Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Bernhard Peucker-Ehrenbrink

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» Rivers of Rhode Island

Four large watersheds of Rhode Island
The map shows the four large watersheds that provide Rhode Island with drinking water, that supply the coastal ocean, including Narragansett Bay, with nutrients, but also pollutants, and provide scenic opportunities for recreation. (RIGIS, modified by B. Peucker-Ehrenbrink)

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Valier Galy (left), Bernhard Peucker-Ehrenbrink and Aleck Wang sampling the Pawcatuck River in early March 2012. (David Prescott)

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Sampling the Pawcatuck River (BPE)

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For the diverse analyses we carry out at WHOI, we need many different samples of water, aquatic plants, debris floating in the water and sediments from the river bed. (BPE)

Rivers of Rhode Island


WHOI: Drs. Aleck Wang, Valier Galy, Carl Lamborg, Marco Coolen, MIT/WHOI Joint Program student Jordon Hemingway and Summer Student Fellow Kimberley Mayfield (now at UCSC). Save The Bay, Narragansett: Jonathan Stone, Marci Cole Ekberg, David Prescott, Rachel Calabro, Stephany Hessler, and a group of community volunteers.

This study has been supported generously by the Van Beuren Charitable Foundation (vbcf) of Newport, Rhode Island.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in close collaboration with Save The Bay, has analyzed four rivers in Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts - Pawcatuck, Pawtuxet, Blackstone, Taunton -  for one year from March 2012 to February 2013.   Water samples were taken by community volunteers approximately once per month, and about once every other month in more detail by our group.  Samples have been analyzed for dissolved and particulate constituents and possible contaminants, both natural and man-made.  The analytical data allow us to identify and quantify inputs from industry, agriculture, and city infrastructure, as well as from road and combined storm-and-sewer runoff.

Save The Bay assisted in managing a network of volunteers to aid in the sampling.  They have hosted workshops/symposia in Rhode Island with volunteers, educators, environmental managers, policy makers and the research community both during and after the study, to ensure that the results are effectively disseminated to appropriate stakeholders.

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