Thursday, November 3, 2016

Improvement project underway at Sapowet Point

By Wenley Ferguson, Director of Habitat Restoration & Topher Hamblett, Director of Advocacy

Newly created inland parking area to replace
parking area that is threatened by erosion.
After more than a decade in the making, we’re happy to announce that a big improvement project is under way at the Sapowet Marsh Wildlife Management Area in Tiverton. Save The Bay is excited to partner with the R.I. Department of Environmental Management on the coastal adaptation project, which will restore the condition of the beach and salt marsh while also creating a coastal buffer that will provide area for both the beach and salt marsh to migrate inland as sea level rises. Parking will be moved off the beach and closer to the road, enhancing the public's access to the beach and creating more area for people to recreate along the shoreline. 

As part of this coastal adaptation project, the access from Sapowet Point is being redesigned allowing four acres of beach, dune and coastal land to be revegetated. Additionally, nine acres of coastal grassland has been planted in a field adjacent to the beach. This grassland will be able to tolerate coastal flooding and will provide an area where the marsh could colonize as sea level rises. Other improvements include creating a parking area just inland of the beach that will not be threatened by flooding.

Save The Bay will be coordinating the planting along the beach to reestablish a small dune and a buffer of native shrubs in partnership with DEM and the Tiverton Conservation Commission in the spring of 2017. Email July Lewis, Save The Bay’s Volunteer Coordinator, if you are interested in volunteering.

Beach area that will be restored with
plantings in the spring of 2017
Partners in the Sapowet effort include Save The Bay, Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the Tiverton Conservation Commission. Funding for the $40,719 project includes $30,759 from CRMC’s Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration Trust Fund and $9,960 from the USFWS's Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration program.