The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is announcing that its seasonal 24-hour telephone information line will open May 15 and remain open until Oct. 15. The Bay Line, 222-8888, is toll-free within the state.
The Bay Line provides Rhode Islanders with a central point of contact to leave a recorded message about any sign of bay-related environmental problems or occurrences throughout the summer season for appropriate follow-up by DEM. Its aim is rapid, effective responses to environmental incidents on Narragansett Bay. Another option for reporting concerns is through email at DEM.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Line is 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.
The Bay Line is 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. Rhode Islanders can find a great deal of bay-related information on the BART page of the DEM website. The weekly Bay Line reports also can be found at this location.
For more information on DEM programs and services, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@RhodeIsland.DEM).
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