Restoring Rhode Island's Freshwater Wetlands

The goal of proactive wetland restoration is to return the natural functions of wetlands that have been degraded or destroyed as a result of human activities. Wetlands become degraded as a result of partial drainage, sedimentation, dumping, impoundment, invasive species, removal of wetland vegetation, channelization, and removal of upland vegetation adjacent to wetlands. They may be destroyed by drainage or filling.

Proactive restoration projects are accomplished through cooperative efforts with interested landowners. The University of Rhode Island and DEM collaborated on a project funded by the Environmental Protection Agency to develop methods to identify and prioritize freshwater wetland opportunities on a watershed basis. The Phase 1 report describes proactive restoration programs in other states, includes a synopsis of the scientific literature on wetland restoration, including some of the hurdles and constraints, and describes methods to identify and prioritize sites.

The University and partners applied the methods developed during Phase 1 in the development of a Wetland Restoration Plan for the Woonasquatucket watershed.

The Phase 1 report and the Woonasquatucket Wetland Restoration Page are good starting points if you are interested in learning more about proactive wetland restoration or would like to begin planning in your watershed.

Additional Resources