Last Tuesday, May 23rd, a host of guest speakers, supporters, and staff joined the WRWC and Farm Fresh Rhode Island as the two announced their latest collaboration: a stormwater installation at the new Farm Fresh RI headquarters in Olneyville. This green infrastructure at Farm Fresh helps to collect rain and stormwater before it gets carried as runoff into the nearby Woonasquatucket River, which eventually empties into Narragansett Bay. This infrastructure helps the neighborhood with stormwater and runoff protection and pollution prevention.

The Olneyville neighborhood is one of Providence’s most environmentally vulnerable communities, subject to flooding, pollution, and other devastating impacts that come with climate change. Stormwater can cause environmental damage as it runs off into nearby waterways carrying pollution, dirt, and debris from the city, making our rivers less safe for the animals and communities that depend on them. Additionally, stormwater can carry bacteria or nutrients from fertilizers and waste that can cause algae blooms, kill fish, and clog up waterways. Left unchecked, stormwater can also cause flooding, which is a growing concern for communities like Olneyville due to rising sea levels and increases in extreme rainfall.

In order to help combat climate change and protect Rhode Island communities, Farm Fresh wanted to do as much as it could to be a good river steward in the community. Part of the WRWC’s “Greening the Greenway” initiative and supported by Senator Jack Reed, Mayor Brett Smiley, and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, this collaboration is an important step to providing flood protection and pollution prevention where they are most needed in the community.

The WRWC would like to thank the following speakers and partners for attending last week’s event:

Senator Jack Reed
Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos
Tom Ardito, Restore America’s Estuaries
Terry Gray, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management RIDEM
Peter Alviti, Jr., Rhode Island Department of Transportation
Elizabeth Tanner, Rhode Island Commerce
Mayor Brett Smiley
Providence City Council President Rachel Miller
Jesse Rye, Executive Director, Farm Fresh Rhode Island
Alicia Lehrer, Executive Director, WRWC

You can read the full story from the Providence Journal here.