2013 Watershed Counts Report Released:
Download Posters (pdf) (8 MB)
Media Release (pdf)
Watershed Counts Year Three Evaluation Workshop
Date: Tuesday, May 7 from 1 - 3 PM
Location: Save the Bay, Board Room
Fresh Water Quality
Date: Wednesday, May 22 from 10 - Noon
Location: Audubon Society of Rhode Island, Smithfield
Marine Water Quality
Date: Friday, May 24 from 10 - Noon
Location: Narragansett Bay Commission Board Room
Watershed Counts is a broad coalition of agencies and organizations that have committed to work together to examine and report regularly on the condition of the land and water resources of the Narragansett Bay Watershed Region. The coalition's first report (2011) featured information on five key indicators (climate change, impervious cover, beach closures, fresh water flow and invasive species). In 2012, indicators were added for marine water quality, freshwater quality, open space and resource economics. These indicators will be used to describe the condition of the watershed region and then to communicate this information to the public and decision makers in order to inform and guide future management and development of the watershed. The indicators consider the region's interwoven economic and environmental assets.
2012 Watershed Counts Report (Adobe Acrobat format) on the status of the Narragansett Bay Watershed. The report, presented on Tuesday, April 24 at 2:00pm at the RI State House, emphasizes the link between a healthy environment and a thriving economy. Rhode Island’s beaches, shoreline, historic sites, working farms, and parks provide the foundation for the travel and tourism industry which is the state’s fourth largest industry, ultimately generating more than $2.31 billion for the state’s economy. The 2012 Watershed Counts report describes the condition of marine water and freshwater quality; open space conservation and preservation; the economic benefits of watershed protection; and invasive species. Media Release (PDF). 2012 posters (PDF). For photographs of the unveiling of the report on April 24, 2012, see the 2012 Annual report page. The 2011 Annual Report and videos of the unveiling of the report are available on the 2011 Annual Report page.
On May 8, 2012 an op-ed in the Newport Daily News described watershed count's conclusions: “The Environment and Economy are Connected” by Chip Young.
Impervious cover is the amount of land cover in roads, buildings and parking lots in a watershed and can seriously impact biotic integrity in associated streams.
Licensed Narragansett Bay beaches are closed by the Department of Health when bacterial (Enterococci) levels exceed state standards.
Freshwater from rivers and lakes and groundwater reserves supplies drinking water to residents and businesses in the Narragansett Bay watershed. Some rivers and streams are stressed during dry summer months when stream flow is naturally low, and demand for residential and agricultural irrigation water is high.
When plants or animals are released into areas outside their native range, without their natural predators, they can grow and reproduce out of control, destabilizing the environment and harming native species and human activities. They become "invasive species."
State environmental agencies (RIDEM, MADEP, CTDEP) monitor and evaluate water quality on a regular basis. Watershed Counts uses these assessments to report on the suitability of freshwaters as fish and wildlife habitat, a place to swim and boat, and whether it is safe to eat fish that live in the water.
A healthy Narragansett Bay ecosystem supports valuable fisheries and a wide variety of other marine life. Marine water quality is a complex issue that is measured in a variety of ways. In 2012, Watershed Counts focused on dissolved oxygen (DO).
Climate change is already happening in the Narragansett Bay region and will intensify in the years to come.
Investments in clean water infrastructure improve watershed quality, which is of fundamental importance to public health, quality of life and environmental economic stability for the citizenry of the region.
Protected open space lands provide many benefits including protecting water quality, flood mitigation, protecting working farms and recreation areas.