By: Tim Studebaker

WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) – A transformation is underway at the Longmeadow fishing access site in Warwick, along Narragansett Bay between Rocky Point and Conimicut Point.  It's an area that has been flooding more often in recent years.

Save the Bay’s Director of Habitat Restoration Wenley Ferguson says, "Unfortunately, we're experiencing accelerated sea level rise due to climate change, and so this area 20 years ago didn't flood as frequently."

The goal of the project is to help the area adjust to a changing coastline.

Ferguson says, "We've had upwards of 150 feet of erosion in this shoreline since the 1930s.  The bay is moving inland.  But, what we're trying to do is adapt to it."

Because the fishing site is open to the public, cars have been driven on the sand for years.  That changes the landscape, making flooding problems worse, and preventing native plants from thriving.  Now, the DEM, Save the Bay, and the City of Warwick are addressing those concerns.

Ferguson says, "We still want to encourage public access, but our goal was to limit where cars can drive here."

They're grading the land, marking off a parking area using boulders, and helping improve post–flood drainage in the non–parking area so plants can survive.  There will also be an added benefit for people.

Ferguson says, "People can come down here, throw a fishing pole in the water.  Their kids could be playing on the beach, and they don't have to worry about cars."

Ferguson says it's also expected to make it easier to monitor and stop illegal dumping of trash and other material.  In the spring, they'll plant more of the native vegetation in an effort to restore the population.

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