Dear Members and Friends:

The Buckeye Brook Coalition (BBC) Board of Directors would like to wish all of its members and friends a very happy new year. At this time of the year we should reflect back on the accomplishments and disappointments of the past year. With this in mind we look to the future in an attempt to better ourselves for the year ahead. I would personally like to review with you what the BBC has done in 2008 and in that way you will have a better understanding of the range of our activities. I want you to know that the BBC is very active in our community, though sometimes you may only associate us with our annual Earth Day clean up.

As you read on about what we have done in the past year, I would like you to take the time to reflect on your own contributions to your community. Perhaps we could count on you to help make 2009 a very exciting year for the BBC. To be honest, we are really going to need some help. I would like to have you along for "The Year of Change," where there are opportunities for everyone to participate. We all have special skills. Join with us in 2009 and find out how to apply them.

Each year at our annual meeting, one activity is the election of officers. I will be asking for your vote as the president. I would ask anyone considering a position on the Board of Directors to come forward soon. This month the board will be planning the first quarter's activities. Please come to our annual meeting and be a part of the vision of 2009 and beyond. You can do it!

2008 in Review

January 30, 2008 the B.O.D. met to plan the 1st quarter.

March 11, 2008 Annual Meeting. Full review of the BBC budget and expenditures. Paul Earnshaw voted in as Vice President. Lori Insana voted in as new board member. Ray Hartenstein gave a short presentation on fresh water mussels which is a specialization that Ray has been involved with for many years. Many thanks to Ray for all of his involvement over the years. Volunteers signed up for water quality monitoring for the URI Watershed Watch, the DEM Fish & Wildlife direct fish count program, the annual earth day clean up, and the booth at the annual RI Saltwater Anglers Association fishing show.

April 4-6 2008 RI Saltwater Anglers Fishing Show. Several members volunteered to operate an information booth. We were able to reach out to many people at this event with similar interests. This is a great opportunity for our membership to get involved by sharing with interested people the beauty that this watershed has to offer.

April 19, 2008 11th Annual Earth Day Clean up. This year we had a total of 75 volunteers that offered their time to clean up 10 locations throughout the watershed. A tremendous job was accomplished. Thousands of pounds of trash were removed from the environment. This is an event that could be so much larger, but we need to have more involvement to make it grow. We could have vendors, environmental informational booths, special displays and demonstrations, and so much more. However, we need more people to participate in planning of this major event. Please be part of the project, instead of just a volunteer for the clean up.

April - May we held our 6th Annual Direct Fish count. This past year we had about 24 volunteers that attended a 10 minute training session that familiarized the volunteer with how the counting process works. It does not take much time or effort. The data that was collected is very important data that can be utilized in many ways. The RI Dept of Fish & Wildlife shares information with many environmental groups that can use this data to help discover trends or changes in the herring fishery. This fishery has been under great distress over the past decade. Below are the total numbers of River Herring that have been counted up to this point in Buckeye Brook. We will be expanding the fish count in 2009. A second count station is being planned for Lakeshore Dr. Please be a fish counter this year, it's fun, easy, educational, and helps a great program.

June 21, 2008 we held an annual paddling trip from Conimicut Point Park through Mill Cove, past tidewater Dr. & up Buckeye Brook to West Shore Rd. About 40 paddlers formed somewhat of a flotilla as we passed by Mill Cove. It was quite a sight to see. Along the way we discussed many topics such as the historical occurrences that took place along the brook, the Shawomet Indian encampments, the process of being recognized by the National Park Service as a Wild & Scenic River, the invasive species of plants that have infiltrated the brook, and also the Union Electrical Trolley which in times past ran summer visitors to Warwick destinations. After the trip we provided a beach picnic of sandwiches & beverages to all who attended. Everyone had a chance to discuss their experience. It was a first time experience for many of those who paddled on Buckeye Brook that day. Many people did not realize that it was even possible to paddle Buckeye Brook at all.

July 8, 2008 Steve Insana & Paul Earnshaw gave a tour of the brook to Mr. Jamie Fosberg of the National Park Service as well as representatives from the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the City of Warwick, and the editor of the Warwick Beacon. The purpose of the attendance by the National Park Service was to visually inspect the watershed and to see if Buckeye Brook meets the criteria to qualify as a "Wild & Scenic" designation. Steve Insana can be credited with his vision to see this idea being initiated. The process continues to proceed forward very well. We will soon be asking the Warwick City council for their support in proposing a resolution to allow us to petition for the Governor's approval. If granted, the designation would be finalized through an Act of Congress.

July 19, 2008 our coalition participated in The Environmental Awareness Day. It was held on the Narragansett Town Beach. What a great event. It was a fantastic opportunity for members to volunteer a day at the beach and to talk to people about Buckeye Brook. In the future a small touch tank with items from the Buckeye Brook waters would be a great addition to our display. The children really enjoy activities like this and find it very informative.

During October & November the BBC and the Mill Cove Conservancy met for discussions regarding a merger of our two organizations. After some discussion it appeared that a merger was complicated, so it was decided that we will simply be collaborating our thoughts and ideas on issues in the future in order to utilize the skills each group has to offer. We hope to make a formal press release as soon as plans are finalized.

October 30, 2008 The RI Department of Environmental Management released its draft of the Buckeye Brook TMDL (Total Mass Daily Load) Report. This report shows areas in the watershed where the water quality is under stress. The BBC submitted our response to the report, along with many other stake holders. We look forward to working with the city engineering & planning boards in the future to make needed improvements to address the affects of storm water runoff that greatly impact the brook and its tributaries. The final version of the report should be announced in the upcoming months.

On December 17, 2008 the coalition submitted a restoration grant proposal to the Coastal Resources Management Agency. The restoration site being considered is the brackish marsh area where West Shore Rd & Buckeye Brook intersect. It will involve developing a plan to remove a large area of phragmites (common reed) and purple loose strife. These are invasive species that have impacted the ecosystem of the marsh. If the proposal is approved, we will be having a very busy year ahead. Membership volunteer assistance will be required to see the project to its completion. It is likely that this project will take several years to complete as well as some maintenance for some years thereafter. This will be our very first restoration project.

I feel 2009 is going to be a very busy year for our organization. There is so much more that we can do for our community. However, in order to accomplish this, we would like for you to become directly more involved with the Buckeye Brook Coalition. The coalition is strong with a board consisting of 6 directors, a membership of 48, and an e-mail list of over 120. I would like to thank all of our members and friends who have helped out in the past with your donations of money, time, sweat, and advocacy for the BBC. I would sincerely ask for your participation in our coalition activities in the future. There are so many opportunities for you to help the BBC. We are especially interested in forming some committees that could help out in specific areas such as fundraising events, creating educational programs, planning the Earth day clean up, and building bird houses and bat houses to install throughout the watershed. We are in need of a new web master for our web site. We will need some technical assistance and equipment for power point presentations. These are just a few ideas the coalition has on its 2009 wish list. Please help make them come true. Together, we can make a difference in our community.

When the annual meeting is announced, I ask you to attend. We will have volunteer opportunities available which are a great place to start in becoming an active member of the Buckeye Brook Coalition. We are particularly interested in having the neighbors of Warwick Pond & tributary area's such as Lockwood Brook & Warner Brook join. Don't forget that membership dues are due by March 31st. Membership is only a click away at . We are looking forward to a very exciting year ahead.

Sincerely yours,

Paul Earnshaw, Vice-President

Buckeye Brook Coalition