Clean Ocean Access honored for public access efforts as it releases quarterly report

Clean Ocean Access program manager, Eva Touhey, holding the RISAA environment award overlooking Green End Pond.

Clean Ocean Access (COA) recently released its quarterly Public Access Report detailing the safety and status of 50 public rights-of-way across Aquidneck Island.

During the fourth quarter, COA says that 23 volunteers completed 151 site surveys and monitored all 50 public rights-of-way within the City of Newport and the Towns of Middletown and Portsmouth. Volunteers and staff monitored and performed marine debris removal at all 50 public rights-of-way. Volunteers also monitored water quality testing at select public access points that remain popular destinations for residents and visitors all year round.

“The ocean has given me more than I could ever give back,” says Eric Vienne, a Newport resident, surfer and longtime COA supporter in a press release. “A time has come when coordinated efforts are necessary to counter negative impacts of modern living against our oceans. I volunteer for COA so generations to come will have clean waves to ride.” Preserving and protecting shoreline access is critical to COA’s mission and lies at the foundation of the organization’s core programs. Without safe and available access to public rights- of-way, surfers like Eric would not be able to access the shoreline to enjoy their favorite ocean activities.

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The third quarter assessment finds that most of the access points are in good status, and all require short, medium and long-term action plans to maintain access to the water for recreational ocean activities. One right-of-way in Newport and two rights-of-ways in Portsmouth are not clearly identifiable and require coordinated action with Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (RI CRMC) and municipal staff to remedy the situation.

In January, COA received an award from the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) recognizing COA’s work to improve public access to the East Bay coastal areas, clean the shoreline, monitor rights-of-way, and to advocate for a clean Narragansett Bay. COA staff attended the 21st Annual Banquet, held at the Quonset O Club in North Kingstown, where RISAA honored organizations that promote and enhance recreational fishing through environmental efforts, fisheries management, public access, and more.

“We are honored to accept the environment award from the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association for our work to improve public access and advocate for a clean bay and ocean,” says Jessica Frascotti, program coordinator at COA in a press release. “We are thrilled to collaborate with an organization that shares in our goals to protect and preserve shoreline access for all to enjoy and we look forward to continuing our hard work towards protecting public access, eliminating marine debris and improving coastal water quality in 2019 and beyond.”

COA extends its sincere appreciation to all its volunteers and citizen scientists, as well as to the staff and council of the City of Newport, Towns of Middletown and Portsmouth, and RI CRMC for supporting the organization’s current and future efforts to protect and preserve shoreline access for all.

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