Data for 2005-2009, and 2011-2016 are available by request to Jane Sawyers at the RIDEM Office of Water Resources email@example.com, 401-222-4700 x 7239.
The agencies and organizations responsible for monitoring Rhode Island’s water quality are faced with an immense task, often with inadequate funding. The state’s water monitoring program’s strengths with respect to rivers and streams were recently recognized by the non-profit Izaak Walton League of America, which released a report card on monitoring programs in all 50 states. Under their evaluation, Rhode Island received a B; no state received a higher grade, and only two other states—Missouri and Virginia—received the same grade.This report provides further details, with high marks for the state’s transparency, site-specific information (number of locations tested), and volunteer engagement. In particular, Rhode Island is dubbed “a national leader in partnering with volunteer stream monitors,” and specifically praises Rhode Island’s communication with its volunteers about how the data they collect are used. A grade of A was not within reach, however, because the report quite legitimately criticizes the frequency of testing and reliance on older data. Rhode Island’s water monitoring agencies both agree with and have developed plans that could address many of these criticisms, but they cannot be implemented without sufficient funding.