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News Release

RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

For Release:

May 12, 2000


Gail Mastrati 222-4700 ext. 2402
Stephanie Powell 222-4700 ext. 4418


Wetlands Info for Teachers Will Also be Available

PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management will hold a free Wetlands Open House on Wednesday, May 24 to celebrate American Wetlands Month. The open house is meant primarily for people who are building or buying a home or business, and for teachers, although anyone interested in learning more about the importance of freshwater wetlands and their protection is welcome.

Those who attend will have an opportunity to meet Wetlands staff, look at maps, find their homes on aerial photos, check their wetlands applications, ask questions about wetlands rules, learn about the DEM permit process, and learn about which freshwater wetlands areas near the coast fall under the jurisdiction of the Coastal Resources Management Council. They can also bring plants for identification and see a slide show on vernal pools. Teachers can review wetlands curricula and find out how and where to order course materials. Light refreshments will be served.

"Public education is a vital tool in our efforts to protect wetlands, promote smart growth, and assist applicants," said DEM Director Jan Reitsma. "DEM is always eager to guide applicants who want to undertake work near wetlands in an environmentally sound way, and our open house is designed to further assist those who want to avoid unnecessary problems and complications associated with permitting."

Wetlands, Reitsma noted, are a necessary and productive part of the ecosystem, important for flood protection, pollutant filtration, and wildlife habitat. However, more than half of America's wetlands have been lost since the late 1700s.

Hosted by staff from DEM's wetlands program and the Department's Office of Technical and Customer Assistance, the Wetlands Open House will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the third floor cafeteria at DEM Headquarters, 235 Promenade Street in Providence.

For more information, call Ronald Gagnon at 222-6822 or visit the DEM website at

For General Information 222-6800 • After Hours Emergencies 222-3070 • Disclaimer