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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:

November 10, 2000


Sally Spadaro 222-4700 ext. 2426
Stephanie Powell 222-4700 ext. 4418


PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management has announced the start of a $2.9 million reconstruction project for State Pier 9 in Newport that will improve working conditions and services for the fishing fleet and lead to cleaner water around the commercial pier.

Pier 9 is home to 50 commercial fishing boats, both inshore lobster boats and offshore draggers, and is the only state-owned commercial pier in the Newport area.

"This project is important to the fishing industry, which provides so much to the quality and economy of the state," said DEM Director Jan Reitsma. "The hard-working fishermen who use Pier 9 deserve a facility that meets their needs. From an environmental point of view, the improvements will also result in cleaner stormwater runoff to the harbor from the pier."

State Representative Paul Crowley of Newport said, "Improvements to Pier 9 reflect my continued commitment, and the commitment of the General Assembly, to the viability of commercial fishing out of Newport Harbor. The Pier provides a dedicated facility to ensure that fishing has a presence in Newport's waterfront and our state's economy." The finfish and lobster industry in Rhode Island - from both Newport and Galilee - is about $70 million a year, according to 1997 and 1998 figures from the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The reconstruction project is expected to take two years. "While it will be a minor inconvenience to the fishermen, they have told us they appreciate what we are doing," Reitsma said. "Nobody will be displaced. We have made it clear to the contractor that he is to work around the fishermen."

The entire bulkhead, now in disrepair, will be replaced with steel sheet piling and a new pile and timber fender system will be installed along the entire 580-foot length of the pier. A year-round water system will be installed, replacing the seasonal system now in place, and the electrical service will be replaced. The current gravel surface, which traps bait and is difficult to clean, will be paved, and a stormwater runoff treatment system will be installed. The treatment system uses centrifugal force to separate oil from water, ensuring that stormwater from the pier that discharges into Newport Harbor will be cleaner.

The project was designed by The Maguire Group of Providence, under the oversight of DEM's Division of Planning and Development. Reagan Construction Corporation of Middletown is the construction contractor. Funding for the project is from the Governor's pay-as-you-go Rhode Island Capital fund, approved in DEM's capital budget by the General Assembly.

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