Reed Helps Launch Project Clean Sweep to Clean up Narragansett Bay
WARWICK, RI -- In an effort clean up Narragansett Bay and remove hazardous marine debris from the shoreline, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) today helped kick off Project Clean Sweep. Senator Reed helped secure $150,000 in federal funding for this initiative from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and also secured a commitment from the U.S. Navy to remove hazardous anti-submarine floats that litter Rhode Islands shorelines. These floats were used by the Navy in the 1940s and 1950s. Marine debris is a major problem in Narragansett Bay and each year it continues to grow. This type of pollution injures and kills marine mammals, interferes with boating safety, harms coastal industries, and poses a threat to human health, said Reed. NOAAs funding will help our communities in the upper Bay to restore the watershed for the people, fish, and wildlife that depend on the ecosystem. Project Clean Sweep is building partnerships across the state and with the federal government for a comprehensive Bay clean-up that will remove large debris from our waters as well as debris littering our shoreline. I am proud to have worked with Clean the Bay and the state to have identified and secured this grant funding. Project Clean Sweep is an effort by the state, local communities, the non-profit organization Clean the Bay, and numerous volunteers to remove marine debris in upper Narragansett Bay. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) estimates that there could be 530 tons of debris in the upper Bay. The initial project will focus on the 100 miles of shoreline within three priority Bay regions: Greenwich Bay, Metro Bay, and the Bay Islands and West Aquidneck Island shoreline. In June of 2006, Senator Reed was given a tour of Narragansett Bay by Clean the Bays Captain Ed Hughes and Captain Alan Wentworth and saw firsthand several hazardous floats they had removed, including one with a Navy plaque. More than 100 abandoned floats litter Narragansett Bay, creating a safety hazard for boaters and divers and contaminating the Bays water with creosote, said Reed. I commend the Navy for taking responsibility to cleanup the floats. Last September, Senator Reed and the other members of Rhode Islands Congressional delegation sent a letter to the Secretary of the Navy requesting the Navys assistance in the removal of the camels. In February of 2006, Senator Reed followed up on the issue during a meeting with Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter. The Navy is an important member of the Rhode Island community, and I want to thank Secretary Winter and Captain Rossetti for joining us in this partnership by removing hazardous anti-submarine floats in Narragansett Bay, said Reed. To expedite the clean up and provide more resources for the effort, Senator Reed also recently secured language in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) to make the removal of floats from Narragansett Bay eligible for funding under the Formerly Used Defense Sites program. Narragansett Bay is an estuary of national significance and provides vital habitat to fish and wildlife. It should not be the dumping ground for marine debris. Project Clean Sweep is an immense effort being undertaken by Rhode Islanders to help restore this national treasure, and I hope that the education and outreach provided by todays kick-off will convince everyone to do their part to keep the Bay clean for the future, concluded Reed.