Project Update: Dredging the River

In November 2018, the citizens of Rhode Island voted overwhelming to pass the Green Economy and Clean Water Bond. This bond includes $7 million for dredging sections of the Providence, Woonasquatucket and Moshassuck Rivers. This dredging project will support economic development, enhance tourism opportunities and improve water depths.

Once dredged, the rivers flowing through downtown Providence will be restored to the original depth it had been when Capital Center was built.

In order to see this project through to completion, The Providence Foundation has partnered with The Nature Conservancy in Rhode Island to work closely with city and state officials to be sure the money for this project is allocated correctly and the project is completed in a timely fashion.

Work is scheduled to begin on this project in October, and is planned to be completed in February. Work will not disrupt any of the summer activities along the river such as WaterFire. In fact, this dredging project will ultimately improve recreation on the river for residents and visitors alike. The deeper waters will allow for more boats to navigate down the river, and will not stop water traffic completely during low tide when levels are too shallow, such as it does now.

Photo courtesy of Providence River Boat Company

Photo courtesy of Providence River Boat Company

According to Kristin Stone, of Providence River Boat Co. & Providence Kayak Co., “The positive impact that dredging our rivers would have on Providence, and Rhode Island, is impressive. Dredging would enhance the aesthetics of the downtown parks network, encourage real estate development, tourism and conventions. Dredging the rivers would make them more readily accessible for recreational use, and offer desirable environmental impacts such as greater flood storage capacity and increased wildlife habitat. Our waterways are presently cleaner than they have been since Abraham Lincoln was President, 150 years ago! No living person has experienced cleaner water flowing through our capital city than we are seeing today. It is unfortunate that such positive improvements have not been met with a more sustained effort to dredge and maintain our silted river beds."

Learn more about the work The Providence Foundation is doing as part of its 2019 Program of Work by listening to Executive Director Cliff Wood on the A Quality of Place Podcast.

Kristin Cranedredging, river