The Rhode Island Rivers Council was created by statute to coordinate, oversee, and review efforts to improve and preserve the quality of the state's rivers and other water bodies and to develop plans to increase river use.
The General Assembly created the Council because "state jurisdiction over rivers, environmentally, culturally and economically, is scattered among state agencies and in some instances, state policies and plans [concerning rivers] are conflicting."
The Council is charged with coordinating state policies to protect rivers and watersheds and strengthening local watershed councils as local partners in river and watershed protection.
In 2004, the Rivers Council became an associated function of the Rhode Island Water Resources Board. The Council is not a regulatory body; its functions are planning, coordination and empowerment. The duties of the Council are:
The Rivers Policy and Classification Planis a guide for action to protect and enhance the quality and the use of Rhode Island's watersheds. Its approach is holistic; it endeavors to integrate water quality planning with land use planning and with planning for activities such as recreation and habitat preservation.
The Plan is intended to provide clear, integrated, affirmative guidance for the management and the protection of Rhode Island's water resources at the state, local and especially watershed level. Its broad objectives are to protect drinking water supplies and pristine rivers, to encourage recreational use of rivers, to foster the creation of greenways, and to provide for the clean-up of rivers.
The Rivers Council in partnership with the RI Land Trust Council has developed an organizational assessment tool.
The Rivers Council will work with interested watershed organizations to conduct the assessment and identify priority needs for increased capacity and effectiveness.
Consulting services and workshops will then be provided to the participating organizations to address identified priority needs. Contact the Rivers Council if you are interested. This work is supported by the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program through a BayWAG grant.