(Photo by Meg O'Neil)
By Meg O’Neil
Volunteers, sailors, and staff from the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) gathered at Fort Adam’s State Park on Wednesday, June 27 to plant native trees and shrubs at a newly constructed rain garden aimed to mitigate polluted storm water runoff from the parking lot into Brenton Cove.
RI Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit referred to the rain garden as the “capstone” event in lessening the ACWS’ environmental impact during the weeklong event.
“This is the greenest even we’ve had at our parks,” she said. “We want to use these sustainable practices to leave Fort Adams a little better off than we found it.”
Organizers have committed to going to green in several other areas during the series:
- Composting throughout the site and requiring vendors to use compostable service ware
- No disposable plastic bottles are sold on site; there are water refilling stations and refillable bottles available
- Nontoxic cleaning products and copper-free bottom paints only
- Public transport by shuttle, water taxi and bike are heavily promoted
- No gray water discharge into the bay
- Boats washed only with water, preventing harmful runoff
- Installation of energy efficient lighting
The rain garden at Fort Adams measures in at 600 square-feet and is located on the left side of the main parking area near the park entrance on Harrison Ave.
Sailors for the Sea is the Official Clean Regattas Partner of the 34th America’s Cup, and Program Lead, Annie Brett was also on hand to talk about the importance of reducing the environmental footprint: “Newport is our home base, so we wanted to start a legacy project that would improve our waters and leave something behind when the America’s Cup was over. Hopefully this community project is the first of many.”