On the Pond

MAY 2021

SHELLFISH AND AQUACULTURE SERIES 
Great Salt Pond Aquaculture: Good for You and the Pond!

Block Island has two primary aquaculture crops, the Eastern Oyster (Crassotrea virginia) and Sugar Kelp (Saccharina latissima). We have four oyster farmers, one of whom also farms kelp and quahogs.

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05/21 On the Pond

APRIL 2021

SHELLFISH AND AQUACULTURE SERIES 
Gone, but not forgotten…shellfish you remember

Thankfully the title of this newsletter is “not entirely correct.” Some shellfish are less abundant in the Great Salt Pond now than they were decades ago, but they are not gone–and they certainly occupy a disproportionately large part of our childhood memories.

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04/21 On the Pond

MARCH 2021

SHELLFISH AND AQUACULTURE SERIES 
The Mighty Quahog

There is nothing more quintessential Rhode Island than the quahog, designated our state shell in 1987. Generations of Rhode Islanders have dug quahogs, and its influence on Rhode Island life was successfully parodied by Providence Journal cartoonist and author Don Bousquet.

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03/21 On the Pond

FEBRUARY 2021

SHELLFISH AND AQUACULTURE SERIES 
The good, the bad and the ugly: Crabs of the Great Salt Pond

As lovers of the Great Salt Pond, many of us are familiar with the joy of harvesting and eating its quahogs, mussels, bay scallops and oysters. Fewer of us are familiar with harvesting our plentiful crabs for food and other uses. Here is a classification of some of the Pond’s most common crab species, with apologies to a well-known western. 

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JANUARY 2021
THE (QUIET) GREAT SALT POND

If you have never seen the Great Salt Pond during the winter months, here is a small snapshot of what you might see, not the bustling activity seen during the summer months. It’s January and our island’s Great Salt Pond is quiet now. There are no boats at anchor. Both private and rental moorings are winterized, out of service. Marinas have pulled their floats. On-shore facilities, restaurants and stores, are shuttered. If a hardy transient boater were to cruise into New Harbor in mid-winter he would find no guest services, not even a dinghy dock. This is not a New Normal, though, emptiness traceable to the Coronavirus pandemic. It is the Old Normal. This is the way the Pond usually looks in winter: empty. 

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DECEMBER 2020
CHAMPLIN’S MARINA EXPANSION APPEAL

Since 2003 Champlin’s Marina has been trying to nearly double the size of its marina. Through years of hearings before the RI Dept. of Environmental Management and the RI Coastal Resources Management Council, the Committee for the Great Salt Pond, the Town of New Shoreham, The Land Trust, and the BI Conservancy have worked together to defend the Great Salt Pond from this massive development proposal. Finally this past February, the RI Superior Court in a 70-page decision denied Champlin’s latest appeal of the CRMC decision which rejected the original application. 

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NOVEMBER 2020
THE BLOCK ISLAND SCHOOL SAILING PROGRAM

 In September, the Block Island Club (BIC) began its After-School Sailing Program in an effort to give local students the opportunity to sail with a long-term goal of establishing a Block Island School Sailing Team. This is not the first time that an after-school sailing program has taken place on the island. BIMI and the BIC have run youth classes in the past which led to a huge interest in local sailing. Most recently, since 2017, the BIC has run a Sunday sailing class with kids sailing in Colgate 26 keelboats along with an instructor. The focus of the current program is to get students into smaller, more competitive boats so they can develop their skills and a passion for the sport. 

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OCTOBER 2020
WEDNESDAY NIGHT SAILING AND THE BLOCK ISLAND CLUB SUMMER SAILING PROGRAM

The Block Island Club started Wednesday night sailing in 2020 as a way to offer an additional night of racing, and to place more of a focus on dinghies. The format is a windward/leeward course, with multiple races, starting at 6:00 p.m. every Wednesday evening. This event is organized by the Block Island Club, and it is open to the public. In order to use a Club boat for this event you must have a member on board. Approximately 18 people participated in the event each week, roughly 8 adults in keelboats and dinghies, and 10 kids in dinghies. Keelboats used for racing included: Colgate 26’s and J24’s. Types of dinghies used included: 420’s, Optimists, Topazes, Megabytes, Lasers, Hobie Cats, International Canoes, Tasers, and Sunfish. 

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SEPTEMBER 2020
WEDNESDAY: July 9–September 10, 2020 

Thursday Night Sailing, is a 10 week long round-the-marks summer racing series sailed each Thursday evening in the recreation area of the Great Salt Pond. This event is for the larger keel boats on the Island which sail under a specific handicap rule called the Performance Handicap Rating Fleet (PHRF) and dinghies if there is a large enough participating fleet. First start each Thursday evening is at 6:00 p.m. for the first of three 20 minute races. 

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AUGUST 2020
GREAT SALT POND PHOTO SCAVENGER HUNT 

The Great Salt Pond Photo Scavenger Hunt sponsored by the Committee for the Great Salt Pond was a huge success. It was fun for all ages; it was a great way to get people out-of-doors but not in large groups; and it was prize related but not too difficult. The event started on the July 4th and ended on August 14th. Anyone who had a digital camera (cell phone, iPad, etc.) was able to participate, and folks of all ages came down to the Pond and started taking fantastic photos.

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Newsletters

SUMMER 2021

CHAMPLIN’S MARINA EXPANSION UPDATE: In spite of the denial from the RI Supreme Court in a decision dated March 26, Champlin’s is still holding out for a marina expansion approval from the CRMC.

One would think that when the RI Supreme Court dismissed the Champlin’s / CRMC joint motion, requesting the court to accept a CRMC approval for a marina expansion plan as a settlement to the case, they would have quit pursuing expansion plans. Instead Champlin’s attorney has filed a statement with the court which says that since Champlin’s and the CRMC have already reached an agreement and approval for an alternate marina expansion plan, the case might be disposed of in a more expedited fashion. It is unusual that Champlin’s is providing an argument that the court specifically rejected in denying the Champlin’s/ CRMC joint motion; but it signals that they are far from giving up.

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2021 Summer CGSP Newsletter

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