Newport's North End Residents Weigh in on Flood and Stormwater Concerns
Growing Green Stormwater Infrastructure Relationships

Fertilizing a lawn
The nutrients in fertilizer are major contributors to water pollution and algae blooms in Narragansett Bay and inland ponds and streams.
Over the past year the Eastern Rhode Island Conservation District (ERICD) and the Newport Health Equity Zone (HEZ) partnered to conduct a survey of residents in the North End of Newport to collect information on flooding issues in residents’ neighborhoods. 
The information will be used, along with ongoing meetings with residents and other stakeholders, to decide on the best location for a new green stormwater infrastructure installation in the North End. 

The North End is a neighborhood which has historically received less municipal attention and funding than more tourist-oriented areas of Newport. According to Data USA, the North End has the lowest median income of all neighborhoods in Newport as of 2018. The North End, as with many coastal neighborhoods, is subject to flooding due to sea-level rise and is uniquely affected by flooding due to stormwater runoff and poor drainage. Poorly managed flood areas can cause significant levels of polluted stormwater runoff into nearby waterways.
Respondents to the survey were a mix of renters (66%) and homeowners (14%) and came from a wide range of age groups. 74 respondents (73%) said that there was flooding in their neighborhoods after it rained. 80% of survey respondents reported flooding at a frequency of at least once per year if not more often. While the cited origins of flooding varied, the most common source, cited by 38 residents, was the lack of drains available for stormwater. 

Flooding has a significant impact on people’s lives. 38% of respondents reported that their children walked through flooded areas on their way to school after it rained. One younger respondent reported walking through flooded areas in order to catch the bus to school and another resident reported that they struggled as an adult to navigate the neighborhood and get to the store due to flooding.
Flooding in General Area
When asked “If there was a flood tomorrow would you feel prepared to handle it?” only 24% of residents responded that they would feel prepared and know what to do. A majority, 55%, reported that they would not know what to do and an additional 22% reported being unsure. Respondents who rented their homes were significantly more likely to report not knowing what to do in the event of a flood.

Community residents have toured severely affected areas which are potential project sites, along with staff from the ERICD and Newport HEZ. The next step will be to decide on a project location through conversations with residents and stakeholders.

The results from the surveys can be viewed on ERICD's website.

View North End Flooding Report
Funding for the project comes from Partners for Places. The local matching partners for this project are the Rhode Island Foundation, the van Buren Charitable Foundation, and Prince Charitable Trusts.
The Rhode Island Green Infrastructure Coalition provides communication resources, trainings on maintenance of green infrastructure installations, and shared knowledge on successful sites and green infrastructure installations around the state.
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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