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Bay Water Quality Report

BART Water Quality Report:9/29/18-10/5/18:
Water temperatures have stayed about the same this week (67-68° F). Chlorophyll levels have remained low this week (< 15 ug/L). All bay stations are reporting normal oxygen levels for this time of year (>3 mg/L).

DEM and DOH HAB monitoring indicated that abundance of Alexandrium spp. and Dinophysis spp. remained low (0 to <50 cells per liter) in all areas monitored. Pseudo-nitzschia spp. abundance was also low (0 to <50 cells per liter) in most areas, but a modest increase in Pseudo-nitzschia spp. abundance to levels of 2,000 to 5,000 cells per liter (compared to a precautionary threshold of 20,000 cells per liter) was noted in the lower West Passage, Little Narragansett Bay and some salt ponds during late September.

BART Water Quality Report: 9/22/18-9/28/18:
Water temperatures have cooled in the bay again this week (67-68° F). Chlorophyll levels have remained low this week (< 20 ug/L). All bay stations are reporting normal oxygen levels for this time of cc year (>3 mg/L).

BART Water Quality Report: 9/15/18-9/21/18:
Water temperatures have cooled in the bay again this week (70-73° F). Chlorophyll levels have remained low this week (< 20 ug/L). All bay stations are reporting normal oxygen levels for this time of cc year (>3 mg/L).

BART Water Quality Report: 9/8/18-9/14/18:
With the storms and cool weather this week, water temperatures have cooled about 3 degrees (71-77° F). Chlorophyll levels have declined throughout the bay with the rain and clouds that persisted for most of the week. All stations are reporting chlorophyll levels less than 10 ug/L. As of 9/9/18, all stations throughout the NBFSMN are reporting normal oxygen levels for this time of year (>3 mg/L). This is an improvement from last week.

BART Water Quality Report: 9/1/18-9/7/18:
With the heat wave this week, water temperatures continued to increased slightly (77-81° F). The Providence and Seekonk River stations are reporting low oxygen conditions this week (< 2 mg/L). A spatial survey this week showed oxygen levels as low as 0.12 mg/L in the Upper Providence River. Western Greenwich Bay also continues to report about 8 hours a day with oxygen levels between 1-3 mg/L for the whole water column. Western Greenwich Bay embayment is still showing elevated chlorophyll levels (>25 ug/L). Chlorophyll levels have declined throughout the rest of Narragansett Bay (< 10 ug/L). Most bay stations are reporting normal oxygen levels for this time of year (DO > 3 mg/L). The rust tide appears to have declined during early September in most parts of the Bay.

On Wednesday 9/5, thousands of small silver baitfish (suspected to be juvenile Menhaden), as well as some invertebrates were reported dead on the shores near Goose Point and floating in the water of the Seekonk River. On Tuesday 9/4, a spatial survey conducted with Brown University found bottom DO in nearby Phillipsdale was low (1.5 mg/L). Hypoxic values at the bottom were observed in the Providence River Channel down to Bullocks reach, with values from 1.5 mg/L near the Hurricane Barrier increasing to 3.0 mg/L near Bullocks Cove. This fish kill is likely due to hypoxic conditions.

BART Water Quality Report: 8/25/18-8/31/18:
With the heat wave this week, water temperatures have increased slightly (76-79° F). Most stations are reporting normal oxygen levels for this time of year (DO > 3 mg/L). However, the water quality station in western Greenwich Bay continues to report about 8 hours a day with oxygen levels between 2-3 mg/L for the whole water column. The Mt. View station, in the upper West Passage, is also reporting similar condition in the bottom waters only. These stations are also recording sporadic chlorophyll levels over 100 ug/L. These levels can be attributed to these bloom patches Cochlodinium polykrikoides in these areas.

Abundance of HAB phytoplankton (Alexandrium spp., Dinophysis spp. and Pseudo-nitzschia spp.) remained low throughout all areas of the Bay and salt ponds during late August 2018. However, water-discoloring patches of the ‘rust tide’ organism Cochlodinium polykrikoides remain present in areas of the upper Bay, Greenwich Bay, the West Passage and some salt ponds. Sampling has indicated that Cochlodinium abundance in the most-dense patches is in the 300,000 to 1 million cells per liter range, a decline from the levels observed in early August. It is expected that rust tide patches will persist and continue to move around the Bay, dependent on wind, tide and currents until the water cools. Cochlodinium does not produce a toxin that is harmful to humans, so it is safe to swim, fish and shellfish while the rust tide is present. RIDEM will continue to monitor the rust tide during summer and early autumn 2018

BART Water Quality Report 8/18/18-8/24/18:
The cool fronts this week have helped to improve conditions throughout the bay. Bay water temperatures have cooled about 2 degrees (76-78° F). Northerly winds have helped to mix the water column and improve oxygen conditions. As of 8/19/18, most of the bay stations are recording normal oxygen levels for this time of year (DO> 3 mg/L).

A spatial survey conducted this week, revealed low oxygen levels persist in the northwestern portions of Greenwich Bay. The water quality station in this area is reporting about 8 hours a day with oxygen levels between 2-3 mg/L. This is an improvement from last week.

RIDEM is still monitoring patches of ‘rust tide’ caused by an abundance or bloom of a naturally occurring type of phytoplankton called Cochlodinium polykrikoides. While these single celled organisms are small, they can reach abundance levels. Some stations are recording chlorophyll levels over 100 ug/L. These levels can be attributed to these bloom patches. These events will continue to be monitored closely.

BART Water Quality Report 8/11/18-8/17/18:
On 8/10/18, RIDEM Division of Marine Fisheries responded to two fish kill reports in western Greenwich Bay. About 1,000 fish (juvenile menhaden, river herring, juvenile weakfish, eels) were dead near the mouth of Apponaug Cove. Oxygen levels were measured along the docks with a surface DO between 3.3 and 3.6 mg/L. Bottom DO was between 0.09 and 2.40mg/L. Dead shrimp in Greenwich Cove near Chepiwanoxet Point were also reported. In the early morning hours of 8/10/18, oxygen levels were less than 1 mg/L surface to bottom. Low oxygen is the probable cause for these fish kill events.

This week, the western Greenwich Bay station continues to record several hours per day (10-12 hrs) with oxygen concentrations below 2 mg/L. Additional surveys, conducted on 8/15/18, show a large portion of western Greenwich Bay and its coves are still experiencing hypoxic to anoxic conditions. Chlorophyll levels also remain high in the Greenwich Bay area (>30 ug/L). The potential threat of additional fish kills remain high in Greenwich Bay based on the water quality information this week.

In other areas of the bay, bay waters cooled slightly this week (78-81° F). The Providence River and Upper Bay continue to experience intermittent hypoxic conditions in the bottom waters (DO> 3 mg/L). Chlorophyll levels are also elevated in Providence River, Upper Bay and portion of Mt Hope Bay, consisting of primarily Cocholdinium spp. (>25 ug/L). All of these events will continue to be monitored closely.

RIDEM has been monitoring patches of ‘rust tide’ caused by an abundance or bloom of a naturally occurring type of phytoplankton called Cochlodinium polykrikoides. While these single celled organisms are small, they can reach abundance levels of millions of cells in one liter of water. This elevated abundance can cause noticeable water discoloration or rust tide. During July and August 2018 RIDEM has observed Cochlodinium levels of 3 to 8 million cells per liter in rust tide patches in Greenwich Bay, upper Narragansett Bay, Wickford and Bullocks Cove. Cochlodinium does not produce a toxin that is harmful to humans, so it is safe to swim, fish and shellfish while the rust tide is present. RIDEM will continue to monitor the rust tide during summer 2018. For more information, please see the DEM rust tide fact sheet or call RI DEM at (401) 222-4700.

BART Report 8/4/18-8/10/18:
Bay waters warmed a few degrees with the heat wave this week (78-83° F). The western Greenwich Bay station continues to record several hours per day with oxygen concentrations below 2 mg/L. A spatial survey conducted this week showed that most of Greenwich Bay and all its coves are experiencing periods of severe hypoxia to anoxia most of the day (< 1mg/L for more than 6 hours a day). Oxygen levels in the Providence River and Upper Bay have declined further this week. Several areas throughout the Providence River and the Upper Bay are experiencing hypoxic conditions in the bottom waters (DO> 3 mg/L). This is a decline from last week bay wide. Chlorophyll levels remain high in the Greenwich Bay area (>25 ug/L). There is a large bloom in Greenwich Bay consisting of primarily Cocholdinium spp. Chlorophyll levels are also elevated in Providence River, Upper Bay and portion of Mt Hope Bay (>20 ug/L). These large events will continue to be monitored closely.

BART Weekly Report 07/28/18-08/3/18:
Bay waters stayed about the same this week (73-81° F). The western Greenwich Bay station continues to record several hours per day with oxygen concentrations below 2 mg/L. This is a decline from last week. Chlorophyll levels remain high in the Greenwich Bay area (>20 ug/L). Chlorophyll levels have also increased in the Providence River (>20 ug/L). For species information see the harmful algal bloom report (HAB) below. Oxygen levels in the Providence River and Upper Bay have declines slightly, but remain above 3 mg/L. These events will be monitored closely.

July HAB report: Abundance of HAB phytoplankton species (Alexandrium spp., Pseudo-nitzschia spp., Dinophysis spp.) remained low at all locations sampled during July 2018. A single sample collected at Block Island had slightly elevated Alexandrium spp. abundance; a follow-up sample at that location is planned for early August. While not routinely monitored, abundance of Cochlodinium spp. (the dinoflagellate that has the potential to form ‘rust tides’) is on the increase in Greenwich Bay. Several rust-red patches of water, with levels of ~3 million Cochlodinium cells per liter, were observed at the mouth of Apponaug Cove and in Greenwich Cove on 7/30/2018. HAB phytoplankton monitoring will continue, with the next report expected in early September.

BART Weekly Report 07/7/18-07/13/18:
Bay waters warmed slightly this week (71-81° F).Dissolved oxygen concentration in the Providence River have improved this week. As of 7/12/18, all stations reporting dissolved oxygen above 3 mg/L, except Greenwich Bay. The western Greenwich Bay station continues to record several hours per day with oxygen concentrations below 2.5 mg/L. This is an improvement from last week. Chlorophyll levels have declined, but remain slightly elevated in the Providence River, Greenwich Bay, and Upper Mt. Hope Bay (>20 µ/L). These events will be monitored closely.

BART Weekly Report 07/14/18-07/20/18:
Bay water temperatures stayed about the same this week (72-79° F). The coves, such as Greenwich Bay, are reporting the highest temperatures. Western Greenwich Bay station continues to record several hours per day with oxygen concentrations below 3 mg/L. All stations throughout the Upper Bay are recording oxygen concentrations above 3 mg/L.Chlorophyll levels are not elevated at any station this week (<20 µ/L). This is an improvement from last week.

BART Weekly Report 06/30/18-07/6/18:
With the warm air this week, bay water temperatures have warmed about 3-8 degrees (69-80° F). The coves, such as Greenwich Bay, are reporting the highest temperatures. A spatial survey conducted this week by Brown University revealed several cove areas with hypoxic conditions (DO< 3 mg/L). Greenwich Bay, Bristol Harbor and the Providence River documented dissolved oxygen concentrations between 1-3 mg/L. As of 6/20/18, the western Greenwich Bay station continues to record several hours per day with oxygen concentrations below 2.5 mg/L. Stations within the Upper Bay are recording oxygen concentrations above 3 mg/L. This is a decline from last week. Chlorophyll levels remain elevated in the Providence River, Greenwich Bay, and Upper Mt. Hope Bay (>20 ug/L). These events will be monitored closely.

BART Weekly Report 06/23/18-06/29/18:
Water temperatures stayed about the same this week (66-73° F). Chlorophyll levels remain elevated in the Providence River, Greenwich Bay, and Upper Mt. Hope Bay (>20 ug/L). As of 6/20/18, the western Greenwich Bay station is reporting low oxygen condition for about 6 hours per day (2< bottom DO >3 mg/L). All other stations are reporting normal oxygen concentrations for this time of year (DO> 4 mg/L).

BART Weekly Report 06/16/18-06/22/18:
Water temperatures increased about 5 degrees this week (66-73° F). Chlorophyll levels have increased in the Providence River, Greenwich Bay, and Upper Mt. Hope Bay (>20 ug/L). Dissolved oxygen levels have declined in Greenwich Bay. As of 6/20/18, the western Greenwich Bay station is reporting low oxygen condition for about 6 hours per day (2< bottom DO >3 mg/L).
Below is the harmful algal bloom (HAB) report from RIDEM's shell fishing program for the month of June.
HAB Report for June 2018: HAB phytoplankton monitoring completed by RI DEM and RI DOH during June 2018 indicated that there was an increase in Pseudo-nitzschia spp. in early through mid-June. Pseudo-nitzschia abundance increased to greater than 50,000 cells per liter (more than twice the 20,000 cells per liter Pseudo-nitzschia HAB monitoring action level) at multiple location in the East and West Passages south of Prudence Island during early June (samples collected on 6/4/18 and 6/6/18). Follow-up sampling on 6/11/18 and 6/12/18 in the lower Bay and lab analysis indicated that domoic acid was being produces at low levels in the plankton in the lower Bay. Shellfish (mussels) collected at sentinel sites in the lower Bay were analyzed and, fortunately, were found to have either no domoic acid present or extremely low (1/500th the FDA standard) levels of domoic acid present. By the third week of June (samples collected 6/18/18 and 6/19/18), Pseudo-nitzschia abundance had declined to ~10,000 cells per liter or less as the bloom appears to have declined throughout the Bay. Pseudo-nitzschia abundance in the coastal salt ponds (samples collected in Pt. Judith, Potter, Ninigret, Quonochontaug and Winnapaug Ponds and Little Narragansett Bay) remained low during June 2018. Abundance of other HAB species (Alexandrium spp. and Dinophysis spp.) remained low and far below levels of concern in all areas monitored during June 2018.

BART Weekly Report 06/09/18-06/15/18:
Water temperatures stayed about the same this week (61-67° F). All stations are reporting normal oxygen conditions (>4 mg/L).

BART Weekly Report 06/03/18-06/08/18:
Water temperatures increased slightly this week (61-66° F). Chlorophyll levels are slightly elevated in Mt Hope Bay and Greenwich Bay (<15 ug/L). All stations are reporting normal oxygen conditions (<4 mg/L).

RI DEM/DOH HAB phytoplankton monitoring report for May 2018
HAB phytoplankton monitoring completed by RI DEM and RI DOH during May 2018 indicated that Pseudo-nitzschia spp. abundance declined from thousands of cells per liter in early May to much lower levels from mid-May through the end of the month. Alexandrium abundance increased during mid-May (15-23 May) at multiple locations throughout the Bay. Four samples from the various areas (Upper Bay, West Passage, Little Narragansett Bay) exceeded the 1,000 cell/L Alexandrium action level. All four of these samples tested negative for saxitoxin in the plankton by Scotia tests. Samples collected in late May suggest that Alexandrium abundance has declined following the brief mid-May 2018 increase. Dinophysis abundance has begun its summer increase, but remained far below actions levels during May 2018.

BART Weekly Report: 5/27/18-6/2/18
The water quality monitoring stations were established this week. Water temperatures are normal for this time of year (60-65° F). Chlorophyll levels are slightly elevated in Mt Hope Bay and Greenwich Bay (>15 ug/L). All stations are reporting normal oxygen conditions (>4 mg/L).

DEM/DOH HAB phytoplankton monitoring report for 9/15/2017 to 10/20/17:
HAB Phytoplankton monitoring during the second half of September and October 2017 indicated that Alexandrium spp. (responsible for PSP) and Dinophysis spp. (responsible for DSP) were either absent or present at very low levels throughout all areas sampled in Narragansett Bay, coastal salt ponds and Block Island.
Abundance of Pseudo-nitzschia spp. (responsible for ASP) had been elevated (near 20,000 cells per liter) in lower Narragansett Bay and along the coast during early September 2017. However, Pseudo-nitzschia abundance in those areas declined dramatically to 0 to 1,000 cells per liter following the sustained northeast winds of Tropical storm Maria. During October 2017, Pseudo-nitzschia was largely absent or at low abundance throughout Narragansett Bay. Modest levels of Pseudo-nitzschia (1,000 to 7,000 cells per liter, well below the threshold of concern) remained in the coastal waters near the breach-ways of the coastal salt ponds during late October 2017. HAB phytoplankton monitoring by RI DEM and RI Department of Health will continue through the winter months.

BART Weekly Report: 9/9/17-9/15/17
Water temperatures stayed about the same this week throughout the Bay (69-71° F). As of 9/7/17, all stations were reporting normal conditions for this time of year (DO> 3 mg/L; CHL< 20ug/L).

DEM/DOH HAB phytoplankton monitoring report for 9/1/2017 to 9/15/2017:
Phytoplankton monitoring carried out by RI DEM and RI Department of Health indicated that abundance of Pseudo-nitzschia spp. has increased in offshore waters along the RI coast during the first two weeks of September 2017. Samples collected at the entrance to the East Passage (Brenton Reef), West Passage (Whale Rock) and at the entrance to Pt. Judith Pond all had Pseudo-nitzschia abundance of near or slightly above 20,000 cells per liter. Follow-up sampling of shellfish in these areas showed no evidence of domoic acid accumulation in the shellfish. Abundance of Pseudo-nitzschia spp. remained far below the threshold of concern in Upper Narragansett Bay, Greenwich Bay, Mt. Hope Bay and the Sakonnet River. Other HAB phytoplankton species (Alexandrium spp. and Dinophysis spp.) were either absent or remained at low abundance levels throughout all areas. We will continue to track Pseudo-nitzschia abundance in the lower Bay and along the south coast of RI over the next several weeks.

BART Weekly Report: 9/2/17-9/8/17
Water temperatures continued to cool this week throughout the Bay (69-71° F). As of 9/7/17, all stations were reporting normal conditions for this time of year (DO> 3 mg/L; CHL< 20ug/L. Water clarity has also improved this week bay wide.

BART Weekly Report: 8/27/17-9/1/17
Water temperatures cooled this week throughout the Bay (69-73° F). The bay proper remains well mixed this week with normal conditions (DO > 3 mg/L). In Greenwich Bay and Providence River areas chlorophyll levels (CHL) remain elevated (CHL> 20 ug/L). The elevated chlorophyll levels in Greenwich Bay are related to a persistent patchy bloom event. This bloom event is associated with small patches of ‘rust tide’ Cochlodinium polykrikoides, which is not harmful to human health. These patches were noted in Greenwich Bay and its coves for the past few weeks. For more information on the Cochlodium bloom, see HAB report below.

As of 8/27/17, oxygen levels in the bottom waters have remained low intermittently (several hours per day) in Greenwich Bay and its coves only. Dissolved oxygen readings are between DO 1-3 mg/L at the stations in these areas. A spatial survey conducted this week, led by Brown University, revealed hypoxic to anoxic levels throughout the day in western Greenwich Bay and its coves (DO between 0-3 mg/L). These low oxygen and bloom events will continue to be monitored closely.

HAB phytoplankton monitoring report for 8/18/17 to 8/31/17:Phytoplankton monitoring has indicated an absence of Alexandrium spp. in all areas sampled during the second week of August 2017. Similarly, Dinophysis spp. were either absent or present at only low concentrations of less than 100 cells per liter in all areas sampled. However, an increase in abundance of Pseudo-nitzschia spp. was noted in some areas during the second half of August. Pseudo-nitzschia spp. increased to levels of hundreds to low thousands of cells per liter in the lower West Passage, Lower East Passage and at the entrances to some coastal salt ponds. Pseudo-nitzschia spp. were either absent or present at low levels of less than 100 cells per liter in Upper Narragansett Bay, Greenwich Bay, Mt. Hope Bay and the Sakonnet River. Patches of Cochlodinium polykrikoides (‘rust tide’) were noted in Greenwich Bay during late August 2017. Cochlodinium patches in the Bay during August 2017 have been less extensive than those observed during 2016. The RI DEM and RI Department of Health will continue to monitor for potentially harmful algae, with the next report in mid-September 2017.

BART Weekly Report: 8/20/17-8/26/17
Water temperatures stayed about the same again this week throughout the Bay (72-78° F). The bay proper remains well mixed this week with normal conditions (DO > 3 mg/L). In Greenwich Bay and Providence River areas chlorophyll levels (CHL) are elevated and surface waters are super saturated (CHL> 20 ug/L; DO> 125%). The elevated chlorophyll levels in Greenwich Bay are related to a bloom event that is occurring in this area. The bloom event is associated with small patches of ‘rust tide’ Cochlodinium polykrikoides, which is not harmful to human health. These patches were noted in Greenwich Bay for the past few weeks.

Since 8/14/17, oxygen levels in the bottom waters have remained low intermittently (several hours per day) in the Seekonk and Providence Rivers, Greenwich Bay and western Mt Hope Bay. Dissolved oxygen readings are between DO 1-3 mg/L at the stations in these areas. A spatial survey conducted this week, led by Brown University, revealed hypoxic to anoxic levels throughout the day in western Greenwich Bay and its coves (DO between 0-3 mg/L). These low oxygen and bloom events will continue to be monitored closely.

BART Weekly Report: 8/12/17-8/19/17
Water temperatures stayed about the same again this week throughout the Bay (72-78° F). The bay proper remains well mixed this week with normal conditions (DO > 3 mg/L). In Greenwich Bay and Providence River areas chlorophyll levels (CHL) are elevated and surface waters are super saturated (CHL> 20 ug/L; DO> 125%). The elevated chlorophyll levels in Greenwich Bay are related to a bloom event that is occurring in this area (see below).

As of 8/14/17, oxygen levels in the bottom waters have declined in the Seekonk and Providence Rivers, Greenwich Bay and western Mt Hope Bay. Dissolved oxygen readings are between DO 1-3 mg/L at the stations in these areas. A spatial survey conducted this week, led by Brown University, revealed hypoxic to anoxic levels throughout the day in western Greenwich Bay and its coves (DO between 0-3 mg/L). These low oxygen and bloom events will continue to be monitored closely.

Abundance of potentially harmful algae remained low during the first two weeks of August 2017. HAB (Harmful Algal Bloom) species were either absent or at low abundance levels of less than 1,000 cells per liter in twenty one (21) samples collected at sites in Upper Narragansett Bay, Greenwich Bay, Mt. Hope Bay, the coastal salt ponds and at Block Island. Alexandrium spp. was absent in all samples, Dinophysis was absent or at less than 100 cells/L in all samples and Pseudo-nitzschia spp. was absent in 19 of 21 samples collected during the first two weeks of August 2017. Pseudo-nitzschia spp. was detected at low levels (~1,000 cells per liter) at only one offshore site and at the breachway entrance to one of the salt ponds. Small patches of ‘rust tide’ Cochlodinium polykrikoides, which is not harmful to human health, were noted in Greenwich Bay. DEM and RI will continue to monitor for potentially harmful algae, with the next report in late August 2017.

BART Weekly Report: 8/5/17-8/11/17
Water temperatures stayed about the same this week throughout the Bay (72-78° F). The bay proper remains well mixed this week. All stations are reporting normal oxygen conditions (DO > 3 mg/L). As of 8/4/17, surface chlorophyll levels declined throughout the bay (CHL < 20 µg/L).

Larval crabs (Polyonyx spp) have been observed throughout the bay this week.

BART Weekly Report: 7/29/17-8/4/17
Water temperatures warmed this week throughout the Bay (72-78° F). The bay proper remains well mixed this week with normal conditions (DO > 3 mg/L). In the Mt Hope Bay, Greenwich Bay, and Providence River areas chlorophyll levels (CHL) are elevated and surface waters are super saturated (CHL> 20 ug/L; DO> 125%). The elevated chlorophyll levels in Greenwich Bay are related to a bloom event that is occurring in this area.

Harmful algae bloom monitoring by RI DEM and the RI Department of Health showed that abundance of potentially harmful species of phytoplankton remained low during the first week of August 2017. Alexandrium spp. was absent in all samples and Dinophysis spp. remained at low levels of 0-100 cells per liter. Pseudo-nitzschia spp. was absent or at low levels in the Upper Bay and remained at low levels of approximately 2,000 cells per liter in the lower Sakonnet River. Abundance of the non-toxic ‘rust tide’ forming dinoflagellate Cochlodinium polykrikoides has started to increase. Small rust red patches of Cochlodinium at levels of 1 – 2 million cells per liter were observed in Greenwich Bay at the mouth of Greenwich Cove and Apponaug Cove.

As of 7/31/17, oxygen levels in the bottom waters have declined in these areas. Dissolved oxygen levels are low in the Providence River, Upper Bay area, Greenwich Bay and Upper Mt Hope Bay (DO 1-3 mg/L). A spatial survey conducted this week, led by Brown University, revealed hypoxic to anoxic levels throughout the day in western Greenwich Bay and its coves (DO between 0-3 mg/L). These low oxygen and bloom events will continue to be monitored closely.

BART Weekly Report: 7/22/17-7/28/17
With the cool front early in the week, Bay water temperatures have cooled a few degrees this week (69-75° F). With cool conditions and high winds this week, the bay water column is well mixed. As a result, oxygen levels at all station have recovered to normal conditions (DO > 3 mg/L). Chlorophyll levels are low at all stations (<10 µg/L). Another spatial survey is scheduled for next week.
Abundance of potentially harmful phytoplankton remained below levels of concern during the second half of July 2017. Samples collected between July 17thand July 27th indicated that Alexandrium spp were absent in most samples, with a maximum abundance of 80 cells per liter. Similarly, Pseudo-nitzschia spp. were absent in 20 of 22 samples and were present at a maximum of only 130 cells per liter. Dinophysis spp. were present at low abundance levels of 40 to 120 cells per liter. RI DEM and the RI Department of Health will continue to monitor potentially harmful algae through the year.

BART Weekly Report: 7/15/17-7/21/17
Water temperatures warmed this week throughout the Bay (73-78° F). Chlorophyll levels remain elevated in Mt Hope Bay, Greenwich Bay.and the Providence River (>20 µg/L). As of 7/18/17, oxygen levels have declined bay wide. Dissolved oxygen levels are low in the Providence River, Upper Bay area, Greenwich Bay and Upper Mt Hope Bay (DO 1-3 mg/L). Western Greenwich Bay continues to report hypoxic to anoxic levels in the early morning hours (DO between 0-3 mg/L for 6-8 hours per day). Stations in the Upper West Passage are reporting normal oxygen conditions (>3 mg/L). These low oxygen events will continue to be monitored closely.
Larval crabs (Polyonyx spp)are continuing to be observed in the Upper West Passage of Narragansett Bay.

BART Weekly Report: 7/8/17-7/14/17
Water temperatures stayed about the same this week throughout the Bay (71-77° F). As of Chlorophyll levels remain elevated in Mt Hope Bay and the Providence River (>20 µg/L). As of 7/8/17, oxygen levels have rebounded bay wide. Dissolved oxygen levels remain low Upper Mt Hope Bay (DO < 2 mg/L). Greenwich Bay continues to report low oxygen levels in the early morning hours (DO between 2-3 mg/L for 6-8 hours per day). All other NBFSMN stations are reporting normal oxygen conditions (>3 mg/L). This low oxygen event will be monitored closely.

Routine harmful algae bloom (HAB) monitoring by RI DEM and RI Department of Health indicated that abundance of potentially harmful phytoplankton is currently below thresholds of concern. Abundance of harmful algae remained low during the last week of June and the first two weeks of July 2017. Water samples (n = 39) collected in the coastal salt ponds, off Block Island, along the coast south of Newport and Jamestown, in the Sakonnet River, in Upper Narragansett Bay and in the East and West Passages of the Bay showed a consistent pattern of low abundance of potentially harmful phytoplankton at all locations. Abundance of Alexandrium spp. was low (0 to 75 cells per liter), Dinophysis spp. abundance was also low (0 to 4,000 cells per liter) and Pseudo-nitzschia spp. abundance remained low (0 to 4,000 cells per liter).

Larval crabs have been observed in Mt Hope Bay (Polyonyx spp) and the Warwick Neck areas of Narragansett Bay.

BART Weekly Report: 7/1/17-7/7/17
Water temperatures increased this week throughout the Bay (71-77° F). As of 7/2/17, chlorophyll levels have been elevated in Mt Hope Bay and the Providence River (>25 µg/L). Since 7/3/17, oxygen levels have declined bay wide. A spatial survey lead by Brown University this week revealed patches of low oxygen in the Providence River, Mt Hope Bay, and Upper Bay(DO < 3 mg/L, in some areas). Dissolved oxygen levels are lowest in Upper Mt Hope Bay (DO < 2 mg/L). Greenwich Bay continues to report low oxygen levels in the early morning hours (DO between 2-3 mg/L for 6-8 hours per day). All other NBFSMN stations are reporting normal oxygen conditions (>3 mg/L). This low oxygen event will be monitored closely.

BART Weekly Report: 6/24/17-6/30/17
Water temperatures stayed about the same this week throughout the Bay (69-73° F). Chlorophyll levels are no longer elevated in the Upper Bay, Mount Hope Bay, and Greenwich Bay (<20 µg/L). Since 6/23/17, Greenwich Bay is reporting low oxygen levels in the early morning hours (DO between 2-3 mg/L for 6-8 hours per day). All other NBFSMN stations are reporting normal oxygen conditions (>3 mg/L).

BART Weekly Report: 6/17/17-6/23/17
Water temperatures continued to increase this week throughout the Bay (65-73° F). Chlorophyll levels are elevated in the Upper Bay, Mount Hope Bay, and Greenwich Bay (>20 µg/L). Earlier in the week (6/19/17-6/20/17), low oxygen was reported at a few locations in the Upper Bay (DO <3 mg/L). As of 6/21/17, all NBFSMN stations are reporting normal oxygen conditions (>4 mg/L).

Harmful algae bloom (HAB) monitoring by RI DEM and RI Department of Health showed an increase in abundance of Pseudo-nitzschia spp. during the second week of June 2017. Pseudo-nitzschia spp. abundance of greater than 100,000 cells/L was detected at several stations in the lower Bay and in Block Island Sound. Follow-up sampling during the third week of June indicated that Pseudo-nitzschia abundance was declining in these areas. Pseudo-nitzschia abundance remained low (0 to 3,500 cells/L) at all stations sampled in Greenwich Bay and Upper Narragansett Bay during the first three weeks of June. Abundance of other HAB phytoplankton species remained low during June, with no Alexandrium spp. detected and low abundance of Dinophysis spp. (0 to 1,000 cells/L).

BART Weekly Report: 6/10/17-6/16/17
Water temperatures increased this week throughout the Bay (63-70° F). Chlorophyll levels are elevated in the Providence River and Greenwich Bay (>20 µg/L). A spatial survey, through Brown University, was conducted this week throughout the Upper Bay. This survey revealed low oxygen in the coves of Greenwich Bay (2-3mg/L). All NBFSMN stations are reporting normal oxygen conditions (>4 mg/L).

BART Weekly Report: 6/3/17-6/9/17
The water quality monitoring stations were established this week. Water temperatures are normal for this time of year (60-63° F). Chlorophyll levels are elevated in the Providence River and Greenwich Bay (>20 µg/L). All stations are reporting normal oxygen conditions (>4 mg/L).

The RIDEM and Department of Health conducted synoptic harmful algae bloom (HAB) phytoplankton monitoring on Tuesday May 30, 2017. Samples were collected at 24 locations in RI marine waters spanning from Upper Narragansett Bay to the nearshore waters south of Jamestown, Newport and Sakonnet, five salt ponds and Block Island. Results showed that HAB phytoplankton species were either absent or, if present, were present at low levels. Alexandrium spp. were present from 0 to 100 cells/L, Pseudo-nitzschia spp. were present from 0 to 500 cells/L and Dinophysis spp. were present from 0 to 250 cells/L.

BART Weekly Report: 5/28/17-6/2/17
The water quality monitoring stations were established this week. Water temperatures are normal for this time of year (60-62° F). All stations are reporting normal oxygen conditions (>4 mg/L).

Here is an update on RI DEM and RI DOH harmful algae bloom (HAB) sampling results for May 2017: Low numbers of HAB species were detected, but HAB species abundance remains below levels of concern. RI DEM will continue routine monitoring of HAB phytoplankton species in RI shellfish growing waters during the summer 2017 season.

BART Weekly Report: 9/24/16-9/30/16
Water temperatures continued to cool this week (69-72° F). There is a uniform water column with high winds this week. All stations are reporting normal oxygen conditions for this time of year (>4 mg/L). The Cochlodinium has become more sporadic; earlier this week, the only patches were observed in Mount Hope Bay. It is expected to see the bloom event decline with the cooling temperatures. For more information about Cochlodinium, please see this downloadable fact sheet.

BART Weekly Report: 9/18/16-9/23/16
Water temperatures cooled only slightly this week (72-74° F). The water column is more uniform, with no evidence of stratification. All stations are reporting normal oxygen conditions for this time of year (>3 mg/L). Greenwich Bay is reporting the lowest oxygen readings this week at 3.2 mg/L on average. The NBFSMN stations are still recording the Cochlodinium event as elevated chlorophyll in patches around Narragansett Bay. However, the bloom patches have become more sporadic this week. Chlorophyll levels range between 5-55 µg/L at most stations in Narragansett Bay. Elevated chlorophyll levels were recorded at Mount Hope Bay and Greenwich Bay (>30 µg/L). All other parameters are reporting normal for this time of year. Schools of menhaden have been spotted throughout Greenwich Bay.

BART Weekly Report: 9/11/16-9/17/16
The NBFSMN stations are still recording the Cochlodinium event as elevated chlorophyll in patches around Narragansett Bay. Chlorophyll levels range between 5-55 µg/L at most stations in Narragansett Bay. Elevated chlorophyll was recorded at Mount Hope Bay, Poppasquash Point and Greenwich Bay (>30 µg/L). All other parameters are reporting normal for this time of year. Temperatures continue to cool this week (72-77° F). Also, all stations are reporting normal oxygen conditions for this time of year (>4 mg/L), except Greenwich Cove. In Greenwich Cove, oxygen readings are below 2 mg/L. Schools of menhaden have been spotted in Greenwich Bay.

BART Weekly Report: 9/3/16-9/10/16
RI DEM's Office of Water Resources has been observing and receiving reports of patches of rust-red water visible at the surface in portions of Narragansett Bay, Mount Hope Bay and some RI coastal salt ponds over the past several weeks. RI DEM staff have sampled these red water patches during late August and early September 2016 and identified the causative organism. The red water is caused by a bloom of large numbers of naturally occurring microscopic phytoplankton. More specifically, the rust-tide, as it is commonly referred, observed in RI waters is caused by a dinoflagellate called Cochlodinium polykrikoides. Red water patches sampled in RI waters during the 2016 bloom have contained 1 million to 6 million Cochlodinium cells per liter. Cochlodinium has red photosynthetic pigments which cause the rust-red color visible on the water surface. This "rust tide" should not be confused with "red tide" that has led to shellfish closures in other New England states.

The rust-tide dinoflagellate is non-toxic to humans, even if ingested. However, Cochlodinium produces a hydrogen-peroxide like compound that may damage delicate gill tissue of finfish and shellfish exposed to a concentrated population of the dinoflagellate. Accumulations or blooms of Cochlodinium appear to be a regional phenomenon this summer, with water-discoloring 'rust tides' of Cochlodinium observed in Peconic Bay off the eastern end of Long Island (NY), and in Buzzards Bay (MA) and off Martha's Vineyard (MA). Persistence of this non-toxic bloom in RI waters is highly dependent on weather, but this species generally blooms in warm water and the population is anticipated to decline as water temperature cools to 60° F or less. RI DEM staff will continue to monitor the bloom over the next several weeks.

The NBFSMN stations have been recording this event as elevated chlorophyll. Chlorophyll levels range between 5-45 µg/L at most stations in Narragansett Bay. Elevated chlorophyll were recorded at Conimicut Point, Mount Hope Bay, Poppasquash Point and Greenwich Bay (>30 µg/L). All other parameter are reporting normal for this time of year. Temperatures continue to cool this week (73-78° F). Also, all stations are reporting normal oxygen conditions for this time of year (>4 mg/L).

As of September 10, two new stations were established in Mount Hope Bay, near Cole and Taunton Rivers in Massachusetts. These buoys are funded through MA DEP.

BART Weekly Report: 8/27/16-9/2/16
Temperatures cooled slightly this week (75-79° F). Chlorophyll levels range between 5-35 µg/L at most stations in Narragansett Bay. Elevated chlorophyll was only recorded at Poppasquash Point and Greenwich Bay (>20 µg/L). Overall, conditions at all stations are reporting normal oxygen conditions for this time of year (>4 mg/L).

BART Weekly Report: 8/20/16-8/26/16
Temperatures stayed about the same this week (75-81° F). Chlorophyll levels range between 5-25 µg/L at most stations in Narragansett Bay. A spatial survey led by Brown University this week revealed low dissolved oxygen at surface and at depth in the Seekonk and Providence Rivers (<3mg/L). Hypoxic conditions were observed at the bottom from Phillipsdale to the area off Sabin Point. Low oxygen was also reported in Greenwich Cove. Overall, water south of Conimicut Point were clear, well mixed and normal oxygen conditions for this time of year (>4 mg/L). Water clarity was relatively high throughout the Bay, with overall secchi disk readings about 2 m. Large numbers of comb jellies (phylum Ctenophora) have been observed throughout the Bay.

BART Weekly Report: 8/13/16-8/19/16
With the heat wave, surface temperatures have continued to warm this week (75-81° F). Chlorophyll levels range between 5-25 µg/L throughout Narragansett Bay. As of August 17, most stations are reporting oxygen levels above 4 mg/L. The water column is well mixed and all parameters are normal for this time of year.

BART Weekly Report: 8/6/16-8/12/16
With the heat wave this week, surface temperatures have increase about 2 degrees (73-81° F). Chlorophyll levels range between 5-25 µg/L at most stations in Narragansett Bay. A spatial survey led by Brown University this week revealed low oxygen in the Seekonk and Providence Rivers from Phillipsdale to the southern tip of Fields Point (<3 mg/L). Values near the bottom ranged from 1.06 to 2.2 mg/L and the lowest DO of 0.35 mg/L was measured near the bottom off of Save the Bay on the Edgewood Flats. Greenwich Bay has also been reporting low oxygen (<3mg/L) since August 10. This low oxygen event will be monitored closely. Large numbers of larval crabs (including Genus Portunus and Polyonyx) have been observed throughout the Bay.

BART Weekly Report: 7/30/16-8/5/16
Surface temperatures decreased slightly this week (73-79° F). Chlorophyll levels range between 5-20 µg/L. The Bay is well mixed and most stations are reporting normal conditions for this time of year.

BART Weekly Report: 7/23/16-7/29/16
Surface temperatures continued to increase slightly this week (74-81° F). Chlorophyll levels range between 5-25 µg/L. As of July 27, oxygen levels have increased to concentrations over 3 mg/L in western Greenwich Bay. Most stations are reporting normal conditions for this time of year.

BART Weekly Report: 7/16/16-7/22/16
Surface temperatures continued to increase slightly this week (73-78° F). Chlorophyll levels have declined throughout the week in most areas with levels ranging between 5-25 µg/L. Periods of low oxygen appear to only be persisting in western Greenwich Bay this week. This area is reporting oxygen concentrations below 3 mg/L for about 4-8 hrs per day. This event will be monitored closely. A spatial survey of the Upper Bay area led by Brown University is scheduled for July 28.

BART Weekly Report: 7/9/16-7/15/16
Surface temperatures stayed within the same range as last week (72-77° F). A persistent chlorophyll bloom that began on June 30 in western Greenwich Bay, areas in the Providence River, and areas within Mount Hope Bay has continued (>20 µg/L). These areas are also documenting periods of low oxygen (<3 mg/L) about 4 to 8 hours per day. Greenwich Cove is reporting near anoxic conditions (<1 mg/L). These events will continue to be monitored closely.

BART Weekly Report: 7/2/16-7/8/16
Surface temperatures continued to increase this week (72-77° F). As of June 30, a chlorophyll bloom has been observed in western Greenwich Bay, areas in the Providence River, and areas within Mount Hope Bay (>20 µg/L). As a result, water clarity has declined this week. These areas are also documenting periods of low oxygen (<3mg/L) about 4 to 8 hours per day. These events will be monitored closely. A spatial survey, led by Brown University, is scheduled for next week. Other observations this week include large numbers of larval crabs (Genus: Portunus and Polyonyx) throughout the Bay.

BART Weekly Report: 6/25/16-7/1/16
Surface temperatures continue to increase this week (68-75° F). As of June 28, a chlorophyll bloom has been documented in western Greenwich Bay and Greenwich Cove (>20 µg/L). Western Greenwich Bay is also presently experiencing periods (4-6 hours per day) of low oxygen (<3 mg/L). All other stations are reporting normal conditions for this time of year.

BART Weekly Report: 6/18/16-6/24/16
Surface temperatures continue to increase this week (67-74° F). As of June 19, oxygen levels in the Upper Bay have begun to decline; however, they do remain above 3 mg/L at all stations. All other parameters are normal for this time of year.

BART Weekly Report: 6/11/16-6/17/16
Surface temperatures have increased slightly this week (67-71° F). The water column throughout the Upper Bay is fairly uniform due to strong winds earlier in the week. As a result, all parameters are normal for this time of year. A spatial survey led by Brown University, conducted on 6/16/16, showed only one location in the Providence River with low oxygen (<3 mg/L). The rest of sample area of the Upper Bay, including Greenwich Bay, reported dissolved oxygen readings all above 3 mg/L.

BART Weekly Report: 6/4/16-6/10/16
Surface temperatures have increased slightly this week (67-69° F). The water column throughout the Upper Bay is fairly uniform due to the strong winds throughout most of the week. As a result, all parameters are normal for this time of year. Dissolved oxygen readings are above 3 mg/L. A spatial survey led by Brown University will be conducted this coming week.

BART Weekly Report: 5/29/16-6/3/16
The buoys were deployed throughout Narragansett Bay this week. The first reports show all parameters are normal for this time of year. Dissolved oxygen readings are above 3 mg/L. Surface bay temperatures are 66-68° F on average. Schools of menhaden have been observed in the Upper Bay.

Rhode Island contacts for sightings of the crab:

Kevin R. Cute, Marine Resources Specialist
Coastal Resources Management Council
Stedman Government Center
4808 Tower Hill Road
Wakefield, Rhode Island 02879
Phone: 401-783-3370
Fax: 401-783-3767
Email: kcute@crmc.ri.gov

Chris Deacutis, Chief Scientist
Narragansett Bay Estuary Program
URI Bay Campus 02882
Phone: 401-874-6217
Fax: 401-874-6869
Email: deacutis@gso.uri.edu

David Gregg, Executive Director
RI Natural History Survey
PO Box 1858
Kingston, Rhode Island 02881
Phone: 401-874-5800
Fax: 401-874-5868
Email: dgregg@rinhs.org