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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 25, 2000

Media Contact:

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


PROVIDENCE - More than 200 people attended the Wetlands Open House sponsored last night by the Department of Environmental Management in celebration of American Wetlands Month. Other than one tongue-in-cheek comment that "you didn't serve shrimp," visitors who filled out comment cards were uniformly positive, giving particularly high marks to the opportunity to interact face to face with staff and receive quick and helpful information. There were calls to make the open house an annual event, and suggestions to enlarge it by adding information on DEM's septic system program and the coastal wetlands program overseen by the Coastal Resources Management Council.

"An important part of customer service at DEM is being responsive to the public's needs," said DEM Director Jan Reitsma. "The Wetlands Open House is one example of the outreach efforts the department is striving to provide to the public. I am pleased that the open house was such a positive experience for those who attended. It was a similarly positive experience for DEM staff who planned and participated in the event."

The open house was 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 was welcome. Those who attended had the 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 review curricula.

The event was hosted by staff from DEM's wetlands program and the Department's Office of Technical and Customer Assistance at DEM Headquarters in Providence.

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