7 Rhode Island Organizations to Receive SNEP Grants to Protect and Restore the Environment

The Green Infrastructure Coalition’s (GIC) work to manage stormwater pollution with green, nature based solutions is getting noticed and supported! GIC member organizations received a big boost this fall with grants from EPA Region 1’s Southeast New England Coastal Watershed Restoration Program (SNEP).
Brian Kuchar from Horsley Witten Group, Inc. describes how the green infrastructure system works in the Japanese Garden at Roger Williams Park.
The supported projects include installing natural infrastructure and best practices in urban, residential and agricultural settings, workforce development, and an innovation center to share learning and test new techniques. Additionally, a new expert technical assistance network will help municipalities get the support they need to implement cost effective stormwater management strategies. Together, these projects will significantly advance the GIC’s mission to build community support for and institutionalize nature-based strategies to promote clean water and healthier neighborhoods.

EP Adefines the SNEP region as coastal areas in Massachusetts and Rhode Island including Cape Cod, Narragansett Bay and Buzzards Bay. The SNEP program involves government and non-government organizations all of whom are currently working collaboratively and innovatively to maintain and improve quality and habitat conditions within these coastal watersheds. According to SNEP, the program works to “foster collaboration among regional partners across southeast New England’s coastal watersheds to protect and restore water quality, ecological health and diverse habitats by sharing knowledge and resources, promoting innovative approaches, and leveraging economic and environmental investments to meet the needs of current and future generations.”
Restore America’s Estuaries collaborates with EPA Region 1 on the SNEP Watershed Grants program. The grant program builds and supports partnerships that tackle the region’s most pressing environmental issues, such as nutrient pollution and coastal habitat loss. In October, Senator Jack Reed and Restore America’s Estuaries announced $2.3 million in grants for coastal conservation and restoration including the following Rhode Island investments, focused almost exclusively on green stormwater projects.

2019 Recipients Include:

1. Audubon Society of RI | Providence Stormwater Innovation Center | $177,534
A partnership between ASRI, City of Providence, The Nature Conservancy, and the RI Green Infrastructure Coalition to create a regional center for stormwater innovation at Roger Williams Park in Providence. The Center will develop technology, undertake research, and provide training to municipalities and others to foster better stormwater management throughout the SNEP region.

2. City of Cranston | Green Infrastructure at Spectacle Pond | $187,500
Planning, implementation and outreach to help restore clean water to Spectacle Pond, Roger Williams Park, and the Pawtuxet River system. Partner: Save The Bay. 

3. Groundwork RI | Green Infrastructure Training & Employment | $198,891
Install stormwater improvements in Providence while providing job training for urban youth. Partners: City of Providence and other non-profit organizations.

4. City of Newport | Non-Structural Stormwater Approaches | $108,750
An innovative approach to reducing urban stormwater by providing incentives to private property owners. Partner: Aquidneck Island Planning Commission.

5. Northern Rhode Island Conservation District | Healthy Farm, Healthy Watershed | $113,976
Establish a manure management program for small farmers in the Scituate Reservoir watershed, reducing pollution to Providence’s principal source of drinking water. Partners include the Providence Water Supply Board and University of Rhode Island.

6. Town of Warren | Right-of-Way Restoration | $25,000
Install innovative stormwater practices on waterfront streets to reduce pollution to Narragansett Bay. Partner: Save The Bay.

7. Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council | Greening the Greenway | $245,000
Install stormwater practices along the Woonasquatucket River Greenway, reducing pollution to the Providence River and Narragansett Bay while providing job training through WRWC’s River Rangers program. Partners: RI Dept. of Transportation and Farm Fresh Rhode Island.

SNEP Municipal Technical Assistance Network
EPA SNEP also recently announced selection of the New England Finance Center at the University of Southern Maine to administer a Technical Assistance Network to help local organizations develop the capacity to effectively plan for environmental financing, and to identify and plan for strategic stormwater management activities to improve water quality, alleviate flooding, restore habitat, and enhance resiliency from storms.

The organizations partnering in the network include several GIC members. The partnership includes the USM's New England Environmental Finance Center, Audubon Society of Rhode Island, Mass Audubon's Shaping the Future of Your Community Program, Brown University, the Cape Cod Commission, the Environmental Finance Center at University of North Carolina, The Nature Conservancy, Rhode Island School of Design, Save The Bay, the University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center, and the University of Rhode Island.

We are grateful for the recognition and support of our work to promote natural infrastructure to make healthier and more climate resilient communities!
Green Infrastructure installation in Newport, RI.
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.


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