The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council (WRWC), a current proud and long-time member of the Green Infrastructure Coalition (GIC) has been able to accomplish many demonstration projects using nature-based stormwater solutions in 2018 thanks to the support and partnership of the GIC. There is also a great deal more in store for 2019. Every project described below has our GIC statewide signage to help people understand the benefits of these projects.
Here are some highlights of the WRWC’s 2018 stormwater work:
  • Signed a contract to partner with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Stormwater Office to work together to address stormwater in the watershed using green infrastructure (GI). First joint project coming up in 2019 – Citizens Bank Parking Lot walkway with GI in Olneyville Square (see more below!).
  • Riverside Park Green Infrastructure Showcase: Although the Riverside Park, Providence GI showcase was completed in 2017, WRWC is still giving tours. The last one was in July for Olneyville Health Equity Zone members.
  • Olneyville Community Engagement on Climate Change: During the summer, WRWC talked to Olneyville residents about climate change and being prepared, especially for the expected flooding in the neighborhood. We engaged with 673 residents at 5 summer events, signed up 114 residents who were interested in learning more and hosted two August workshops attended by 17 residents. For many, these were first conversations with many folks who were previously unaware of the issues.
  • WRWC River Rangers installed green roofs on their tool Storage Containers at Riverside Park. This will keep them cooler in the summer and will treat stormwater (and look really cool!).
  • “Stream-Firendly” Homeowner Retrofit Demonstration, Elmhurst Neighborhood of Providence: Installed Stormwater Retrofits at 10 homes - 17 practices were installed including downspout redirects into existing yard, rain barrels, rain boxes and rain gardens. We also replaced some driveway and walkway areas with permeable pavers. 12 people joined in on a tour of the neighborhood installations.
Great projects coming up in 2019:
  • Citizens Bank Parking Lot Stormwater Retrofit – Olneyville Square: We’ll be taking up pavement and adding a walkway with swales and a bioretention area collecting and treating most of the stormwater from the parking lot that now goes directly into the Woonasquatucket River untreated.
  • San Souci Bikeway Installation – Neighbor of Citizen Project: This new bikeway will connect the Broadway bike lanes through Olneyville Square to the Woonasquatucket Greenway. It will also connect to the Citizens Bank walkway. It includes a planted swale to capture stormwater runoff from San Souci Street and the new bikeway.
  • Manton Avenue Tree Filters – Neighbor of Above Projects: We will capture as much stormwater as we can from Manton Avenue using trees to take up and treat stormwater. The tree filters will replace the regular catch basins on Manton Avenue that dump stormwater directly into the Woonasquatucket River untreated.
  • Pleasant Valley Tree Filters & Scuppers: Similar to the Manton Avenue project above, this one is along Pleasant Valley Stream in the Elmhurst Neighborhood of Providence, where we retrofitted homes to make them “Stream-Friendly”. These tree filters will treat several acres of stormwater runoff that would otherwise dump directly into Pleasant Valley Stream, a feeder to the Woonasquatucket River.
  • Downtown Woonasquatucket Greenway with Green Infrastructure: From Eagle Square to Providence Place, a new separated path will allow bikes and pedestrians to enjoy beautiful views of the Woonasquatucket along Promenade Street and Kinsley Avenue. This will be no ordinary bikeway. There will also be many GI features to capture runoff from the streets and treat it before it enters the river. There will be placemaking features such as canoe launches, pocket parks, places for art and much more. We begin design in 2019. Construction will hopefully be complete in 2022.
Please contact Alicia Lehrer ( to learn more about the WRWC’s past and upcoming green infrastructure programs.
Nature At Work is a newsletter designed and distributed by the Rhode Island Green Infrastructure Coalition to bring more green space news to our cities and encourage the use of nature to clean, protect, and cool our neighborhoods. Because of climate change, we are seeing increased heat impacts in our city, especially where there are fewer trees, as well as issues with flooding and polluted runoff in our neighborhoods.

The Green Infrastructure Coalition is a collaborative of more than 40 non-profit organizations, businesses, and government agencies focused on using nature to reduce stormwater pollution. We develop projects to demonstrate the powerful role nature can play to create healthier urban environments. We promote policies to create sustainable funding for stormwater management and green infrastructure solutions. And we connect a wide range of partners to share lessons learned in the Providence Metro area and Aquidneck Island.

RI-GIC Website