Narragansett Bay Initiative

A boat sails northward in Narragansett Bay.

The purpose of the Narragansett Bay Initiative is to improve the wise management of a resilient and healthy Narragansett Bay. The Initiative has three objectives: to 1) Establish a diverse and informed constituency for the Bay; 2) Create regulatory tools and strategies to support the vision of a resilient and healthy Bay; and 3) Bolster the integration and synergies with Rhode Island’s blue, or marine-based, economy.

The project will provide ample opportunities for stakeholders, students and the public to engage in science-based learning activities. For example, to establish a Bay constituency, a social media activity – “Voices of Narragansett Bay” – is capturing people’s perspectives on Bay resiliency. Also, an Educational Series, geared to Bay community members, and a University of Rhode Island Masters of Environmental Science (MESM) Seminar program for graduate students are ensuring dialogue takes place on further understanding and resolving Bay social, economic and environmental issues.

Through the Initiative, the URI Coastal Resources Center (CRC) is facilitating the Narragansett Bay Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) for the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC). The SAMP process is a public opportunity to gather, synthesize and share out Bay science for the purpose of developing practical state policy to guide Rhode Island’s use and management of Bay resources. As part of this work, CRC is helping the state create a collective research agenda so public, privates sector and community partners can take part in identifying issues that need further study and resolution.

Finally, the Initiative is providing Rhode Island with a forum for examining its blue economy and identifying ways to build it. An outreach and education component is enabling the public to experience elements of this economy, from shipyards to ocean technology firms, up close, while a research element is taking stock of lessons learned from other blue economies globally to inform Rhode Island’s own.

The Narragansett Bay Initiative is funded by the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, and Rhode Island Sea Grant.

The city of Providence lies at the head of Narragansett Bay and contributes significantly to the RI blue economy