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Construction work underway in the fall of 2008 on the fish ladder at Riverside Park, at the Atlantic Mills Dam, in Providence. Photographs by Dick Quinn, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Read more...


The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council is involved in a wide variety of projects. This section of our website also contains some information about projects important to the Woonasquatucket River Watershed that are being undertaken by other organizations.

River Restoration: All of the work of the Woonasquatucket River Waterhed Council in some way relates to protecting and restoring the Woonasquatucket River. However, we have devoted one section of our website to projects that focus on this area, including fish ladder construction, wetlands restoration and riparian (riverbank) restoration. The fish passage project seeks to restore fish passage along the lower river, so that fish that migrate between fresh and salt water can reach their historic spawning grounds. The wetlands and riparian buffer restoration projects seek to improve the health of the river ecosystem and reduce flooding on the river. For more about these projects see the river restoration section of our website.

Centredale Superfund Site: Dioxin was first identified in 1996 from fish collected from the Woonasquatucket River below Centredale Manor in North Providence. Since that time, EPA has documented elevated levels of contaminants including dioxin, PCBs, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), semi-VOCs, and metals in numerous media including soil, sediment, wetlands and surface water in both Allendale Mill Pond and Lyman Mill Pond. This site has been desginated a Federal Superfund Site and the Watershed Council has been involved in the process of seeking a way to clean up these ponds. For more on the Centredale Superfund site see the section of our website devoted that project.

Greenway Project: In 1994 the idea of a greenway along the Woonasquatucket River was a idea shared by a group of visionaries at The Providence Plan, led by Fred Lippitt. Now, thanks to the hard work of the Providence Plan and the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council, along with many other partners, that vision is becoming a realtiy. Providence's first off-road bike path runs along the river from Olneyville into Johnston. A string of city parks line the river, including Donigian Park, Riverside Park, and Merino Park. Community gardens are thriving at Riverside Park, where until recently weeds grew up around the ruble of the former mill building that occupied the site. For more on the Greenway Project see the section of our website devoted the Greenway!

The Return Home, a sculpture created by artist Gillian Christy for the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council and installed on the Bath Street Footbridge over the river in Providence. Read more...

Art in the Watershed: As part of our efforts to restore the Woonasquatucket River we have worked with a number of local artists to change people's image of the river. Some of the promenant projects include the sculpture created by artist Gillian Chrisitie for the Bath Street footbridge over the Woonasquatucket River near Dean Street, the bird nesting houses made by artist Will Machin using found materials. Will is also createing a mosiac to go on the new fish ladder at Rising Sun Dam. To find out more, and see pictures of these projects see the art in the watershed section of our website.

Water Quality: Water quality is central to the health of a river and important to the health of the poeple who live near the river. The Watershed Council is involved in a number of water quality related activities. We work with the URI Watershed Watch Program to monitor water quality in the watershed. We provided input to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management on the development of the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) characterization of the Woonasquatucket River. The Watershed Council was not directly involved in the RIPDES Phase II Stormwater Management process, but it is important to the health of the Woonasquatucket River and many other water bodies across the country.

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