Project Overview


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How clean is the water? Is it safe to swim at Narragansett Bay beaches? Have our investments in land protection and clean water infrastructure made a difference?

These are some of the important questions that Watershed Counts sets out to answer.

Watershed Counts is committed to providing independent, credible, comprehensive information on the Narragansett Bay region’s environment that will be used to track progress and ensure accountability as we all work together to protect clean water and special places.

There is a long and rich history of collaborative work in the Narragansett Bay community, with contributions from many agencies, organizations, and university research labs. The Narragansett Bay Region Indicator Development Workgroup was formed in 2010 to begin to synthesize the collected information and report regularly to the legislature on watershed conditions, the status of management efforts and priorities for the future.

The workgroup started with collaboration among URI's Coastal Institute, the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, and the RI Environmental Monitoring Collaborative of the Bays, Rivers, & Watersheds Coordination Team. Through a series of workshops, additional agencies, NGOs and university research entities contributed to the gathering and analysis of data and trends. Watershed Counts quickly became a large resource with both deep and broad perspective on Rhode Island's environment. Watershed Counts is growing all the time.

Watershed Counts reports to the Rhode Island legislature each year in April. The Watershed Counts reports and summaries of the presentations are found at the Annual Report tab.

Watershed Counts is committed to on-going evaluation. After reporting on the indicators on Earth Day, Watershed Counts convenes project partners to review the project, identify accomplishments and areas for improvement and discuss work for the upcoming year.

  • The 2013 evaluation workshops were held on May 2 and 7. The findings are summarized in this report.
  • The 2012 evaluation workshops were held on June 5 (in Providence) and June 14 (at URI) and are summarized in this report.
  • The 2011 evaluation workshop took place on May 27, 2011. The meeting is summarized in a short report which guided development of Watershed Counts' 2012 work

Watershed Counts Fall Planning Meeting for 2015 Report

October 6, 2014 workshop hosted by Watershed Counts

Meeting Summary Report

This meeting was held to receive feedback on the 2014 Watershed Counts report, hear a report on fish assemblage monitoring in urban rivers, and decide on a spotlight indicator for the 2015 report. Our full agenda can be found here.


Marine Water Quality Indicator Planning Meeting

March 13, 2014 workshop hosted by Watershed Count

Meeting Summary Report

This meeting was held to discuss updates to the marine water quality indicator and decide the aspects of marine water quality to include in the 2014 Watershed Counts report. Our full agenda can be found here.


"Spotlight" on Freshwater and Marine Beaches Planning Meeting

January 29, 2014 workshop hosted by Watershed Counts.

Meeting Summary Report

This meeting was held to discuss the scope of the "spotlight" indicator of Freshwater and Marine Beaches for the 2014 Watershed Counts report. Our full agenda can be found here.


Watershed Counts Fall Planning Meeting

December 9, 2013 workshop hosted by Watershed Counts.

Meeting Summary Report

This meeting was held to discuss the path forward and the framework for the 2014 Watershed Counts report. We also discussed our vision beyond the 2014 for general report framework and incorporating a more cyclical method of reporting. Our full agenda can be found here.


Environmental indicators in New England:

Sharing Best Practices to Strengthen Watershed Counts and Explore Regional Collaboration

September 25, 2012 workshop hosted by Watershed Counts.

Workshop Summary Report

The workshop was designed to strengthen Watershed Counts by learning from and sharing strategies with established indicator programs in adjacent watersheds. The time was also used to explore shared regional indicators and communication strategies.

Agenda and Presentations:


Watershed Counts gratefully acknowledges the ongoing financial support of URI’s Coastal Institute and the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program. Watershed Counts also thanks The Rhode Island Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency for grants supporting development of Watershed Counts indicators.