PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Wood-Pawcatuck Wild and Scenic Rivers Stewardship Council (WPWSRSC) are working in partnership to increase public awareness of the seven newly designated Wood Pawcatuck Wild and Scenic Rivers. Signage is being installed at 14 public access points for paddlers, anglers and nature enthusiasts. DEM and the WPWSRSC recognize that educating the public and this new designation is a vital part of their mission to protect, preserve and enhance this wonderful resource.
"DEM is proud to partner with the Wild and Scenic Rivers Stewardship Council on this exciting project to enhance public awareness of the cultural and natural resources of the Wood-Pawcatuck watershed," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "The seven rivers in the watershed are among the state's most valued natural resources and boast excellent water quality, a thriving native trout population, prime habitat for rare and endangered species, and exceptional recreational opportunities. These amazing rivers will be protected for future generations with this important Congressional designation."
"Providing this new signage at DEM access points is a wonderful opportunity to encourage folks to think about the importance of the watershed and what these 110 miles of rivers mean to them personally," said Dennis Migneault, South Kingstown representative to the Council.
In March 2019, the seven rivers of the Wood-Pawcatuck watershed were officially designated as "Wild and Scenic" by the National Parks Service. This was the result of work done by dedicated local representatives of the 12 towns of the Wood-Pawcatuck watershed, and approval of local governments. It was very much a community effort.
The 300-square mile watershed comprises most of southwestern Rhode Island and extends into Connecticut. It provides abundant clean groundwater that serves as the sole source of drinking water for more than 60,000 local residents and supports roughly 70 percent of Rhode Island's globally imperiled species.
The Pawcatuck is very popular for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and other forms of outdoor recreation. It's a beautiful river that supports Rhode Island-raised stocked trout and warm water fish species. The upper Wood River offers excellent water quality, cool temperatures and continuous flow. The river is well suited for trout and is frequently stocked with hatchery produced fish by DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife. No wonder it's the most popular trout fishery in Rhode Island. And, the 52 navigable river miles on the Wood and Pawcatuck Rivers offer tremendous opportunities for paddling and recreational pursuits.
Signage has been installed at the following locations:
Charlestown: Pawcatuck River/Shannock Horseshoe Falls
Exeter: Wood River/Rt 165
Hopkinton: Wood River/Barberville Dam Wood River/Mechanic Street Dam Wood River/Switch Road Access Wood River/Dow Field
Richmond: Pawcatuck River/Lower Shannock Falls Beaver River/Rt 138 Pawcatuck River/Biscuit City Wyoming Dam Fishing access
South Kingstown: Chipuxet River/Taylor's Landing
Westerly: Pawcatuck River/Post Office Lane Pawcatuck River/Bradford Pawcatuck River/Main Street
For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) or Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM for timely updates.