Press Release: Clean Ocean Access Receives Grant from BankNewport 200th Anniversary Giving Program

NEWPORT – Clean Ocean Access (COA) is proud to have the support of BankNewport as a local business supporter on Aquidneck Island. At the end of fiscal year 2018, BankNewport contributed a total of $2,000 in support of COA’s mission to take action today so future generations can enjoy ocean activities. The generous corporate contributions will help advance COA projects and programming that aim to eliminate marine debris, improve coastal water quality, and preserve and protect shoreline access across Aquidneck Island. 

In celebration of two centuries of philanthropic commitment to Rhode Island, BankNewport launched a special “We’re All In” giving program that extends 200 ‘hyper-local’ donations, each in the amount of $1,000, in support of community projects geared toward making a positive impact in the lives of residents. COA is honored to have been selected as one of the 200 recipients of the “We’re All In” giving program.

“Thanks to the generosity and philanthropic spirit of local businesses like BankNewport, Clean Ocean Access can fulfill its mission and protect the coastal waters we love here in the Ocean State,” said Dave McLaughlin, COA executive director. “We look forward to strengthening mutually-beneficial relationships with the business community in 2019 and beyond.”

The $1,000 donation from BankNewport directly helps fund COA’s “Blue Access for All (BAFA)” grant project that connects underserved youth on Aquidneck Island to the coastline. Funded initially by Rhode Island Foundation, with additional support from The North Family Trust, BAFA seeks to inspire and motivate youth to get outside in nature, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and connect with their local marine environment. BankNewport’s contributions will help fund supplies for youth participating in BAFA, including reusable water bottles, team t-shirts, healthy snacks, backpacks, and journals.

“BAFA engages youth in ‘hands-on and minds-on’ activities that help build a sense of confidence and accomplishment in students, as well as a belief that healthy living is possible right here in Newport,” said Eva Touhey, COA program manager. “We are grateful to have BankNewport’s support to make this project possible and inspire the next generation of ocean stewards.”  

Additionally, employees at the BankNewport Administration & Operations Center, located at John Clarke Road in Middletown, organized a dress-down day on September 24th, 2018 that raised $1,000. COA is thrilled to have been chosen as the recipient of the casual-day fundraiser and looks forward to using the contributions to advance its mission for the betterment of all Aquidneck Island residents.

“Being active in our community and giving back has served as the foundation of BankNewport since our founding two-hundred years ago,” said Sandra J. Pattie, President and CEO, BankNewport. “Our employees selected Clean Ocean Access as the beneficiary of their $1,000 casual day donations, and the Bank was equally pleased to extend a $1,000 grant through our special 200th Anniversary ‘We’re All In” giving program – all in support of the important work by Clean Ocean Access to protect, preserve and improve shoreline access for our residents and visitors to enjoy.

Press Release: Report finds single-use plastic makes up 70 percent of debris in marina trash skimmers

Clean Ocean Access recently released its annual Marina Trash Skimmer Report detailing the success of the Marina Trash Skimmer (MTS) program over the past three years, as well as the development and expansion of the program in southern New England, which will include the installation of new MTS units in Providence, Rhode Island and New Bedford, Massachusetts this coming spring.

In 2018, the four MTS units on Aquidneck Island successfully removed 5,885 pounds of marine debris from coastal waters, including 4,223 individual items of debris. That is equivalent to nearly three tons of debris ranging from material related to shoreline and recreational activities to smoking and medical/personal hygiene activities.

“As our staff empties the skimmers, it is eye opening to see the amount of trash removed from the harbor, as well as the different types of items,” says Sara Mariani with the City of Newport’s Harbormaster Office, one of the program partners for the MTS unit located at Perotti Park in downtown Newport. “The program is a daily reminder that we must change our behavior to improve the health of Newport Harbor, as well as the Narragansett Bay and beyond.”

Between April and October of this year, COA conducted 36 site visits of the four MTS units located across Aquidneck Island, and performed detailed data collection at each location. Itemized debris counts indicate that single-use plastic makes up 70 percent of material collected in the MTS units. This low-to-no-value material includes items, such as plastic food wrappers, plastic water bottles, plastic caps, lids and straws. The remaining 30 percent of materials collected in the MTS units include materials related to smoking and tobacco use, such as cigarette butts, tobacco packaging, filters and lighters.

The MTS program launched in 2016 when COA received grant funding from 11th Hour Racing to install the first two MTS units on the East Coast. The following year, COA expanded the MTS program with the installation of two more units on Aquidneck Island. Since the launch of the program, COA-operated MTS units have removed a total of 20,615 pounds and over 27,000 individual items of debris from our coastline.

“The trash skimmers provide us with important data about the pollution that ends up as marine debris in our coastal waterways,” says Max Kraimer, marine debris specialist at COA. Kraimer works to leverage, facilitate, and establish MTS technology and research on the East Coast. He also leads trainings and educational outreach events with local schools and community groups.

Over the past three years, the MTS program has educated and engaged 959 individuals, including elementary school students, college graduates and senior-level scientists studying marine debris.“We’re able to use the technology to educate the public about ocean pollution, bringing visibility to the problem of marine debris and inspiring communities to make environmentally-responsible decisions on land that improve the health of our ocean,” Kraimer adds.  

The success of the MTS program, made possible by 11th Hour Racing, has led to increased growth and awareness of the technology throughout southern New England. In spring 2019, COA plans to launch two more MTS units in Providence, Rhode Island and New Bedford, Massachusetts. COA will install an MTS unit in partnership with the City of Providence and the waterfront bar, Hot Club, helping to improve water quality in the Providence River and educate Providence public school students on the issue of marine debris. The second MTS unit is in partnership with New Bedford Community Boating Center overlooking Clark’s Cove in New Bedford harbor.

“By partnering with Clean Ocean Access and the New Bedford Port Authority on the installation of a trash skimmer, we will not only be helping to clean our local waterway, but we’ll be helping to raise awareness of the marine debris issue and encourage everyone to engage in positive change,” says Andy Herlihy, executive director of New Bedford Community Boating Center, an 11th Hour Racing grantee and community outreach center that teaches positive life values to Greater New Bedford’s at-risk youth through boating.

“The skimmer will be front and center on our waterfront, where it will be highly visible to tourists and residents alike. The ocean has historically and continues to be one of our city’s greatest assets and we all need to do our part for its health,” adds Herlihy.
COA extends its sincere appreciation to the MTS program partners and sponsors, including 11th Hour Racing, The City of Newport, New England Boatworks, Sail Newport, Bioprocess H2O, as well as to the volunteers and citizen scientists who help make the program successful.

Watershed Results

Watershed results! Interested in learning more about our watershed on Aquidneck Island? Check out our education brochure and sign up to have Clean Ocean Access visit your camp, school, organization and more to teach you about our watershed, the pollutants, and the importance of a clean watershed!

Celebrate Improved Water Quality at our 2018 Swim to Skim

Our 5th Annual Newport Harbor Swim Event is just around the corner! Join us in celebrating improved water quality in the Newport Harbor and sign up today! The graph you see here analyzes the water quality of Newport Harbor over a long period of time demonstrated improved water quality at Kings Park Swim Area over the past 9 years. To learn more about our water quality research in Newport visit our 2008-2017 Water Quality Monitoring Summary Here !


Watershed Results

Weekly watershed results are in! Some of you may notice that our graph this week is missing data for the Oliphant Lane location. This is due to a combination of lack of precipitation as well as the built infrastructure of Aquidneck Island that causes less detention and infiltration of our water. Going forward, it is important that we consider green infrastructure to enhance the natural water cycle and quality of our water.