Dredging and Seeds Help Restore Marsh Ecology

The Takeaway: Restoration project uses dredged sand to deepen channel and build up marsh banks being lost to sea level rise.

As sea levels rise, Ninigret Pond’s salt marshes are drowning, converting to mud flats or open water. The sand swept in by shoreline currents is covering eelgrass beds, leaving communities without a natural buffer against storms and hindering navigation for area boaters. To rectify these issues, sediment is being dredged from a nearby channel and used to elevate areas adjacent to the salt marsh.

The newly elevated area will be covered with vegetation within a few years, thanks to the marsh grass seed being planted as part of this project. The deeper channel will improve navigation.

The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council is coordinating this effort with various partners, including the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The information learned through this project will be used to inform future coastal wetland monitoring and restoration strategies.

The U.S. Department of the Interior provided funding. The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council is part of the National Coastal Zone Management Program. (2017)

More Information: Ninigret Pond Restoration

Partners: Fuss & O’Neill, JF Brennan Company, Inc., Narragansett Bay Reserve, New England Wildflower Society, NOAA Office for Coastal Management, Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife, Salt Ponds Coalition, Save the Bay, Town of Charlestown, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service