Potter Pond Foliage
About Salt Ponds Coalition
“To protect and enhance the health of the salt ponds for the benefit of wildlife and people.”

Our mission includes educating the residents of the salt ponds region about the salt ponds' value to the economy, and how residents can contribute to the well-being of the resource. SPC also acts as a conduit between the residents of the coastal communities and state and local governments for the flow of information vital to the survival of the salt ponds and their environs.  SPC works to implement programs which enhance the environment of the salt ponds and contribute to their protection, preservation, and economic well-being.  Finally, we network with other organizations to make our ecological experience available to residents of other New England coastal areas with similar needs.

The Pond Watcher Program began with a grant from the U.R.I. Sea Grant program in 1984. The Salt Ponds Coalition, formed shortly thereafter, was a merger of several neighborhood salt pond advocacy groups covering the south coastal region from Watch Hill to Point Judith. SPC was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) educational and advocacy non-profit organization in 1985. The Pond Watcher program became part of SPC and has expanded significantly since. As of 2012, SPC has completed 27 years of water quality monitoring and is the oldest continuously operating volunteer marine water-quality monitoring program in the nation.

In 2001, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed legislation to create the Rhode Island Rivers Council - a citizen based advocacy and water quality program for the protection of the rivers and estuarine waterways. With passage of its Notice Rule, they designated watershed councils as the recognized local advocates for their respective river or estuarine watershed areas. Towns and state regulatory agencies are required to notify the local watershed council of upcoming developments and policies affecting the watershed.

In 2003, the Salt Ponds Coalition was designated as the Watershed Council for the salt ponds region. Thus, the Salt Ponds Coalition became the recognized spokespersons to participate in local and state regulatory forums, such as town boards and commissions, DEM policymaking and the regulatory and planning of the Coastal Resources Management Council.

Our Ongoing Work
The salt ponds of southern Rhode Island are a regional treasure, which support diverse wildlife as well as public recreation and local property values. They contribute substantial revenues to two of Rhode Island's largest industries: tourism and fisheries.

The ponds remain a vital part of our region, yet they have suffered a great loss of species and habitat diversity. Thirty years ago they supported healthy populations of scallops, oysters, flounder, eels and blue crab. Today, these species are greatly diminished and in the case of oysters and scallops, all but gone.

SPC conducts ongoing water-quality surveys, public outreach programs and works to focus legislative and regulatory attention on protecting these valuable resources. We spearhead land preservation and habitat restoration projects and partner with other groups to achieve results. SPC also conducts educational events and seminars for all who are interested in the salt pond environment. SPC-guided kayak tours are popular outings and feature guest experts who point out and discuss areas of interest and concern. The SPC newsletter and website feature interesting and educational content and SPC representatives are available to give slide presentations upon request.

Membership in Salt Ponds Coalition is a great way to help ensure the health and vitality of the ponds. Membership dues and donations provide the largest part of our budget. As part of your membership you will receive issues of the SPC newsletter called The Tidal Page. It has many articles that will help keep you up-to-date on our efforts, what's going on around the ponds, and on regulations affecting those who live in the salt ponds region. There are also many interesting articles about the ecology and history of the ponds. The Tidal Page will also keep you informed of upcoming events, such as fundraisers, paddles, meetings, and Salt Pond Safaris.

Your membership in SPC is very greatly appreciated. Please feel free to contact us with questions, concerns or comments relating to the salt ponds and our organization. To see the latest version of SPC's by-laws click here.

Thanks again for your support, and we look forward to seeing you out and about on the ponds!

Click here to join Salt Ponds Coalition.   Note: SPC memberships run for the current calendar year and are up for renewal with the start of a new year.
Salt Ponds Coalition P.O. Box 875 Charlestown, RI 02813 (401) 322-3068 saltpondscoalition@gmail.com