in the news:

Friends of Warwick Ponds has sponsored a 6 and under softball team and here is the schedule:

Game Team 1 Team 2 Location Date Time  
  AGS (1) AGS (2) Winslow 2 Sat Sep 9, 2017 11:00 AM Details
  AGS (2) AGS (1) Winslow 2 Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:00 PM Details
  AGS (1) AGS (2) Winslow 4 Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:00 AM Details
  AGS (2) AGS (1) Winslow 5 Sat Oct 7, 2017 8:00 AM Details
  AGS (1) AGS (2) Winslow 5 Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:00 PM Details
  AGS (2) AGS (1) Winslow 5 Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:00 PM Details

ALGAE BLOOM FOR THE 3RD CONSECUTIVE YEAR - http://www.ri.gov/press/view/31213

Our next Friends of Warwick Ponds meeting will be on Thursday October 5th @ 6 PM in the small meeting room at the Warwick Public Library. 

 

FRIENDS of WARWICK PONDS Sept 7, 2017 MEETING SUMMARY 1

 

 

Called meeting to order at 6:05 PM         

The environmental phrase of the month is Greenhouse gases.  Atmospheric gases such as

Carbon dioxide, methane, clolorofluorocarbons, nitrous oxide, ozone, and water vapor that

Slow the passage of re-radiated heat through the Earths atmosphere.  

  1. Discuss old business.

- Should we invite quests to our meetings: BBC, RIAC, and DEM ETC?  We will invite quests as required. Discussed attendance issues when there are organizations presenting.      

-How will the DPW communicate with the public on the results of the action items from the

Consent Agreement between the city, and DEM.  The progress report will be posted on the

Cities web site. www.warwick .gov, click government, public works, RIDEM Consent Decree.

Last updated Aug 2017. See attached.    

-How do we attract more supporters?  Investigate table at library and Farmers Markets. Modify sign-up form. Project Team Rick, Phil, need 1 more volunteer.

-Invite newly elected officials to our 2017 meeting. Will schedule in 2017 as required. We will start with a project to introduce a Tree planting program for Warwick?

- Additional sampling upstream of Warwick Pond. First samples started 5/11.  URI contacted when we can receive early results for nutrients. We will have results in Dec 2017 or Jan 2018 BBC has started additional sampling at additional locations that will be strategic for nutrient identification.   

 -we have started regular scheduled meetings with the DPW. Next meeting 8/9/17. DPW has cancelled July, Aug, and Sept meeting. They don’t believe our agenda warrants a meeting. Our belief is that we can expand our agenda to include Consent Agreement Actions.   

          -Volunteer opportunity, evaluate staff gauge data. Obtain other pertinent data. Disseminate 

To public. Chart for 2nd quarter 2017 results and from July 2016 to June 2017. Looks like the water is about 3” higher than last year.                  

Sen.McCaffrey attended our May meeting. The FOWPS members present requested the Senator’s assistance to schedule a meeting with FOWPS and DEM. The Senator agreed to work on scheduling the DEM meeting. Meeting scheduled for Sept 8th at 1:30 PM.

Page 1                                                                                   9/11/17

FRIENDS of WARWICK PONDS Sept 7, 2017 MEETING SUMMARY 2

  1. Discuss old business (continued)

-213 visitors over last 30 days in Web Site activity.

       -Face book reached 277 people down 25 %

-Check with colleges if any interest in science student project.  We will revisit this action each year. Doctor Steven Shivers will be using Warwick Pond as part of a Cynobacteria Algae Bloom Science Project.  Project results will be presented to FOWPS when complete in Feb 2018.  See attached. 

-What can FOWPS put in place to welcome new home owners to the watershed?  The FOWPS member closest to the new neighbor will welcome them and introduce FOWPS.

-Discuss requesting change for 2018 NS4 permit reporting. Viewing hrs very restrictive, all residents cannot view. Document should either be online or other location. Resent policy mod request in May 2017. Follow-up in Aug with new DPW Director. No change to policy this year per Mayor. We will discuss this issue at our DEM meeting Sept 8th. See attached 

-Discuss if there is an interest in meeting with Tree Warden?  Meet with new Tree Warden when identified. Warwick has lost thousands of trees due to RIAC expansion and the weather. FOI sent 8/22. Response from Mayor is the position remains vacant. See attached

-Big picture of Nicks Science Project. Looks like there could be a correlation between a byproduct of

Deicing fluid (Glycol) as food for Cynobacteria Algae.  We will request no deicing fluid enters the water? Will add to RIPDES permit modification requests. Nick wins National Science Award. Good luck in Sweden, and we are proud of you. See attached.

-The Buckeye Brook Waterway Study is moving at a snail’s pace. We have requested that FOWPS be involved in discussions and decisions pertaining to water quality issues of Warwick Pond. EA Engineering has completed field work. Will have results in 2 weeks. Then will discuss plan to present to DEM. No update. Will discuss at DEM meeting on Sept 8th.

-What is our answer to DEM response on RIAC use of Fire Fighting Foams? Our response will be

         that starting immediately, all discharging of foam will be with the new non toxic material. See

         attached. Will discuss at DEM meeting Sept 8th.

        -Volunteer for Save The Bay cleanup August 24 at Oakland Beach. Wear FOWPS logo clothing to

Promote organization and obtain new members. Thank you, Ruth, Rick and Phil. See attached

        -Schedule meet and greet with new RIAC CEO. New CEO is still too busy to meet with us. Will

        Schedule meeting with his designated representative.  

2. Six subcommittee status reports.

 -See meeting minutes attached

3. New business:

-Do we want to pursue the long term project for tree planting in Warwick? Yes.

-Any interest in FOWPS Caroling for Water Quality?  Discuss idea at Sept meeting. Discuss further

At Oct meeting.

          Page 2                                                                                         9/11/2017

Group looks to ensure clean city waters

 
FRIENDS OF WARWICK PONDS: After a blue-green algae took over Warwick Pond this summer, Friends of Warwick Ponds was established to combat pollution by bringing community, municipal, state and RIAC leaders together to work on environmental issues facing Warwick’s waterways.Richard Corrente, Chet Foster, Marybeth DeNuccio, Bill DeNuccio, and Philip D’Ercole are all action members of the group who attended the press conference.

Posted

Following a summer when the waters of Warwick Pond turned green, those living on the pond and concerned citizens have come together to take action to protect city water resources.

In August, the Department of Health (HEALTH) and the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) issued an advisory, urging residents to avoid contact with Warwick Pond water due to cyanobacteria. Better known as blue-green algae, cyanobacteria can produce toxins, although after testing by both departments no toxins were found in Warwick Pond.

The advisory was lifted Nov. 1, but that hasn’t stopped resident concerns. The Friends of Warwick Ponds, established in the aftermath of the bloom, aims to bring together community, state, municipal and Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) leaders to combat issues of pollution not only in Warwick Pond, but all water resources throughout the city.

The self proclaimed “action group” has 24 “action members” with an estimated 200 supporters on an outgoing email list.

Philip D’Ercole, who has lived on the pond for 13 years and was one of the loudest voices at public meetings concerning Warwick Pond, acts as facilitator of the group, which has no singular authoritative power. The group was created by a resolution introduced by Councilwoman Camille Vella-Wilkinson and Councilman Joseph Solomon.

Although the group has met four times since November, their subcommittees, which work on singular projects, such as meetings with various groups, and specific pollution initiatives, meet more frequently and report back to the whole group.

After the closing of the pond, there was initial backlash from the community blaming RIAC construction projects for increased nutrients that led to the bloom, and subsequent inquiry to residents’ own part in the pollution.

D’Ercole said Friends of Warwick Ponds is no longer trying to play the “blame game,” but rather wants to “take a positive outlook to creating solutions by bringing people together to see change.”

Richard Corrente, who is a Democratic candidate for mayor, is also part of the group. He is concerned with the perception that Warwick waters are polluted and that people considering moving into the city may opt out, while residents may think of leaving. He said he talked with an unnamed appraiser who told him property values surrounding the pond could decrease by 20 percent with polluted waters and increase by the same amount for “pristine waters.”

In the coming year, Friends of Warwick Ponds wants to ensure that when summer comes, even if the water in Warwick Pond isn’t yet pristine, it is at least safe for use all season long.

“What we have here is a group with passion and a desire to see real change,” D’Ercole said. “This is actually right in our backyard. This affects our daily lives. It’s a safety and health concern for us all.”

Marybeth and Bill DeNuccio, as well as Chet Foster, all “action” members of Friends of Warwick Ponds, noted that although the group’s initial focus is on cleaning their own pond, they have city and statewide ambitions.

Bill DeNuccio, who has lived on the pond for more than 30 years with his parents and then bought the same property 18 years ago, said he has never seen the water so unclear. Not only has the water quality been affected, but he argues the wildlife has drastically changed in just the last two years.

“This is the biggest inland body of water in Warwick. If it can be destroyed like this, what about the others? It won’t take as much to see their destruction,” he said. “I want to see solutions. No more arguing, just people doing the right thing.”

His wife, Marybeth, said because all of these bodies of water are connected, flow into each other and then out into the bay, the pollution of Warwick Pond is a statewide concern.

“This is a widespread issue and the more agencies we can get involved, the more progress we will see.”

The group’s dedication to all of Warwick’s waterways is evident in their name, Foster pointed out. Rather than just friends of Warwick pond, the group made the distinction of Warwick Ponds.

He said, “We want this information and resources available to all. We are looking beyond just our own problem, but ones we could be seeing in the future. We have a willingness to share this information.”

D’Ercole warned that the group as well as the agencies they partner with need to establish a sustainable plan of action, or else the pond could be “right back” to the conditions seen this summer a few years down the road.

Already the group has met with Mayor Scott Avedisian and plans to submit a budgetary letter requesting the city to allocate $150,000 to the group for a “thorough cleanup” of Warwick Pond, while also requesting that budget see similar increases for environmental initiatives citywide.

Avedisian said the group has a “good perspective” of everything they need to do to bring Warwick Pond back to health, but warned Friends of Warwick Ponds that this will be a long process.

The city already meets with DEM regularly, and the action group plans to sit down with the department early in February.

“When we look at the budget we can see if any of their line items can be funded,” Avedisian said. “I think we need to dovetail the city’s efforts with theirs to see what they want accomplished in the next year.”

Friends of Warwick Ponds also met with Kelly Fredericks, RIAC CEO and president, but not long after the meeting he announced he would be leaving the position.

“We aren’t going to back away from this, we won’t stop and that’s what they aren’t used to,” D’Ercole said. “These agencies are supposed to protect not just the environment, but our health and safety, too. I don’t feel protected. We are going to stay focused like a laser with this and make sure we are heard.”

Pond concerns persist

Advisory lifted, waters look cleaner, but group anxious to avert algae bloom next year

Posted

Although the health advisory has been lifted for Warwick Pond, residents continue to be concerned for the well-being of the pond.

In August, the Department of Environmental Management and the Department of Health issued the advisory after the presence of blue-green algae blooms, or cyanobacteria was detected.

The bloom can produce harmful toxins, and although no toxins were found in Warwick Pond, residents were urged to avoid contact and ingestion of the water.

The advisory led to several public meetings to discuss the cause of the bloom and what resident could do to prevent a similar event happening next year.

One resident, Philip D’ercole, held his own meeting to express his own concerns that the increased nutrient levels leading to the algae blooms were caused by construction by the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC).

Elizabeth Scott, Deputy Chief of DEM’S Office of Water Resources, reassured in an email that all RIAC’s “RI Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit” has regulations put in place to protect receiving waters, Warwick Pond included. DEM monitors the airport’s compliance to these regulations.

In an email D’ercole agreed that the pond water has improved visually, but “believe[s] the pollution issues still remain.” He worries that without action from all parties the algae blooms will become a yearly occurrence, especially because pollution is “still being discharged into the water from many sources.”

An outcome of the bloom has been the creation of the Warwick Pond Association, which aims to bring residents and officials together to seek solutions to reduce pollutants and sources of excess nutrients. The association is having its first meeting tonight at the Warwick Public Library beginning at 6, but is not open to the public.

Currently, there are 20 volunteers who will represent the residents of the pond.

“These members will have the knowledge, the passion, the dedication, that will project to all, from now on it will no longer be business as usual,” D’ercole said. “The movement is coming.”

An additional concern of his, as well as fellow resident Madeline White, is RIAC’s hydroseeding initiatives along the culvert near Lakeshore Drive, which feeds into Warwick Pond.

White called the Beacon a few weeks ago to express her worries about the seeding.

“I’ve lived along the pond for 60 years. It’s heartbreaking what’s happened to Warwick pond,” White said. “It just seems to me that our concerns about the health of our pond and the whole ecosystem aren’t being listened to.”

She argued that the main concern with the algae blooms is the introduction of excess nutrients and that the hydroseeding would only worsen the issue.

White said that even if DEM and other agencies are watching over RIAC’s projects, and the airport is complying, the regulations themselves are too lenient.

D’ercole said, “The hydro seeding continues in areas that abut tributaries to Warwick Pond. When that happens it gives the residents an impression that there is very little concern by the organizations involved, DEM, RIAC, about the water quality of the pond.”

Rebecca Bromberg Pazienza, marketing and communications relations for RIAC, explained that the airport is hydroseeding because their permits with DEM won’t allow for any exposed soil in fear or erosion.

The seeding being used is a seed, water and fiber mulch mixture that should not create any significant additional nutrients and therefore minimal effect on the water quality. The fiber mulch has a green colored tactifier to help the seed stick and for workers to know where it has been applied according to Bromberg Pazienza.

Scott of DEM said, “There is some amount of fertilizer contained in hydroseed to promote the initial growth of grass; we don’t expect that there would be a significant release nor that this would be an ongoing source. Hydroseeding is widely used but there are other techniques available to re-establish vegetation.”

“You call all these agencies for help, you call DEM then you find out that don’t have the power to do anything. It is just mind boggling,” White said. “I don’t understand how we have gotten to this point when we are supposed to have all the agencies fighting to protect the environment.”

Bromberg Pazienza said that RIAC has a “great working relationship” with the URI Watershed and the Buckeye Brook Coalition, but because they are permitted under DEM they “take their lead” from them.

Scott said, “We have been providing data and technical information to the city and others in response to concerns and will continue to do so including work with the newly formed pond association.”

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