-    upon his retirement. Prentice has long         they slid up on a flat and switched on the
file around his students and peers.           had a particular interest in introducing       lights, the kids were spellbound by the
      Prentice graduated from Denison         children to the sea and even after retiring,   variety of creatures they saw.
University and started his career as a        he influenced hundreds of kids through              Prentice became noted for reaching
teacher in private schools in New Jersey.     his stewardship of the marine program at       out to the public and delivering engag-
He furthered his education at night and       Camp Fuller on Point Judith Pond.              ing programs. After retirement he was
eventually moved onwards and upwards               Prentice has a way of coaxing ten-        recruited by Academic Arrangements
to the position of Marine Education           tative participants into experiencing          Abroad to act as the education host on
Specialist at the University of Rhode Is-     nature that is part humor and part blus-       trips to Botswana, Antarctic the Galapa-
land Graduate School of Oceanography,         ter. “Some of them will only see these         gos Islands and other stunning destina-  Prentice
where he served for thirty years.             things once in their lives” he says, “but it   tions. He also served as a contract pho-
      Throughout his career, the opportu-     will make an impression and stay with          tographer for National Geographic.
nity Prentice has most cherished is to in-    them.” Others get bitten by the bug the             Prentice lives in Wakefield and con-
troduce the general public to the wonders     way Prentice did and eventually go into        tinues to deliver inspiring lectures to
of the natural world, particularly the salt   marine sciences, too.                          groups who are interested in learning
ponds. He developed the Narragansett               An example of a Prentice experi-          about our natural world. His salt pond
Bay Classroom at the GSO campus and           ence is the nighttime explorations on the      book, A Place of Quiet Waters, is an out-
recruited friends and faculty to deliver      Camp Fuller pontoon boat, which Pren-          of-print gem and hopefully will be avail-
lectures and guide field trips. During        tice rigged with submerged light booms         able again soon.


SPC Guided Kayak Paddles                              With one great success in the bag, SPC looks forward to
                                                      two more 2009 paddles.
     It seems that our luck with weather
and the SPC guided kayak paddles has
been a mixed bag. We’ve been shut down
due to rain, lightning, wind and fog. But
we have also had some truly beautiful days
and our May 30th paddle has to be one
of the best. In this season of relentless
low-pressure funk, we landed a grand day
for our paddle down Point Judith Pond.
It didn’t start out that way. At 7:00 am      ered an informative and entertaining talk      Kayakers gather around Limulus to learn
the clouds were thick and the day uncer-      on the history and geology of the pond.        about the pond from a master.
tain, but just as we were launching boats,    From there, it was south to mid-pond                 There will be two more SPC paddles
a front passed and blue sky and bright dry    to meet up with John West at his oyster        on the salt ponds this year. Please plan
air flowed in from the west. A flotilla of    farm. John told the group all about the        on joining us. Information is on our web
fifty boats formed up at Marina Park and      fundamentals of oyster farming and from        site, or call 322-3068.
at 9:00 a.m., after opening remarks by Art    there the group headed a bit further south     Quonochontaug Pond Paddle:
Ganz and a water-testing demo by Elise        to explore a small group of islands. After     Thursday August 13th at 9:30a.m. departing
Torello, the group struck out down the        a little R&R, the paddlers returned to the     from Quonnie State boat launch and touring
pond on calm sunny waters. The first stop     launch with a pleasant tail wind helping       recently preserved Bill’s Island
was just outside the narrows, where the       them along. Back at the dock, Gary Poe         Ninigret Pond Paddle:
group met up with Prentice Stout, who         of Mystic had his Tidepool Cruiser mo-         Saturday September 26th at 8:30a.m. depart-
was aboard his boat Limulus (the Latin        bile marine-life display set up for visitors   ing from the new kayak launch at Ninigret
name for horseshoe crab). Prentice deliv-     to check out.                                  Wildlife Refuge


The Tidal              Page             Summer 2009                                                                       Page 10
    SPC Sponsoring Demonstration Project in
    Green Hill Pond Area
         Salt Ponds Coalition is working with a            The Sucholiffs love both Teal Pond
    couple living on Teal Pond to install landscap-   and Green Hill Pond and were very recep-
    ing that will naturally control stormwater run-   tive to making improvements that would
    off and create barriers to discourage Canada      help the ponds. SPC wrote a grant proposal
    Geese. Teal Pond is the last stop for Teal        for a demonstration project and together we
    Brook, before it flows into Green Hill Pond.      received $2,500 from Rhode Island DEM
         The yard at the home of Len and Ar-          to help make the improvements.
    lene Suchotliff (which they purchased in its           This spring we made contact and met
    currant configuration) is a poster example of     with Kate Venturini who is Manager of the
    landscape practices that are detrimental to the   URI/CRMC Coastal Landscapes Program
    health of a pond. The yard is steep and runs      at the URI College of the Environment and
    right down to the edge of the pond. The low       Life Sciences. Kate is writing the book
e   concrete retaining wall displaces a natural       on native plants for buffer construction
    bank, and there are no shrubs or thick grasses    and visited the site early this summer. She
    to slow down runoff and discourage geese.         consulted with the Suchotliffs and offered
    That geese find this the location attractive is   resources for identifying shrubs, perennials
    evident from the copious amount of goose          and grasses that will appeal to the property
    droppings on the yard, as pictured at right.      owners. The Suchotliffs are looking into
    Making matters worse, the down spout from         plants they would like to use and will soon
    the roof empties onto the steep yard and adds     have compiled a list for a designer to work
    to storm water flow. Just think of the volume     with. We will document this process with
    of water that would be flowing across the sur-    photos and articles as it progresses, so oth-
    face of the yard in one of the torrential rains   ers who are interested can better understand    Top: The Suchotliffs meet with Kate Venturini
    we’ve had this summer, and how it would           what coastal landscaping looks like on the      from URI to discuss native buffer vegetation.
    wash the goose waste right into the pond!         ground.                                         Middle: Steep yard goes to the pond edge
                                                                                                      Bottom: Geese love this open habitat.


    Cove (continued from page 1)                      and the head of the little creek, and plant       groundwater flows through the chips.
                                                      it native grasses. This could help slow               The tilled margin of the field would
    bank in areas, and that surface runoff                                                              be an ideal place to install the trenches
                                                      surface water runoff and the vegetation
    and groundwater springs at the edge of                                                              since the land is already cleared.
                                                      could absorb nutrients. 2) Install wood
    the field join up to form a stream that                                                                 Together, these simple and green
                                                      chip trenches around the perimeter of
    flows directly into the cove.                                                                       techniques could have a big impact on
                                                      the pond where it borders the corn field.
         In a fine tradition of farming, the                                                            the quality of water that flows from this
                                                      The trenches are six feet deep or so and
    fields are fertilized with manure from a                                                            cove into Winnapaug Pond, the Week-
                                                      are filled with regular wood chips from
    dairy herd that is kept in a separate area                                                          apaug breachway, on into the ocean
                                                      local tree work. The chips host bacte-
    of the farm. Manure makes a first-rate                                                              alongside Fenway Beach.
                                                      ria colonies that consume nutrients as
    fertilizer, but can jack up both bacteria
    and nutrient levels if it gets into the
    ponds without proper treatment.
         This summer SPC and Weekapaug
    Foundation for Conservation are testing
    the cove to create baseline readings. The
    next step will be to seek grant money
    for a study on how to best protect the
    cove, while allowing the farmer to con-
    tinue planting the corn crop he relies on
    for feed. Two ideas that seem to make
    sense on this site are as follows. 1) Cre-
    ate a vegetated buffer of at least thirty
    feet around the parameter of the cove              Cow Cove just east of Weekapaug road


    Page 11                                                                 The Tidal                 Page             Summer 2009
Salt Ponds Coalition
PO Box 875
Charlestown, RI 02813




                          Please Help Us Help the Ponds
     If you haven’t renewed your membership for 2009 yet, please use this
    form. If you have, please ask a friend or neighbor to become a member
          An	SPC	membership	for	                        With	your	membership,	                    Donations	are	tax	deduct-
          the	2009	season	helps	fund	                   you	will	receive	future	is-               ible	and	can	help	reduce	
          protection	of	the	ponds.			                   sues	of	the	Tidal	Page.                   the	tax	you	owe.
                                                                                                                                 Salt Ponds
                          Please	make	checks	payable	to	Salt	Ponds	Coalition.		Memberships	run	from	Janurary	through	December	   Coalition
Please	enroll	the	individual/family	at	right	at	     Name:
the	following	membership	level                                                                                                    P.O.	Box	875
                                                     Permanent Address                                                           Charlestown,	RI
     $40+ Standard 2009 Membership                                                                                                   02813
                                                     Town                                         State                 Zip       401-322-3068
     $75+ Select Level
                                                     Summer Address
     $250+ Steward Level                                                                                                             We
     $500+ Patron Level                              Town                                         State                 Zip
                                                                                                                                  appreciate
$          Donation to the
                                                     Email                                                                           your
Aukerman Scholarship Fund                            Phone                                                                        continued
                                                                                                                                   generous
Please	consider	a	gift	to	SPC.		Your	dona-                   Please	find	enclosed	my	gift	of	$_____________                        support!
tions	to	our	501(c)(3)	organization		are	tax	
deductible.                                                  I	would	like	to	sponsor	a	testing	station	for	$600


                                  Abby Aukerman Scholarship Fund
     Please help us fund this worthwhile scholarship, which helps support a deserving undergraduate student in marine studies at URI.
    The fund is down this year and we could sure use your help to ensure it is there for future marine scholars. If you would like to make
                                    a contribution to the scholarship fund, please use the form above.

				
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