Sen. Reed and environmental officials tour future salt marsh restoration project

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WPRI) — Senator Jack Reed, the Coastal Resource Management Council and the US Fish and Wildlife service got a first-hand look at an upcoming salt marsh restoration project on Thursday.

Senator Reed helped secure funding for the project several years ago.

The process entails spreading sand across the marsh in order to help it withstand the impacts of rising sea-levels and coastal storm surge. Sediment will first be dredged up from the bottom of rivers, where it is not needed.

Scott Comings of the Rhode Island Nature Conservancy, says because of storms like Sandy and sea level rise, the marsh located on the John H Chafe National Wildlife refuge would eventually go underwater.

The work will take place between Middlebridge and Sedge Island. Barges and pipes will eventually be used to move some of the river bottom to build the marsh up about 6 inches.

“We got 360 million dollars nationwide, that translates to about $1.4 million dollars here for the Narrow River, and they are literally raising up the wetlands.” – Senator Jack Reed

If everything goes according to plan, the dredging could begin in the next couple of weeks.