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Bay Water Quality Report

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