2013-04-04 / News

Local green group names coastal places worth protecting

The U.S. Senate recently voted to fully fund the $900 million Land and Water Conservation Fund. The day prior to the floor vote, Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian and state Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit spoke at Conimicut Point Park and urged the Senate keep the conservation fund status quo. Also on hand were representatives of Environmental Rhode Island. The organization released its list of 10 coastal places in the state worth protecting. Two of the chosen spots are located in Jamestown.

The list reads:

1. The Block Island National Wildlife Refuge is among the most important stopover points for migratory birds on the Atlantic Coast, with over 250 species of birds passing through. The refuge is also home to several endangered species, such as the endangered American burying beetle.

2. Accessible by ferry, Prudence Island is the third largest island in Narragansett Bay, but home to just over 200 residents. The island has its own zip code and is a mix of private and public land, with beaches, coves and views up and down Narragansett Bay.

3. With panoramic views of Narragansett Bay, Beavertail State Park is known by many as the best place to watch the sunset over the water in Rhode Island. The park is also home to the third oldest lighthouse in North America.

4. Also known as Pettaquamscutt Cove, the John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge in Narragansett is a critical habitat for the largest population of black ducks in Rhode Island.

5. The only pond near Rhode Island’s coast that does not have a developed shoreline is South Kingstown’s Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge. It is home to diverse vegetation including barrier beaches, red maple swamps, grass fields, forests and tall shrublands. In addition, it is home to nearly 300 bird species.

6. Fort Wetherill is a destination for activities such as scuba diving, fishing, hiking and cliff jumping, in addition to offering beautiful views of Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay as well as underground tunnels to explore. Scenes from the Wes Anderson film “Moonrise Kingdom” were filmed here.

7. Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Middletown is a popular destination for both saltwater fishing and bird watching. It is also home to the second largest population of harlequin ducks on the East Coast.

8. Surrounded on three sides by Narragansett Bay, Warwick’s Conimicut Point offers excellent views as well as opportunities to swim, fish and relax. The park is also home to a historic lighthouse.

9. Fort Adams in Newport is the largest coastal fort in the United States, perhaps best known as the location of the world famous Newport Folk Festival and Newport Jazz Festival.

10. An old airfield from World War II, the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge in Charlestown has been restored to its natural habitat with diverse vegetation and wildlife. It is also home to the Frosty Drew Observatory.

The conservation fund was established in 1964 to subsidize the protection of national natural treasures like parks, forestland and wildlife areas. The budget cap of $900 million has only bet met twice in the program’s history.

The program is federally funded based on project demands from communities as well as input from U.S. land management agencies. President Barack Obama can also make recommendations to Congress regarding funding.

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