Raising Awareness about Coastal Resiliency, Sea Level Rise in Newport

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Anne Street Pier. (CRC photo)

CRC has worked with Newport stakeholders on sea level rise and waterfront resilience for the past five years, and this work has provided a foundation for the City, and the state, to build on. It also has captured the attention of state lawmakers and others interested in the sustainablility of Rhode Island’s coastline. Check out recent developments in the Narragansett Bay Blog and at The Providence Journal.

Ghana University Officials to Visit URI As Part of $24 Million Sustainable Fisheries Project

Fishing canoes crowd a landing site in Dixcove in the western region of Ghana. (Credit: Ellen Harasimowicz)
Fishing canoes crowd a landing site in Dixcove in the western region of Ghana. (Credit: Ellen Harasimowicz)

A delegation from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana will visit the University of Rhode Island next week as part of a $24 million sustainable fisheries project led by the Coastal Resources Center (CRC) at URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography.

The Ghana delegation will meet with URI President David M. Dooley Jan. 27 to expand on a memorandum of understanding that the universities signed in May 2015.

The agreement includes opportunities for cooperative research as well as faculty and student exchanges in Ghana and at URI. The West African university has a longstanding partnership with URI through CRC-led coastal management and food security projects in Ghana. Currently, CRC is leading the implementation of the five-year, $24 million United States Agency for International Development Ghana Sustainable Fisheries Management Project. The USAID grant is the largest ever awarded to URI.

Two fisheries experts from URI’s coastal center, Brian Crawford, in-country project director, and Najih Lazar, senior fisheries advisor, have been living in Ghana for the past year to help lead the project. Its goal is to revitalize marine fisheries stocks through responsible fishing practices and improved governance and ultimately benefit the more than 100,000 women and men involved in the Ghana fishing industry.

As part of this project, CRC and URI are working to build the research, educational and outreach capacity of the University of Cape Coast in coastal and fisheries management.

“Collaboration with the University of Cape Coast is an important element of the project, as one of the critical objectives of it is to build the skills and knowledge of Ghanaian stakeholders so they can continue the vital work of sustaining their fisheries sector and coastal communities long after this URI-led project has ended,” said Donald Robadue, sustainable fisheries project manager at CRC.

Leaders from both universities will discuss several aspects of the collaboration, with particular emphasis on student and faculty exchanges. These include developing an undergraduate program for URI students in Ghana during J Term, identifying areas of joint research among faculty, exploring opportunities for professional development and examining other areas of potential cooperation in marine fisheries, aquaculture and coastal resources.

The University of Cape Coast delegation also will visit URI’s Narragansett Bay Campus to meet with Graduate School of Oceanography Dean Bruce Corliss and talk with CRC colleagues about the details of the ongoing collaboration.

CRC’s MSP Work Featured in Ocean Technology Magazine

ONTcover_012016An article in the January 2016 issue of Ocean News and Technology magazine (page 26) looks at the precedent-setting work of Rhode Island’s Ocean Special Area Management Plan (Ocean SAMP) and its role in setting the stage for Deepwater Wind and the state to develop the nation’s first offshore wind farm.

CRC’s Director of US Programs, Jen McCann, discusses the Ocean SAMP within the larger context of marine spatial planning. Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski goes on to credit the Ocean SAMP for helping enable his company’s wind farm project off Block Island to advance from approval on paper to action on the water

Beach SAMP Stakeholder Meeting is Feb. 4

The next stakeholder meeting of the R.I. Shoreline Change Special Area Management Plan (Beach SAMP) is Thursday, Feb.4, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Coastal Institute Auditorium, Narragansett Bay Campus. The meeting will serve to update the public on project activities.
Presentations include:

  1. The Beach SAMP document, Introduction chapter.
  2. Municipal outreach in Washington County – overview of worksessions completed for five towns.
  3. Shoreline erosion mapping update.
  4. STORMTOOLS update.
  5. Introduction to the Coastal Environmental Risk Index (CERI), a pilot project for 2016.

Pizza will be served at 5:30 p.m. RSVP to beachSAMP@etal.uri.edu.



Students Examine Impacts of Rising Seas, Storms on Matunuck

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Matunuck Beach after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 (CRC photo)

A project conducted by ocean engineering students at URI created a vivid and disconcerting picture of what sea level rise could do to homes along Rhode Island’s south coast in Matunuck. The students used the computer modeling program STORMTOOLS to identify the floor risks and damage potential to hundreds of homes. STORMTOOLS were created as part of the CRC-led Beach SAMP (Special Area Management Plan) project. You can read about the students’ work here.

New Book Reveals R.I.’s Shellfish Heritage

shellishbookcoverCRC partnered with URI’s Coastal Institute and Rhode Island Sea Grant to sponsor the newly published book,  “Rhode Island’s Shellfish Heritage: An Ecological History” by Sarah Schumann.

The book details the history of the state’s iconic shellfish and tells the stories of the people and communities who harvest, grow, sell and enjoy Rhode Island’s rich and delicious native catch. You can purchase the publication, which comes alive with historic and contemporary photographs, or read it online on the R.I. Sea Grant website.

Ghana Web Notes SFMP Activities

Recent activities of the SFMP  are being reported on Ghana Web, a premier Ghanaian news website. The article reports that the SFMP partner organization Development Action Association (DAA) presented fish processing equipment to the women who exhibited outstanding leadership in advocacy for responsible fishing and safe post-harvest fish handling practices.

McCann Nominated for Peter Benchley Ocean Awards

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, has nominated CRC U.S. Program Director Jennifer McCann for the 2016 Peter Benchley Ocean Awards.

These awards acknowledge outstanding achievement across many sectors of society leading to the protection of our oceans and coasts and the communities that depend on them. Awards are made across a broad range of ocean categories, including national stewardship, science, policy, media, solutions, exploration, youth and activism.

The awards’ website says the honers were “co-founded by Wendy Benchley and David Helvarg and named in honor of Peter Benchley, author of “Jaws” … and celebrate the life and legacy of a man who spent more than 40 years educating the public and expanding awareness of the importance of protecting sharks and ocean ecosystems.”

Winners will be announced Feb. 1.