Save The Bay: Protecting a vital Rhode Island treasure for all future generations to enjoy
During an era when proactive actions on environmental health and climate change are critical, Save the Bay in Providence, RI has taken the lead on protecting one of New England’s greatest treasures: the Narragansett Bay.
“We’re the largest environmental group in Rhode Island and the only group of our kind in southern New England. We have to do this work in the context of diminished resources. The state and federal governments play a big role in environmental protection and sadly, the commitment to environmental protection is not what it once was.”
Save the Bay is funded nearly entirely through private philanthropy, including individual donors, charitable organizations and thousands of households across the region. Its educational programs, habitat restoration and environmental advocacy efforts not only improve and promote the health of Narragansett Bay and its watersheds, but also give people opportunities to get involved at different levels. More than 4,000 people every year contribute their time to volunteer in Save the Bay’s programs, such as the International Coastal Cleanup held every September, and its largest annual fundraiser, the famous Save the Bay Swim each August.
The environmental education programs and summer camps, designed for students of all age groups, act as living classrooms that cover topics such as climate change and global warming. The Exploration Center & Aquarium’s “Future of the Bay” exhibit visualizes the ongoing effects of global warming by featuring a range of tropical fish that have been carried up stream along the gulf’s east coast, caught in Narragansett Bay, and survived through the winter.
Save the Bay’s overarching goal is to make Narragansett Bay swimmable and fishable for all residents to enjoy. Much of that work involves making sure all real estate development near the coast is safely executed, taking on threats to the ecology of the Bay posed by constant climate change, improving river connectivity and restoring salt marshes, which are crucial to the overall health of the Bay.
Save the Bay’s mission and work are imperative to maintaining Rhode Island’s natural resources for generations to come. “Narragansett Bay is really the most important natural resource for the state of Rhode Island. About 90% of the population lives within 10 miles of the waterfront,” according to Stone. “People here are really connected to the ocean.”