Valuing Land and Water in the Narragansett Bay Watershed

Narragansett Bay © NOAA
Narragansett Bay © NOAA

A comprehensive report about the resources and uses of the Narragansett Bay Watershed is out now! 

This report describes and illustrates the watershed’s economy and its industry sectors to support public and decision-maker dialogue. 

Read the report >

Project Overview

Mass Audubon and our partners at the University of Rhode Island's Coastal Resources Center and the Natural Capital Project developed information on the human benefits provided by the Narragansett Bay Watershed. This three-year project, funded by a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency, determined the economic value of "ecosystem services" received from conserved land and clean water.

Narragansett Bay is home to several working ports and harbors and supports economic activities such as tourism, transportation, recreation, and commercial and recreational fishing and shellfishing. The Bay and its watershed also provides ecosystem services including control of nutrients and other water pollutants, climate regulation, protection from floods and droughts, and healthy animal and plant populations.

In total, 60% of the Bay's 1,600 square mile watershed is located in Massachusetts—an important consideration as the health of the bay is linked to activities throughout the watershed.

A central challenge for the region in this century is to sustain a vibrant economy while protecting the environment as a key to quality of life for residents and visitors.

This project helps us better understand and address these challenges, and is an opportunity to help inform decision-making at local and state levels in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island to support smart land use. We have also identified key challenges that decision-makers face, and will be assisting communities in balancing and targeting conservation and development.

Related Resources

The Narragansett Bay Watershed Economy Project 

by Emi Uchida (University of Rhode Island)

by Paige Dolci (Mass Audubon)

Other Presentations

→ From the November 2018 S3 RCN Capstone Meeting and RCP Network Gathering.

by Rob Griffin (Natural Capital Project)

by Heidi Ricci (Mass Audubon)

Project Partners & Support

This publication was developed under Assistance Agreement No. SE-00A00252 awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Southeast New England Program. It has not been formally reviewed by EPA. The views expressed in this document are solely those of the project. The Narragansett Bay Watershed Economy project was conceived by the Coastal Institute under the leadership of Dr. Emi Uchida. Funding was provided by the Coastal Institute at the University of Rhode Island. Additional project support was provided by the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, the URI Coastal Resources Center, Mass Audubon, the Natural Capital Project at Stanford University, the Lookout Foundation, and the EPA award.

EPA logo
SNEP logo
Shaping the Future of Your Community logo
Coastal Institute logo
URI Gradudate School of Oceanography logo
Natural Capital Project logo