Winnapaug Pond
Winnapaug Pond

Winnapaug or Brightman’s Pond, in Westerly, has one of the more densely developed shorelines.  There is a concentration of commercial hotels, restaurants, and amusement rides adjacent to a major state beach (Misquamicut) on the western end of the barrier beach.  Dense residential development lines the ocean and pond shores.   Compared to the other ponds, the watershed of this pond is relatively small, and development within it is proceeding rapidly.  Open space and areas that were once golf courses along the northern shore are being converted to housing developments and condominium clusters.

Winnapaug Pond has very little fresh water input from stream flow and a very high volume of tidal flushing which produces extensive shoaling.  Sand erodes from the ocean side of the barrier beach, flows into the pond through the Weekapaug Breachway on the flood tide, and is distributed far inside the pond.  In spite of the shoaling, the large volume of tidal flushing is helping to keep the water quality high.  There are also expansive sandy shoals along the southern shore--the sand swept over the barrier beach into the pond during past hurricanes.  Although the pond is much more shallow and cannot support the abundance of finfish seen in some of the other ponds, finfish populations appear to be healthy and there are abundant shellfish resources in the shoals.

This text is from Salt Pond Watchers Summary Data Report 1985 – 1987, Coastal Resources Center, University of Rhode Island Technical Report No. 10, October 1990, by P. Kullberg, V. Lee, and M. Platt.

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Salt Ponds Coalition P.O. Box 875 Charlestown, RI 02813 (401) 322-3068 saltpondscoalition@gmail.com