Pawtuxet River Authority & Watershed Council
Projects | PRAWC
PRAWC Ongoing Projects in the Pawtuxet River Watershed
  PRAWC Projects Table of Contents: Click on links below
       - Construction of Anadromous Fish Passage
       - Canoe Launch at Pontiac Village
       - Arkward-Pheonix-Harris Riverwalk
       - Development of Field Facility and Park at Veterans Square
       - Pawtuxet River Riparian Buffer Study Project
       - Continued Development of the Howard Industrial Park Greenspace

Construction of Anadromous Fish Passage at Pawtuxet Falls

The PRAWC continues to pursue restoration of anadromous fish to the Pawtuxet River 
system by reconstructing the state’s first anadromous fish passage originally built in the 
1870s at the Pawtuxet Falls dam in Pawtuxet Village.   Partnered with the US Dept of 
Agriculture, American Rivers Organization, New England Interstate Water Pollution Control 
Commission, US Fish & Wildlife Service, the RI Coastal Resources Management Council, 
the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, NOAA, USEPA, Save the Bay Inc., RI DEM, the RI 
Corporate Wetlands Partnership, and the RI Rivers Council, the PRAWC received a 
feasibility study and survey that was completed in June 2005. The report outlined different 
construction options, described existing water quality conditions, displayed physical charact-
eristics of the lower river and depository in Narragansett Bay, but most importantly attemp-
ted to quantify the nature and extent of inherited pollution from over 100 years of heavy 
industrial abuse to the lower Pawtuxet. The public need be aware that this project, though 
simple in mission, is complex in execution, in that the river is affected by detrimental envir-
onmental conditions and the PRAWC is attempting to remedy a situation for which efforts 
to improve were long ago abandoned.

This project has been targeted as a priority from the Governor’s Office.  The current priorit-
ies of the project are sufficiently funded despite recent federal environmental funding 
cutbacks. Planning activities have recently been funded by a grant from the RI Rivers Cou-
ncil. An additional $50,000 for pre-construction activities was recently awarded by the RI 
Coastal Resource Management Council.  The PRAWC has hired the Essex Partnership and 
Milone & MacBroom of Chesire, CT to help manage the project and select a preferred alter-
native of construction.

Funding for construction has been awarded by the US Department of Agriculture, National 
Resource Conservation Service.g

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Canoe Launch Construction at Pontiac Village

In September 2004 the PRAWC, in partnership with the Woonasquatucket and Mosshasuck 
Watershed Councils, was awarded an “Urban Rivers Access Grant” to select and design a 
public navigational access to the Pawtuxet. The PRAWC selected a site at the junction of 
Pontiac and Knight Streets in Pawtuxet Village and contracted The Gifford Design Group of 
Cumberland to design a parking and canoe/kayak launch area.  The PRAWC then partnered 
with the Warwick Sewer Authority to further pursue the project.

The PRAWC-Warwick Sewer Authority partnership was awarded a $31,000 for construction 
from the RI Trails Advisory Committee in October 2005. Construction may be possible 
summer 06.

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Completion of Arkwright-Phenix-Harris Riverwalk

The Arkwright to Harris segment of the famed PRAWC “Riverwalk” trail has never been 
completed since the opening of the walkway in 1995.  This was due to the existence of 
an intersecting property, privately owned by Howard Realty formerly known as the Paw-
tuxet Valley Dye Works. In 2003, the PRAWC aggressively sought to remedy this situat-
ion by applying for a grant from RIDEM to acquire a means to extend the walkway 
through or around the Howard Realty property.  The PRAWC was awarded a $46,000 
grant to do this. After a number of unsuccessful negotiations were pursued, a fortunate 
situation materialized. Howard Realty decided to put this mill property up for sale.  In 
October 04, a buyer, Nine Howard Development LLC emerged and informed the PRAWC 
that while converting the industrial mill complex to residential living units, it would 
develop the needed segment of the riverwalk at its own expense and gift it to the PRAWC.

Construction has commenced. The PRAWC was able to submit a request for funding for its 
Veterans Square project and have the $46,000 monies re-designated to that project.

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Development of Field Facility & Park at Veterans Square, West Warwick

The PRAWC has been entered into a “Care and Custody Agreement” with the Town of West 
Warwick involving a highly visible property at Centreville Village otherwise known as “Veter-
an’s Square”.  This river access project is the direct result of the Town of West Warwick’s 
continuing commitment to provide its citizens recreational access to the previously underut-
ilized Pawtuxet River.  A marvelous view of Centreville Pond will centerpiece this gateway 
scenery to the town when entering from Rt 117 from Warwick.  The PRAWC will care and dev-
elop this town-acquired parcel including on-going volunteer renovation of an existing garage 
as a field storage facility for the PRAWC, installation of a canoe/kayak launch, parking, high-
lighting of the veterans memorial, and providing fishing and pick-nicking accomodations.

The PRAWC will partner with the Town of West Warwick to pursue this project. As previously 
mentioned, $46,000 grant was awarded in October 2005 by the RI Trails Advisory Comm-
ittee for construction and permitting.  The RIDEM is also evaluating this site for trout stock-
ing and should a favorable decision be reached, this facility would become West Warwick’s 
first trout fishing area.

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Pawtuxet River Riparian Buffer Study Project

Awarded a $48,000 grant from RIDEM, the PRAWC will soon conduct a riparian buffer study 
of the lower main stem of the Pawtuxet River.  This study will be directed toward the most 
easterly fresh water areas of Cranston, all of which are associated with the Pawtuxet River, 
including the Bellefont, Fenner, Roger Williams Park ,  Spectacle Lake and Tongue Pond 
sub-watershed. A candidate wetlands area will be recommended for improvement.  The 
Pawtuxet River Authority intends this study to be the beginning of an extended effort to 
improve those beleaguered bodies of fresh water in Cranston, affected by urban pollution. 
The PRA is intensively interested in cooperation from, and collaboration with, the City of 
Cranston, the Mashpaug Pond Neighborhood Association, and the City of Providence, inclu-
ding Roger Williams Park management.

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Continued Development of the Howard Industrial Park Greenspace

Pawtuxet River Authority received a gift of land of 48 acres in the City of Cranston along 
the Pawtuxet at the eastern end of the Howard Industrial Park, from the State of Rhode 
Island.  The PRA has ambitious plans to make this area a passive recreation urban gem.  
Involving native tree and plant experts from throughout the watershed and state, plans 
are underway to reinvigorate this property by eliminating invasive plant species, encour-
age native plant growth, provide walking trails including rehabilitation of Potters trail, and 
restore a former state facility indigent cemetery. These efforts should also provide much 
needed wildlife habitat, especially for surprising deer and wild turkey populations. The pro-
posed Pontiac Spur Bicycle Path will wind through a portion of this property.

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