2000 Progress Report: EMPACT Project for Narragansett Bay / Mount Hope Bay, Providence, Rhode Island / Fall River, Massachusetts

EPA Grant Number: R827969
Title: EMPACT Project for Narragansett Bay / Mount Hope Bay, Providence, Rhode Island / Fall River, Massachusetts
Investigators: Pavignano, Sharon L. , Deacutis, Christopher , Galagan, Christopher , Hickox, Sara C. , Howes, Brian , Howlett, Eoin , Kester, Dana , Mariscal, Juan , Rines, Henry , Scowcroft, Gail A. , Sullivan, Terry
Current Investigators: Pavignano, Sharon L. , Deacutis, Christopher , Ellis, Taylor , Galagan, Christopher , Hickox, Sara C. , Howes, Brian , Howlett, Eoin , Kester, Dana , Mariscal, Juan , Rines, Henry , Scowcroft, Gail A. , Sullivan, Terry , Szelag, Jan
Institution: The Narragansett Bay Commission , University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth , University of Rhode Island
Current Institution: The Narragansett Bay Commission , Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management , University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth , University of Rhode Island
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Period:    
Project Period Covered by this Report: January 1, 2000 through December 31, 2001
Project Amount: $635,648
RFA: Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT) (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Statistics , Water , Ecosystems , Air , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration


The estuarine environments of Narragansett and Mount Hope Bays and their associated watersheds are valuable resources to the people of the Providence-Warwick-Fall River Metropolitan areas. These waters are used for sport and commercial fishing and shellfishing, boating, and swimming. The associated coastal land is highly developed for residential, business, and industrial use. The people of Rhode Island and Massachusetts also have strong cultural ties with these nearby marine and estuarine environments and are very aware of changing environmental conditions. Unfortunately, the historical and current discharge of wastes from residential, industrial, and municipal facilities is a major source of receiving water degradation. As a result, management and regulatory agencies are working hard with municipalities, industry, and environmental groups to clean up the bay.

The primary objective of this EMPACT study is to provide information to the public about the constantly changing water quality conditions in Narragansett Bay and its tributaries. The project extends the current water quality studies of Narragansett and Mt. Hope Bays into the urban estuaries of the Providence-Warwick-Fall River Metropolitan areas. The data gained are useful to management and regulatory agencies as well as to the general public in understanding how the discharge of wastes can impact human health as well as the health of the ecosystem.

Progress Summary:

The EMPACT partners designed, deployed, and are maintaining water quality monitoring stations at three locations in Narragansett Bay. The stations are located in the receiving waters of the Narragansett Bay Commission's Field's Point and Bucklin Point Wastewater Treatment Facilities (WWTF). Equipment at these stations are collecting measurements for temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH, and chlorophyll. These measurements are taken approximately 1 m below the surface and 1 m above the bottom for all parameters except chlorophyll, which is only measured at the surface. Results are sent by radio transmission every 15 minutes to a central computer at the Field's Point WWTF. Preliminary and final data are summarized and presented on Dr. Dana Kester's Web Site (http://www.gso.uri.edu/~Edkester/nbay/index.htm Exit EPA icon).

Results from currently deployed buoys already have been used to detect an interesting early winter-spring phytoplankton bloom at the Ponham Rocks site. Also, data for dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll may prove useful for ongoing TMDL work being performed for the Providence and Seekonk Rivers.

Future Activities:

Two other monitoring stations will shortly be deployed: one in Mount Hope Bay and one more in Narragansett Bay. These stations will collect the same water quality information as the others and will be transmitted to the central computer at the Field's Point WWTF and also to a computer at the WWTF in Fall River. During routine maintenance visits to calibrate all monitoring station instrumentation, water quality samples will be taken for metals, nutrients, and fecal coliform contamination.

The information and results generated by this project will soon be presented on the Narragansett Bay Commission's EMPACT Web Site (http://www.narrabay.com/empact.aspExit EPA icon) that is expected to be online by September 2001. The data will be automatically analyzed and graphed as they come in from the monitoring stations and shown as provisional data on the site. After careful review by EMPACT scientists, the corrected or confirmed data will be archived on the site for use by the general public, other scientists and regulators, as well as Narragansett Bay and Mount Hope Bay stakeholders. Historical WWTF data also will be archived on the site as well.

The interactive Web site also will direct users to data access, documentation, explanation, and educational areas of the site. Using COASTMAP, a Web-enabled interactive data tool, the users will be able to view the real-time and archived data. A GIS will be incorporated to display monitoring locations, discharge locations, locations of data available from different sources, as well as additional layers of relevant data from RIGIS and MassGIS. With the results of the fecal coliform bacterial counts, model predictions will be demonstrated to allow the user to see the effect of rain levels on coliform concentrations. Another project supported by this EMPACT funding is a cooperative effort between

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 1 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

water, estuarine, marine, discharge, receiving waters, water quality, human health, monitoring station, precipitation, fecal coliform, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, temperature, salinity, decision makers, stakeholders, modeling, GIS, exposure, risk, health effects, ecological effects, bioavailabilty, population, metals, heavy metals, bacteria, effluent, ecosystem, habitat, ecology, hydrology, zoology, analytical, northeast, and Region 1., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Hydrology, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, State, Susceptibility/Sensitive Population/Genetic Susceptibility, Monitoring/Modeling, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, genetic susceptability, Ecology and Ecosystems, EPA Region, Social Science, Ecological Indicators, aquatic ecosystem, EMPACT, environmental monitoring, fishing, Naragansett Bay, ecological exposure, monitoring, community-based approach, continuous measurement, urban estuaries, ecology, estuaries, watersheds, health risks, hypoxia, public reporting, children, community water quality information system, web site development, ecological impacts, community outreach, public access, water quality, recreatoinal water, outreach and education, public health alerts, public outreach, Rhode Island (RI), Mount Hope Bay, Region 1 , public beaches, real-time monitoring, educating school children

Relevant Websites:

http://www.narrabay.com/empact.aspExit EPA icon
http://www.gso.uri.edu/~Edkester/timeser.htm Exit EPA icon
http://www.gso.uri.edu/~Edkester/index.htm Exit EPA icon
http://omp.gso.uri.edu/edu/ongo/empact/over1.htm Exit EPA icon

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • Final Report