WARWICK, RI — Decades of erosion compromised public access to the Longmeadow Fishing Access Site, but DEM’s project partnering with Warwick and Save the Bay will improve public access while enhancing coastal habitats and resiliency.
The project, in progress now, is expected to wrap up within the next few weeks.
The site, located in Warwick on the shore of Narragansett Bay, at the end of Samuel Gorton Avenue, is supervised and managed by DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW). It provides coastal access, shoreline fishing access, and car-top boating access. The site has experienced more than 100 feet of shoreline erosion over the past 75 years, and the parking lot and entrance road flood regularly during moon and storm tides, limiting access and compromising infrastructure. Vehicle traffic over beach and intertidal habitats also has destroyed coastal vegetation and continues to cause erosion.
The project will remove a section of asphalt at the end of the road that extends into the tidal area; remove illegally dumped bulky waste along the shoreline; define an organized parking area; grade and improve the parking surface; and restore the dune and marsh by planting native shrubs and beach grass. Parking capacity will remain the same. Project partners hope the work will also protect water quality in Narragansett Bay.
“This project not only has environmental benefits, but will result in better access to the waterfront for fishing and boating and address longstanding issues with the parking area. I
know many in our community are looking forward to the completion of these site improvements. I thank all involved for their efforts and look forward to working with them on future projects to address areas of concern elsewhere in the city, such as Conimicut Point,” said Warwick Mayor Joseph Solomon.
This project has been funded in part by Coastal Resources Management Council’s (CRMC) Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration Trust Fund. On-the-ground activities will be carried out by DFW and the City of Warwick and plantings will be conducted by the DFW, Save The Bay, and community volunteers.
“Removing asphalt at the end of Samuel Gorton Avenue, which floods frequently during higher tide events, and reconfiguring the parking area at the Longmeadow access point will restore the coastal habitat, improve public access to the Bay, and increase community resiliency,” said Wenley Ferguson, Restoration Coordinator for Save The Bay. “This collaborative resiliency project between DEM and the City of Warwick is a perfect example of steps that can be taken to remove infrastructure vulnerable to accelerated sea level rise.”