Northeastern Section - 42nd Annual Meeting (12–14 March 2007)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 10:15 AM


BOOTHROYD, Jon C., Department of Geosciences, Univ of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881,

Rhode Island, the smallest state, and the butt of many “as big as” characterizations, has a population of one million, approximately the same as Maine or New Hampshire. Most of that population lives within 15 miles of marine waters, thus much of the work of the Survey has to do directly with subtidal marine habitats, the shoreline, or the adjacent watersheds. Rhode Island includes Narragansett Bay, one of the northernmost coastal plain estuaries and an important economic resource for the State. The Survey works closely with the RI Coastal Resources Management Council (RICRMC), the State coastal-zone management agency, on tasks ranging from identification of benthic geologic habitats in Narragansett Bay and the coastal lagoons, determining rates of shoreline change, mapping the Quaternary geology of watersheds, detailed 3D mapping of shoreline brownfield sites and determining dredged material disposal sites to name a few. The data that flow from such work are used as scientific rationale for: shoreline construction setbacks, determining areas for eelgrass restoration, determining placement of marinas and marina expansion, evaluating sites for placement of dredged material for beneficial use, long-range planning for hurricane surge and debris removal and geologic education of citizen Council members and the concerned public. We also work closely with the US Army Corps of Engineers (New England District) mapping areas for habitat restoration and placement of dredged material for beach replenishment. Public outreach includes such diverse as: educating town or city planners and councils on geologic topics of interest to their municipalities, instructing non-profit groups on coastal geologic hazards, participating in field trips to educate environmental reporters, sending out aspiring grad students to K-12 classrooms to capture the next generation, and gently informing the purveyors of interesting objects that their prized sample is biotite or pyrite and not gold or that supposed meteorite is really slag from a former steel-making facility, or those are marks on the rock are natural weathering and not Viking runes.