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$400M plan to clean up Narragansett Bay

Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri unveiled a five-year plan

Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri unveiled a five-year plan to clean up Narragansett Bay.

During the annual meeting of the environmental group Save the Bay this spring, Carcieri pledged up to $400 million in state and other funding for clean-up projects.

The plan calls for reduction in nutrients released in Greenwich Bay and a phase-out of high-risk cesspools. Carcieri also announced a proposed $15 million clean-water bond for the November 2004 ballot. The new state funds would be offered as matching grants to state, local and private agencies to address storm-water, septic waste and other non-point source pollution.

The announcement was welcome news to the group.

Save the Bay executive director Curt Spalding said 2003 was the worst year in memory.

“With fish kills and closed beaches. Narragansett Bay finally screamed, ‘I can’t take it any more,’” Spalding said at the organization’s annual meeting March 7.

Coliform counts at beaches soared, millions of dead clams washed up on upper Bay beaches, fish died in Greenwich Bay, and sea lettuce and other leafy algae washed up and rotted on sandy beaches on the north side of Conimicut Point in Warwick, according to Spalding.