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The Project

Rhode Island Stormwater Solutions was developed to educate Rhode Island residents about stormwater.

Our First Project (2006–2011)

Our Second Project (2014-2019)

Rhode Island is the smallest state, but like most other larger states, it has a big stormwater pollution problem. Stormwater runoff is now the leading cause of pollution to Rhode Island waters. It degrades water quality, closes beaches, and restricts shellfishing. And those are only a few of the effects of stormwater!

In a statewide effort to tackle this problem, the University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension, Rhode Island Department of Transportation, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Southern Rhode Island Conservation District, and a diverse advisory group, developed Rhode Island Stormwater Solutions. We are a statewide public education and outreach project to get Rhode Islanders thinking about stormwater— what it is, why it’s a problem, and what simple steps every individual can take to help protect our state’s beloved water resources.

The Rhode Island Stormwater Solutions project has its roots in other larger programs. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) was given the authority to implement the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Program. It does this through the Rhode Island Pollution Discharge Elimination System (RIPDES) permit program. Most of Rhode Island’s cities and towns, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, and six other institutions with stormwater drainage systems (e.g., The University of Rhode Island, Newport Naval Base, Quonset Development Corporation), collectively known as Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems, or MS4s, are regulated under this authority. They are required to obtain a stormwater discharge permit and to prepare a comprehensive stormwater management plan.

Where does Rhode Island Stormwater Solutions fit in? Each stormwater management plan must incorporate a series of minimum measures that are expected to significantly reduce stormwater pollution when applied together- including a public education and outreach strategy and opportunities for public involvement and participation. The Rhode Island Stormwater Solutions project was developed to assist municipalities, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, and other MS4s implement effective stormwater education and outreach in compliance with state and federal stormwater requirements. By promoting public awareness of stormwater impacts, developing education and outreach methods and materials, providing model ordinances for local stormwater management, and providing trainings about updated stormwater management practices, Rhode Island Stormwater Solutions has taken an important step toward helping Rhode Islanders keep their water resources healthy.