Building a Stronger Coast
Soil science: the real dirt behind coastal resilience

Jim Turenne holds a peat sample from what was a freshwater cedar swamp – now a tidal system and pond. Credit: Soil Survey Staff

August 28, 2015 - Jim Turenne began working on county soil surveys in Massachusetts as a field soil mapper in 1987 for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service - or NRCS - a collaborative partner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As Rhode Island’s assistant state soil scientist, Turenne is in charge the soil survey program, which also involves collecting core soil samples for a federally funded Hurricane Sandy resilience project to increase marsh elevation at at John H. Chafee and Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuges. The project is designed to enhance and sustain marsh habitat, buffering the effects of a changing climate for eight local communities, economies and wildlife that depend on healthy salt marsh ecosystems.

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View a short video from the WNBC WJAR 10 Watershed Watch Report
Learn more about Turenne’s involvement in soil mapping post Hurricane Sandy
More about Hurricane Sandy-funded projects in Rhode Island
Jim Turenne holds a peat sample from what was a freshwater cedar swamp – now a tidal system and pond.
Credit: Soil Survey Staff


Students Strengthen Rhode Island Salt Marsh

Zoe Clougher of Rogers High School in Newport, Rhode Island, lends a hand in strengthening Sachuest marsh through the spartina grass plug planting project.

August 12, 2015 - This summer, a small group of Rogers High School students planted 175 spartina grass plugs along a bare section of Rhode Island marsh at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge - under the guidance of their biology teacher. This Hurricane Sandy-funded resilience project led by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will help strengthen the wetlands as the native grasses expand and recolonize an area on the western side of the Sachuest marsh. This particular area has been bare since restoration of the landfill in the mid 2000s says Wenley Ferguson, Director of Habitat Restoration for Save the Bay. The project will also enhance natural coastal defenses to mitigate storm impact - protecting local communities, economies and wildlife that rely on healthy salt marsh ecosystems.

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Photos of Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge
More about Hurricane Sandy-funded projects

Zoe Clougher of Rogers High School in Newport, Rhode Island, lends a hand in strengthening Sachuest marsh through the spartina grass plug planting project this summer. Credit: Scott Dickison, Rogers High School


Partners Behind a Stronger Coast: Scott Comings, Rhode Island Chapter of The Nature Conservancy

Scott Comings directs a group of Brown University students during a migratory songbird banding on Clay Head, Block Island in Rhode Island. Credit: Heather Leslie, PhD, The Nature Conservancy, Rhode Island Chapter Board of Trustees

July 27, 2015 - Scott Comings, a year-round resident of Block Island, Rhode Island, is channeling his conservation passion in his role as Associate Director of the Rhode Island chapter of The Nature Conservancy. In partnership with the Service, Comings is overseeing Hurricane Sandy-funded projects in Rhode Island such as removal of White Rock dam on the Pawcatuck River. Eliminating the dam will reduce the risk of dam failure and flooding during future storm events, restore river connectivity and enhance fish passage while aiding in public safety. This project is supported with federal funding for Hurricane Sandy recovery.
 

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More about Hurricane Sandy-funded projects


Scott Comings directs a group of Brown University students during a migratory songbird banding on Clay Head, Block Island in Rhode Island. Credit: Heather Leslie, PhD, The Nature Conservancy, Rhode Island Chapter Board of Trustees


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Last updated: May 1, 2015