SWIG Announces $1.7 million in funding for Rhode Island Grants

On October 6th, RAE joined Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman Seth Magaziner, and various administrators and state agencies to announce the 2023 awardees for the Southeast New England Program Watershed Implementation Grants (SWIG).

Senator Reed addresses crowd
Photo courtesy of the Office of U.S. Senator Jack Reed

The event, held in downtown Providence, RI, brought more than 50 people together to celebrate this year’s awardees. Attendees were also treated to a project tour where the City of Providence plans to improve water access and enhance green infrastructure along Providence Harbor.

SWIG, through our partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 1, awarded more than $1.7 million to five projects in Rhode Island this year to combat stormwater issues, improve water quality, and remove barriers for anadromous fish. All but one of these projects are also located in environmental justice areas and will serve underrepresented and traditionally marginalized communities in the region.

We’d like to extend our congratulations to this year’s awardees:

City of Woonsocket – Truman Drive Green Infrastructure Parkway Construction – $500,000

To conduct a road diet and transform an underutilized public road into a new, linear park providing a number of co-benefits to the City by removing 1.5 travel lanes and converting that unused paved surface into a linear, green infrastructure park, complete with native species plantings and human-scale lighting that complements the existing, adjacent Blackstone River Bikeway.

Audubon Society of Rhode Island – Stormwater Master Plan, Education and Outreach Planning in the Roger Williams Park Zoo – $197,348

This project will mitigate cyanobacteria blooms, promote education and outreach, and establish a comprehensive stormwater management approach for the Roger Williams Park Zoo. A Stormwater Master Plan will identify, prioritize and propose nutrient reduction strategies to reduce blooms in the RWP Zoo wetland, and the downstream ponds of RWP. Outreach and educational materials will be developed with zoo staff and used in youth programs and signage.

Town of Warren, RI – Jamiel’s Park Shoreline Restoration Project – $400,000

This project will complete the construction of a living shoreline and restoration of salt marsh along Belcher Cove of the Palmer River and conduct on-site capping and stabilization of contaminated soil and solid waste generated from the construction. This project will address challenges to the site and Belcher Cove that are being exacerbated by climate change and sea level rise that are causing destruction of the salt marsh and erosion of the edge of this landfill.

City of Providence, RI – Waterfront Access & Green Infrastructure at Public Street for the S. Providence Green Justice Zone – $481,080

The project will create meaningful waterfront access and green stormwater infrastructure in South Providence. S. Providence, a Justice40 neighborhood, is cut off from the Providence River by I-95 and the port. It has among the lowest incomes and highest childhood asthma rates in RI.

Rhode Island Chapter of Trout Unlimited – Removal of the Sweet Pond Dam to Restore Aquatic Organism Passage and Enhance Water Quality – $129,300

In partnership with Rhode Island Water Resources Board will remove the remnants of a failed dam within the Big River Management Area (BRMA) to restore fish passage to 1.5 miles of native brook trout habitat. The project will include barrier removal design, permitting, structure removal, and restoration plantings. Previously collected data has documented the thermal benefits from removal of the structure and the presence of brook trout. Additionally, the project’s thermal benefits will transition 1.5 miles downstream of the dam to be within preferred thermal temperatures for brook trout.

In addition to SWIG awards, EPA and our partners announced an additional $3 million in awards through technical assistance and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding. You can read EPA’s full press release here.

On November 1st, RAE will join members of the Massachusetts delegation, including Congressman Keating, in New Bedford, MA to announce the Massachusetts award winners. More details can be found by visiting www.snepgrants.org.

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