NORTH SCITUATE, R.I. — A plan to build 18 condominiums on a 6.7-acre lot about a quarter-mile from the Scituate Reservoir in a town that relies on wells for drinking water provides a glimpse into the pressures being put on this natural resource by population growth, the relentless development of open space and a changing climate.
Despite being the second-most urbanized state, Rhode Island remains more than 50 percent forested. That fact is further obscured by the state’s 400 miles of well-renowned coastline.
LITTLE COMPTON, R.I. — The issue of accessory uses on farms and agricultural lands is being hotly debated in many Rhode Island communities, and at the Statehouse. In fact, accessory farm uses is a growing trend nationwide.
TIVERTON, R.I. — The late Lucinda Wilcox Peckham left a conservation easement on a historic 32-acre farm, according to The Nature Conservancy. The parcel is just west of the former Nonquit School on Puncatest Neck Road, near Tiverton Four Corners.
HOPKINTON, R.I. — Public and private development projects associated with the transportation industry threaten the local drinking-water supply and some 50 acres of forestland, according to opponents of both ideas.
COVENTRY, R.I. — The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, recently bought conservation protection for historic Broadwall Farm.
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management recently awarded $1.3 million in matching grants. Nine projects, in six communities, received funding to clean up contaminated property and promote redevelopment, particularly along the state’s urban corridor.
Rhode Island’s splintered collection of land trusts and environmental organizations accomplish many things, but much of this important work is conducted in isolation. Intentionally or not, the state’s tangle of conservation projects are done in small groups. The collective voice of this movement is a whisper when Rhode Island needs a scream.
PROVIDENCE — The historic floods of 2010 is a vivid memory for many Rhode Islanders. The natural disaster was unlike the hurricanes or other powerful weather events the region is accustomed. Instead, it was the culmination of 20 inches of rain in 38 days.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service recently finalized the creation of the Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge, which, according to the federal agency, is dedicated to conserving and managing shrubland and young forests for wildlife in New England and eastern New York.
National retailers are welcomed with great fanfare, but those who trumpeted their arrival go into hiding when these super stores are abandoned and their fields of concrete left to inundate local waters with polluted stormwater runoff.
The 2008 forest survey of Rhode Island reported a total of 348,400 acres of forest in the state — a reduction of more than 11 percent from the 393,000 acres reported in 1998, according to the 2015 Rhode Island Wildlife Action Plan. The past eight years haven’t been any kinder to the state’s collection of forests.
PROVIDENCE — Margaret Lewis had an old, drafty window in the attic of her Sheldon Street home. The window was rotted around the edges and the wall and floor under the window were water damaged.