Save The Bay: Protecting the Ocean State for over 50 years

When I think of iconic Rhode Island stickers, the red Save The Bay is up there with “Hi Neighbor, Have a ‘Gansett” and Andre the Giant. It’s been around as long as I can remember, and that makes sense as the organization was founded in 1970, and so it's pretty much tracking with my 50ish year old life. I haven’t had much interaction with the organization over the years, save sticker recognition and when my husband did the Bay swim, and so take this blog as a long overdue shout-out. For over 50 years Save The Bay has been working on my behalf, and for all Rhode Islanders, making sure the waters of Rhode Island remain the cleanest and healthiest they can be.

If you are unfamiliar with the water situation in Rhode Island, google a map and check it out.  There are 400 miles of shoreline! It seems like an enormous task to manage, but that’s not the half of it.  Watershed coming from inland rivers and streams as far as Worcester, MA impact the waters of our Narragansett Bay, and so Save The Bay works with all of those ecosystems as well. Save The Bay addresses all the factors which affect the Bay to make it, as they say, “fully swimmable, fishable, and accessible to all”.  

 Doing marsh work in Tiverton. Photo provided by Save The Bay.

They do this by a lot of hands-on work, like organizing beach and coastal clean-ups around the state, as well as salt marsh restoration projects. They take water samples to monitor the health of the water. They also focus on education and community outreach to inform the public about best ways individuals can contribute to a safe Bay, such as which lawn chemicals are healthiest for run-off and which native plants help filter pollutants from going into the Bay.  

Photo provided by Save The Bay

Some stats from 2020: 1222 water samples taken, 67,130 salt marsh grasses planted, 10,567 kids in marine science education programs, 29,234 pound of trash picked up!

 Plantings on Barrington Beach. Photo provided by Save The Bay.

Save the Bay also brings a voice to alert the public, and local and state government, to possible negative effects of industry or other development that impacts the Bay. Industry was started here in Rhode Island, by the way, with the Industrial Revolution taking off in Pawtucket. With industry advances there is often industry waste, and much of it ended up in Narragansett Bay. Save The Bay not only cleans up the Bay; they also try to keep it from getting mucked up again.

They also run this incredible Save The Bay Swim, which I mentioned above. This is a fundraiser for them, and an outreach event, but it has taken on a life of its own with its popularity over the years. The swim spans 2 miles from Newport to Jamestown, RI, and brings swimmers from all over to participate. 

DB, Henry and PaPa at the Bay swim, 2005

I am grateful to have Save The Bay working for me and all of us to help maintain the healthy waters around me. They are an inspiration to me, to do my part to keep Narragansett Bay clean, and also to promote the environmental benefits of resale here at Second Serve. Keep up the good work Save The Bay!  And congrats on being on the other side of 50!

Narragansett Bay, and the Newport Bridge. Painting by Jim Bush, another RI treasure. 

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