Clean Ocean Access (COA) today releases its quarterly Public Access Report detailing the safety and status of 50 public rights-of-way across Aquidneck Island. During the third quarter, 27 volunteers completed 171 site surveys and monitored all 50 public rights-of-way. Staff and volunteers also worked to perform marine debris removal and water quality testing at a number of these public access points.

“COA is a fantastic organization run by a great group of people who are so dedicated to their cause,” says Pam Gilpin, who has been volunteering with the organization for more than five years. “Their dedication and mission of ocean health has had a huge influence on me and it’s because of them that I happily volunteer my services monitoring public access points on Aquidneck Island.”

The third quarter assessment finds that most public access points are in good standing. COA staff worked closely with the RI Coastal Resource Management Council to assess any obstruction issues at access points in Newport, Middletown and Portsmouth and derived a plan to take action on these issues. COA has worked closely with Middletown, Portsmouth, and Newport to address signage needs and send out a request for signage. COA has also ordered and received new adoption signs to be delivered to Newport and Middletown for fall and winter installation. In September, COA attended the first meeting of the Portsmouth ad-hoc shoreline access rights-of-way working group to help brainstorm possible solutions to concerns about trash, parking, and more at access points throughout Portsmouth.

“Public access to our beaches and coastal waterways is fundamental to ensuring a healthy ocean for everyone to enjoy,” says program coordinator, Jessie Frascotti. “Without safe, available shoreline access we wouldn’t be able to monitor water quality, host local beach cleanups nor enjoy our favorite recreational activities.”

COA extends its sincere appreciation to all of its volunteers and citizen scientists, as well as to the staff and council of the City of Newport, Towns of Middletown and Portsmouth, and the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council for supporting the organization’s current and future efforts to protect and preserve shoreline access for all.

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