State of Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
University of Rhode Island Watershed Watch
Rhode Island Airport Corporation
Natural Resource Conservation Service
Friends of Warwick Ponds Accomplishments 2017
October of 2015 we started a neighborhood environmental group called (FOWPS) Friends of Warwick Ponds. The group was organized due to a Cyanobacteria Algae Bloom in August 2015 that required the (RIDOH) Rhode Island Department of Health to issue a health alert to avoid all contact with the water in Warwick Pond. The name Ponds was selected because the positive results gained from our efforts would affect all water bodies in Warwick. The Algae Bloom has re-occurred again in August 2016, and in August 2017. There is also an issue of rising water in the pond.
October of 2017 we celebrate our two year anniversary. Below is the list of our accomplishments over that time period.
January 2017, FOWPS met with Mayor Avedisian, and his staff. The meeting centered on initiatives identified in the Consent Agreement between (RIDEM) Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, and The City of Warwick. Some issues covered were fertilization at Winslow Fields, Street Sweeping Schedule, and the Buckeye Brook Waterway Study. Friends of Warwick Ponds deemed these issues as a top priority for the city.
January 2017, FOWPS volunteers continue to monitor the Staff Gauge located on the bridge at Lake Shore Dr. The readings are collected weekly, and will be used to evaluate how Warwick Pond Water Levels react to weather conditions such as precipitation, wind, and temperature. We estimate that in the past few years the water level has risen as much as 18”.
January 2017, FOWPS met with (NRCS) Natural Resource Conservation Service to discuss what if any help they could offer us. The discussions centered on the Cynobacteria Algae Bloom, and the flooding issues. They offered little help with the flooding issue and basically agreed it was a city responsibility. The Algae Bloom situation was a bit more encouraging. When the upstream sample results are tabulated in Feb 2018, and if there is evidence of nutrients coming from Confreda Farm, then they can work with them to limit that situation.
March 2017, Friends of Warwick Ponds set up a tour of the (WSA) Warwick Sewer Authority. FOWPS met WSA employees, toured the facility, and gained a valuable understanding of how our waste is handled. Everything on the tour was excellent except the smell.
May 2017, Volunteers from FOWPS joined the (URI) University of Rhode Island Watershed Watch Program and started water quality sampling upstream of Warwick Pond. The locations are off Loveday St. at tributaries from Spring Green Pond and Confreda Farms. The purpose is to identify nutrients coming into Warwick Pond from those locations.
May 2017, In Oct of 2016 FOWPS notified RIDEM of a study completed by URI Professor Rainer Lohmann. This study found traces of a highly toxic material, Perfluorinated Compound. The samples were taken from Mill Cove, and the bay. The material is found in fire fighting apparatus. So our suspicion was that it came from RIAC, due to testing their apparatus every month and releasing the toxic foam into the ground. May 2017, after being notified RIAC has switched to purchasing a non-toxic foam, but would like to use up the two year inventory supply they have on hand. FOWPS position is they can use it if they contain the material, collect the material, and dispose of the material offsite. DEM is still discussing the issue with (RIAC) Rhode Island Airport Corporation.
June 2017, as part of our environmental outreach program, FOWPS working with the city of Warwick (DPW) Department of Public Works, and distributed approx 500 door hangers to neighborhood homes. They contained important environmental information for residents on being good stewards of water quality, and an invitation to join FOWPS.
June 2017, FOWPS in collaboration with the City of Warwick attached an environmental message with the Water/Sewer Bill. The program was to be continued each quarter.
July 2017, (STB)) Save The Bay representatives attended FOWPS July meeting to discuss collaborative projects that would benefit both organizations. One possibility was clean-up initiatives around water bodies. FOWPS volunteers joined with STB volunteers for clean-ups at Oakland Beach and Conimicut Point in Aug 2017.
July 2017 FOWPS planned and implemented a Warwick Pond Palooza. Pontoon Boats, Speed Boats, Canoes, and kayaks all participated. We powered around Warwick Pond and attended a bring your own picnic hosted at one of our members home.
September 2017, we met with the RIDEM. The discussions centered on the renewal of RIAC’S (RIPDES) Rhode Island Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permit, The Buckeye Brook Waterway Study, and (MS4) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System public comment period requirements for the city. It was basically a very informative question and answer meeting.
September 2017, The RIPDES Permit issued to RIAC in 2012 expired. FOWPS has a list of modification that we would like to see added. RIDEM has agreed to hold a workshop in Warwick prior to the official public comment period. We believe this will give us a better understanding of the process so we can make additional relevant recommendations.
September 2017, a proposal to start a major construction project at 1160 Post Road in Warwick was brought before the Warwick Planning Board. The project was to build a 600 unit storage facility which would be 45 ft from Sand Pond. FOWPS joined with a large group of Sand
Pond residents to voice our objection to the plan. After approx 5 hrs of testimony, the board voted unanimously to reject the proposal. Great win for Sand Pond, and water quality.
Oct 2017, FOWPS in collaboration with the RITree Council joined home owners on Warwick Pond to plant trees. The short term project was designed to replace trees that had been lost due to recent weather events. In the coming months we will work on a long term project with the Mayor, City Council, Tree Warden, and the RITree Council on a program that will make trees available to all Warwick Residents at no cost to them. This project is vital to replacing trees lost due to weather, and airport expansion.
We believe that our second year has been very successful, and look forward to an even better year to come. We welcome more members to join us, and to participate in our many projects. If interested e-mail Philip D’Ercole email@example.com