Friday, October 30, 2009

High School Collaboration Saving Silver Creek

Members of Save the Bay, Save Bristol Harbor, Mount Hope High School and the Town of Bristol are all working together to create a high school curriculum (in Marcia King's MHHS Marine Science class) for approximately twenty 11th and 12th graders working together to clean up Silver Creek and make it healthy again for birds, fish, vegetation, soil, general water quality as well as flood control.
The students will work on this project for the entire school year beginning in November.
The project will cost a total of $8000. $4000 will be contributed by Save the Bay, $1000 by Save Bristol Harbor, $2000 by Mount Hope High School and $1000 (approved last Wednesday Oct 28) by the Town of Bristol.
The goals of the project will be addressed by removing the tidal restrictions, removing the invasive species and possibly removing some historic fill. A secondary benefit to the project will be reducing the risk of flooding on properties within the Silver Creek watershed. Other project partners include: the Natural Resources Conservation Service, NOAA and the RI Department of Transportation.
Save the Bay conducted an analysis of the change in area of the Silver Creek over time. Results showed that 55% of the native marsh habitat has been lost since 1939.
Phragmites (the very tall grasses) now covers 52% of the marsh and the expansion of Phragmites has constricted the creek and reduced the open water area by 33%. Since 1939, 15% of the marsh has been filled, however a significant portion of the marsh was likely filled prior to 1939 due to the town landfill.
At the request of the Town Council a report will be published summarizing the work and results of this collaboration.

The information for some of this article was taken from a report created by Save the Bay's Rob Hancock (Bristol resident and Board member of Save Bristol Harbor). Bob Aldrich from Save Bristol Harbor and Walter Burke from the Town Recreation Dept introduced this project to the Town Council last Wed night. Congratulations to all.

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