PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is announcing that Conditional Area A, previously scheduled to reopen at sunrise tomorrow morning, is extended until further notice. Conditional Area closures were enacted after the rainfall that occurred Friday, July 9. This has been a wet July, with approximately four inches more rainfall than average. Last weekend's storm generated a large amount of stormwater runoff and combined sewage overflows and the capacity of the Narragansett Bay Commission Fields Point CSO storage tunnel was exceeded. Given these conditions, DEM collected samples Wednesday, July 14, and Thursday, July 15, to ensure conditions were safe for the scheduled reopening.
Results of the samples collected July 14 and received late today showed high bacteria levels resulting in this announcement, to extend the closure of Area A until further notice. Results for the samples collected on Thursday are expected tomorrow, Saturday, July 17.
The other Conditional Areas: Lower Providence River Area E, Greenwich Bay, Mount Hope Bay and the Kickemuit River are scheduled to reopen at 12 PM on July 19, 2021. Due to shellfish management restrictions, harvesting from Conditional Area E (Lower Providence River) will remain closed until 8-11 AM on Wednesday, July 21.
Rhode Island shellfish are much sought-after seafood because of a long history of delivering a high-quality product. This is achieved by diligent monitoring of shellfish harvesting waters, protecting public health with a high level of oversight when conditions indicate a change in water quality either from natural sources such as algae blooms or by the quick response to emergency conditions. DEM, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), and the RI Coastal Resources Management Council, along with industry partners, collaborate to ensure that shellfish grown and harvested from Rhode Island waters continues to be a quality safe seafood product to be enjoyed by all consumers.
For more information on the shellfish harvesting classifications, review the annual notice available at RIDEM - Shellfish. An interactive shellfishing map is also available.
For information on emergency and conditional area water quality-related shellfish closures, call DEM's 24-hour shellfishing hotline at 401-222-2900, visit www.dem.ri.gov/shellfish, or sign up for the Office of Water Resources' listserv here: RishellfishOWRfirstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about DEM programs and services, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.