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RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462
STAFFORD POND RESTORATION PROJECT RECEIVES NATIONAL AWARD
PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management has accepted, on behalf of the members of the Stafford Pond restoration project in Tiverton, a Successful Project Merit Award from the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS). The award acknowledges the lasting improvements in water quality and increase in recreational utility achieved by the project, as well as the cost-effective management approach that was employed. The award was one of four technical merit awards, and the only Successful Project Merit Award, presented at the Society's 20th Annual International Symposium in Miami, Florida in November.
"Stafford Pond is a cleaner body of water today, thanks to the collaborative and conscientious work by the project members and their use of common sense watershed-based solutions," said DEM Director Jan Reitsma. "The success of the Stafford Pond project underscores the effectiveness of the watershed approach and the importance of community involvement in making this approach work."
The Stafford Pond project members have worked together for several years to design and implement a strategy to restore and protect Stafford Pond. The North American Lake Management Society noted that it was impressed by the broad range of participating organizations and issues addressed.
Members of the Stafford Pond project include Tiverton residents, the Tiverton Conservation Commission, the Stafford Pond Improvement Association, the Stone Bridge Fire District, the University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension Water Quality program, and URI Watershed Watch volunteers. Also, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the City of Fall River, the Rhode Island Bass Federation, the RI Water Resources Board, ENSR, Inc., consultants, the RI Department of Health, the RI Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. DEM, with EPA support, served as the catalyst for the project.
Stafford Pond Problems and Solutions
Stafford Pond supplies drinking water to parts of Tiverton. During the early/mid 1990's, the water quality of the pond had been impacted by algal blooms due to elevated nutrient levels. Volunteers working with the University of Rhode Island's Watershed Watch program documented the problem and helped focus concern on phosphorus, the nutrient primarily responsible for the algal blooms. DEM then commissioned a detailed scientific study that identified sources and determined that phosphorus loads would need to be curtailed by 36 percent to restore water quality. DEM established a Stafford Pond Steering Committee and worked closely with the group to evaluate and identify ways to reduce the sources of phosphorus in the watershed.
Several measures were taken to reduce, or prevent increases in, the loading of nutrients. A local dairy farm made operational changes to prevent runoff from manure from reaching the pond. Undeveloped land in the watershed was purchased to maintain it in its natural state. Stormwater drains entering the pond were redesigned and upgraded to capture pollutants. And, a wide-ranging public education program was implemented. The steering committee is now developing a wastewater management plan for the town that will allow residents near the pond to receive low interest loans to repair or upgrade septic systems.
Improvements in the pond are already apparent. Rooted plants, absent in the mid-1990s, are returning to shallow areas. The water is clearer and the algal blooms are fewer. "We would like to congratulate the many partners in the Stafford Pond project for their success," said Elizabeth Herron, Chair of the New England Regional Chapter of the North American Lake Management Society. "NALMS views the Stafford Pond project as a model approach to lake restoration."
North American Lake Management Society
The Society was founded in 1980 as a non-profit, volunteer organization with a mission to forge partnerships among citizens, scientists and other professionals to foster the management and protection of lakes and reservoirs. Its diverse membership includes citizens, scientists, educators, other professionals and corporations from approximately 20 countries. Members facilitate the exchange of information on the technical and administrative aspects of lake management; promote public awareness of lake ecosystems; encourage public support for programs promoting lake management; and provide guidance to agencies involved in, or planning, lake management activities. They also improve the professional status of those engaged in lake management; and identify needs and encourage research on lake ecology and watershed management.
Additional information about the Society can be found on its website, www.nalms.org. Information about the Stafford Pond restoration project can be found at DEM's website, at www.dem.state.ri.us/staffpub.htm.