The organization charged with the annual monitoring of Rhode Island’s environmental health shows that the state has become a national leader on environmental and climate change issues, and has benefited from strong voices at the federal, state, and local levels.
The 2013 Environmental Monitoring Collaborative Report released today says that investing in long-term evaluation of critical issues affecting the state’s natural resources has been key to this effort, and has helped guide Rhode Island’s future management decisions that rely upon the best science available.
“Rhode Island’s natural resources, especially the very heart of the state, Narragansett Bay, are our most important economic drivers, as well as having become a touchstone for the people who live here,” said chair of the Environmental Monitoring Collaborative Nicole Rohr, assistant director of the University of Rhode Island’s Coastal Institute. “In particular, the work being done on preparing Rhode Island for climate change puts us in the forefront on these issues, and has been serving as a model for the rest of the United States. But we must support these with the necessary funding for environmental monitoring.”
The 2013 annual report is by the state-mandated Environmental Monitoring Collaborative, a function of the Rhode Island Bays, Rivers and Watersheds Coordination Team, created by the General Assembly’s Comprehensive Rhode Island Watershed and Marine Monitoring Act of 2004.
“Many of Rhode Island’s environmental management objectives are based on promoting a healthy environment as the first step toward a strong economy and resilient coastal communities − safe and beautiful beaches attract visitors from around the world, healthy salt marshes protect coastal communities from the increasing threat of sea level rise and hurricanes, and the clean marine waters of Narragansett Bay support economically critical fisheries and aquaculture industries, among others,” said Rohr.
Ames Colt, chair of the RI Bays, Rivers and Watershed Coordination Team added, “One of the areas where the state has taken a lead role is in adapting to the current and future change of sea level rise and the increase in intense storms. We are also preparing for the impacts of climate change in these areas.”
The key aspects of the 2013 Environmental Management Collaborative Report are:
The need for more targeted funding of environmental protection was also stressed in the report:
But the report did point out how investment in environmental upgrades have benefited the state: