Submitted by RIDEM
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announces that its seasonal 24-hour Bay Line telephone information line is now open. The Bay Line number, 222-8888, is toll-free within the state. New to the program this year is the option for members of the public to report concerns through email at DEM.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bay Line provides Rhode Islanders with a central point of contact to leave a recorded message about any sign of bay-related environmental problems throughout the summer season for appropriate follow-up. Its aim is rapid, effective responses to environmental incidents on Narragansett Bay.
Reports of water quality conditions are updated weekly and available on the DEM website. The information is compiled from data provided by a network of monitoring stations in the bay that measure oxygen, temperature, salinity, pH levels, and, in some cases, water clarity and the presence of algae blooms. DEM, in cooperation with the University of Rhode Island (URI), has completed the seasonal deployment of monitoring instruments and posts water quality reports on a weekly basis.
The intent of Bay Lineis to provide an effective means for exchanging bay-related information between the public and the agencies charged with monitoring and protecting it. For instance, the line can be used to provide DEM with early warnings about emerging issues such as algae blooms, which might serve as precursors to low oxygen events and fish kills.
Bay Lineis an integral part of a series of initiatives undertaken by DEM to protect Narragansett Bay. A related initiative is the Bay Assessment and Response Team (BART), which is designed to facilitate timely and well-coordinated responses to any major bay-related environmental emergency. BART includes professional staff from DEM, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), and URI.