On the Pond

February 2021:

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. 

Read the full publication:

January 2021:

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. 

Read the full publication:

December 2020:

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. 

Read the full publication:


 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. 

Read the full publication:


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. 

Read the full publication:

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. 

Read the full publication:

AUGUST 2020:

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.

Read the full publication:



CHAMPLIN’S DECISION. On February 11, 2020, the CGSP received from the Providence Superior Court the final decision regarding 17+ years of legal battles over the proposed massive expansion of Champlin’s Marina into the Great Salt Pond. Specifically, the Court ruled on the CRMC (Coastal Resource Management Council) treatment of Champlin’s vs. other marina expansions. The Court unequivocally decided that there was no prejudice in the CRMC ruling. In fact, the ruling states: “For the reasons that follow, Champlin’s appeals are denied in their entirety.” 

Our lawyer, Dan Prentiss, has added, “After a thorough study of the 55+ page decision we feel the judge did a really thorough job in rendering this decision. In an administrative appeal, the appellant (Champlin’s) had to show that the agency decision was made without any support in the evidence, or was otherwise “arbitrary and capricious” or contrary to accepted law. Judge Rodgers applied those standards and found without equivocation that there was an abundance of evidence to support all of the CRMC’s findings and conclusions. She discussed the evidence at length, including reference to testimony of CGSP’s Sven Risom and Henry duPont. She also relied substantially on the testimony of Harbormaster Steve Land (and former harbormaster Chris Willi), and CRMC staff. Her decision follows pretty closely with the arguments that the CGSP made in its briefs. There is no question that the intervenors brought about this decision, both at the CRMC and in the superior court. There turned out to be some pretty complicated issues of fact and legal issues. 

Read the full newsletter:

Previous Newsletters