Posts Tagged ‘frank carini’

Imaginative storm drains are delivering a friendly message about protecting a river to residents who might like to enjoy more recreational river activities. The effort is one of many to improve water quality in Rhode Island.

Frank Carini of EcoRI has the story. “The health of southern New England’s coastal waters and its various, and vital, watersheds is improving, but major challenges remain, most notably stormwater runoff from urbanized areas. …

“Janet Coit, director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), recently told ecoRI News that stormwater runoff is one of the greatest challenges when it comes to protecting the region’s waters.

“ ‘It’s going to require a lot of small actions,’ she said. ‘We can’t deal with stormwater with just big tunnels.’ …

“Urban development has led to increased flooding, beach closures and limited access to waterways, with climate change serving to exacerbate these impacts, including those affecting marine life in Narragansett Bay, Buzzards Bay and Long Island Sound.

“In many urban areas, however, site-specific efforts to address stormwater runoff are marking progress, according to the fifth annual Watershed Counts Report.

“ ‘The urban projects featured in this yearly report can and should help drive more, broader and integrated initiatives,’ said Tom Borden, program director of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, which coordinates the annual report along with the Coastal Institute at the University of Rhode Island. ‘The benefits are not only environmental and societal, but have a direct link to enhancing the region’s economy.’ ”

More at ecoRI, here.

By the way, if you live near Rhode Island and are interested in doing part-time work as an investigative environmental journalist, they have an open position. See http://www.ecori.org/job-listings.

Photo: Brent Bachelder
The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council is working with artist and educator Brent Bachelder and The Met School to create storm-drain murals, such as this one in front of Donigian Park on Valley Street, along the Fred Lippitt Woonasquatucket River Greenway in Providence.

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At ecoRI, Frank Carini has a story about an unusual ambition.

“Julian Forgue’s life, at least his professional one, revolves around food,” writes Carini. “He owns the popular restaurant Julians on Broadway [in Providence], just opened Pizza J a street over on Westminster, operates a catering business and has a food bus. The foodie would like to add a vertical garden/indoor farming operation to his food pyramid. …

“The longtime restaurateur even has a piece of property in mind: the former Head Start school on Almy Street, at the corner of Meader Street.

“The derelict three-story building has been wasting away for years, but thanks to the vision of city officials and ambitious urban farmers the pavement surrounding the 90,000-square foot property has been growing food for the past three years. Forgue would like to do the same inside. …

“Forgue said he has been intrigued by the idea of vertical farming for about a decade. … [He] has had very preliminary discussions with a city official who didn’t shoot down the idea. That’s a start.

“ ‘It’s not necessarily about making money, but drawing action around growing more local food in inner-city neighborhoods,’ Forgue said. ‘It’s about the action of proof and showing projects like this can be done. There’s energy out there for this. We can’t just keep opening up restaurants and bars.’ ” More here.

The article was made possible with support from the Horsley Witten Group. Did want the same piece of information that I felt was missing? What happened to the Head Start school?

Photo:  Joanna Detz/ecoRI News
A Providence restaurant owner would like to see this vacant building at the corner of Almy and Meader streets turned into a vertical farm. An urban farmer is already growing food outside the former Head Start school.

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According to Frank Carini at EcoRI, the humble quahog clam is keeping Rhode Island running. Carini waxed poetic about the quahog after a shellfish-focused event last fall meant to help the state manage its hardest-working resource more efficiently.

Speaker Bob Rheault “noted that the farming and harvesting of shellfish doesn’t require antibiotics and fertilizers. He referred to them as a healthy ‘super food,’ and called bivalves the ‘vacuum cleaners of our oceans.’ …

“The shellfish that inhabit Rhode Island waters are part of the Ocean State’s social and cultural fabric,” adds Carini, “and are integral pieces of a marine ecosystem that provides economic, employment, recreational and environmental benefits. …

“ Despite the obvious economic and environmental benefits provided by the state’s shellfish industry, it has long been, for the most part, operating as a collection of individual parts. …

“To get a better handle on the state’s shellfish industry and to make sure it remains sustainable, [several] agencies have invested more than a million dollars and teamed up with an array of individuals and organizations to develop the Rhode Island Shellfish Management Plan. … Quahoggers are collaborating with scientists to resolve some of the doubts about the biology of the resource. A cooperative study funded by the Southern New England Collaborative Research Initiative enrolls commercial quahoggers to pull bullrakes alongside the hydraulic clam dredge utilized by DEM to measure the density of quahogs on the bottom — a measurement that is then used to inform stock assessment calculations.”

Questions remain. “For example, should aquaculture be recognized as agriculture to clarify ownership and rights to harvest? What does Rhode Island gain in terms of economic value by restoring shellfish populations? How will restoration success be measured? …

“Among Rhode Island’s diverse collection of shellfish, the quahog is the most economically important resource harvested from Narragansett Bay. In fact, Ocean State quahogs once supported the largest outboard-motor fishing fleet in the world. But the price of quahogs hasn’t changed much over the years, making it increasingly difficult for quahoggers to stay in business.

“In Rhode Island, the state’s aquaculture industry, which is largely oysters, is approaching $3 million in annual sales. In fact, this sector of the local shellfish industry is one of the few growth industries in the state, growing by about 15 percent annually during the past decade.”

In 2013, “the number of farms in Rhode Island increased from 43 to 50, and oysters remained the top aquaculture product, with 4,303,886 sold for consumption, according to the CRMC’s 2012 report. …

“ ‘We have to understand the system to manage it and achieve the proper balance,’ [Coastal Resource Management Council] director Grover Fugate said. ‘We have to balance the uses while protecting the resource. We need to develop a better management regime, and because of climate change we will always be adjusting this regime.’ ”

More here.

This morning my two-year-old granddaughter woke up and told her parents she wanted clams. (But that’s another story.)

Photo: Wikimedia

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