We’ve all heard of Rhode Island’s housing shortage. According to the Rhode Island Audubon Society, it also applies to our local water raptors. Consequently, the Edgewood Waterfront Preservation Association (EWPA) recently erected a nesting tower in Stillhouse Cove Marsh. Qualified tenants will be welcomed next Spring.
EWPA worked with Charles Clarkson from RI Audubon and Wenley Ferguson of Save the Bay to identify the most suitable site in the Marsh. EWPA purchased the materials and volunteer Charlie assembled the platform and post. We obtained a permit from the RI Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC). And just prior to Thanksgiving, Eddy and Augusto from Contemporary Landscaping dug a hole for the post and erected it during a low tide with strong assistance from EWPA board member Donna and new neighbor John.
The trees in Stillhouse Cove Park that provide us with shade and beauty require constant care and EWPA and its partners have recently performed several critical tasks.
Three Ash trees were treated on 8.12.23 for Emerald Ash Borer. One tree was already infected, but treatment should help prevent further damage. Damaged parts will need to be pruned to make the damage less noticeable. Steve and Scott of Northeast Tree made the injections which were paid for by City of Cranston through the funds available to the City Tree Warden John Skorupski.
Schwartz Tree and Landscaping donated services trying to repair several bad pruning cuts performed at some point on these same Ash trees in an effort to limb up low lying branches.
For the first time EWPA invested in mulching around almost all of the trees in the park. This was done at the recommendation of the RI Tree Council to create a larger ring around the trees to protect their surface roots. The effort is more than aesthetic mulching: mulching encourages insect activity and protects the roots from damage from mowing, and it does look nice. Mulch also keeps the soil moist which hydrates the trees and enables the trees to absorb stormwater better than dry compacted soil.
It was observed that several juniper trees that self seeded on the banks under the cottonwood trees were subjected to unauthorized pruning. The person who did this cut the tops off of the trees and threw the branches into the creeks behind the trees in an effort to hide the branches. The Cranston Tree Warden has been notified of the unauthorized cutting of native juniper virginiana trees growing on the edges of the salt marsh that are vital to erosion control. EWPA has a healthy working relationship with City personnel and seeks authorization every time we need to address tree issues that include, but are not limited to, removing invasive trees and seedlings, spraying trees for infestations, and limbing up trees that cause issues for vehicles and pedestrians, etc.
We will also be working on removing invasive white pear trees and Tree of Heaven seedlings at our October cleanup. Approval from the Tree Warden will be sought in advance.
On May 17, 2023, Barbara Rubine and Donna Fieldman of the EWPA met with Wenley Ferguson of Save the Bay and Dave Lager, Team Leader at SUMco. The agenda was to assess the damage caused by the historic December 23, 2022 stormtide to the Park’s infrastructure.
The conclusion was that there was extensive damage to the the coir envelopes that were installed in 2013 to repair damage from Superstorm Sandy. EWPA hopes to be able to repair the bottom coir envelopes, which must be built in place, and re-secure them with added premade coir logs and new 4×4 stakes. The repair will be challenging since it needs to be done from the top of the bank as no machinery is allowed at the marsh level. EWPA will be researching possible funding sources.
Over 60 neighbors and friends joined the Edgewood Waterfront Preservation Association (EWPA) at Stillhouse Cove Salt Marsh and Park for our Annual Clean Up. Hundreds of pounds of trash and debris was removed including plastics, syringes, and lumber. Thanks to everyone that participated in the clean up.
The Site Committee, including board members and volunteers, spent a productive morning seeding the infiltration area damaged over the winter.
The infiltration area acts as a natural filter for storm water that flows into the bay. Catching bacteria and other organisms and larger items like trash before the water flows into Stillhouse Cove, this important feature protects the cove from bacterial or other blooms as well as from trash and plastics.
Thanks to the volunteers and board members that showed up to do this important work.
Coir logs perform an important function in the cove. Made to control erosion and protect the cove in the event of a significant storm, these “logs” help the cove stay stable and healthy.
And Ray and Wenley? Ray Mooney and Wenley Ferguson have been supporters of the EWPA for many years, adding expertise and helping out in many ways and lately heling in acquiring and installing coir logs in the cove.
This spring Ray saw logs posted on a social media site for a price substantially below what we have spent for similar items in the past. Given the Covid-19 situation and the difficulty of transporting them to Rhode Island, we passed on these items this spring. However, Ray noticed last week that they were still available. He drove to New Hampshire with his trailer and brought 15 logs back.
Wenley is lending her expertise in how these should be installed to gain the greatest benefit from them. She will advise the landscaping company that will be installing them.
The work of EWPA couldn’t happen without the assistance of such important friends of EWPA and we thank them for their generous and important efforts.
Maintaining the park includes keeping a close eye on the plants that are doing well and the ones that need some help. It also means always improving.
Last year Winterberry were planted in the northern curve of the park. The berries feed the birds throughout early winter and add a nice look to the edge of the park. Several of the plants did quite well while a few seemed to struggle.
In an effort to give them a better location to thrive, we, led by Nick Cokonis, moved the winterberry to a location a with more sun and less competition for water. Where the Winterberry were removed, they were replaced by a variety of smooth hydrangea called ‘Invincibelle Ruby.’
A Better Hydrangea for Pollinators (including Bees!)
“The pollinators love these Hydrangeas” said Nick Cokonis. He continued explaining that the variety of hydrangea chosen to replace the spots where the Winterberry were have reproductive organs and nectar available. Most commercial hydrangea are cultivated to lose the nectar and reproductive organs so they won’t produce nectar or pollen. In these commercial plants, the sterile flowers can be four times the size, making them thirstier.
Asphalt: The Nasty Gift that Keeps on Giving
The slow release of petroleum from asphalt dumped on the site years ago is the nasty gift that keeps on giving. While preparing beds, the crew took the time to remove as much of the tar that they could find.
On Saturday, October 2, 2021 Board Members from the EWPA worked in the early morning sun to remove invasive growth from the cove. This removal, done once per year, allows the naturally occurring growth room to thrive. The removal included a surprising number of young “pear” trees, that, according to understanding, are a variety that never actually produce pears!!
EWPA has hosted this local historic and art project. Donating on this page supports continued maintenance of the site. If you would like to donate to support the work of EWPA please visit http://stillhousecove.org/donate/
The sculpture and historic marker at the corner of Narragansett Boulevard and Sefton Drive stand at the precise terminus of the former ‘Eddy Street – Edgewood’ streetcar line. The site commemorates the 1890s trolley routes that transformed Edgewood from farmland and recreation area into the neighborhood we know today.
After Filmmaker David A. Goldenberg witnessed the removal of the rails from the Boulevard in 2017, he retrieved some pieces and asked sculptor David Karoff to weld them into a monument. Then, using a myriad of archival sources, Goldenberg produced a documentary film: End of the Line: The Tracks That Shaped Our RI Streetcar Suburb. In the documentary, local voice-over artists recreated period descriptions of the routes that traversed our neighborhood, as well as accident reports, realty advertisements, and transport procedures. A link to the film is provided below.
It was critical to connect the project with the waterfront and public park in a site sensitive manner and the Edgewood Waterfront Preservation Association (EWPA) partnered with Goldenberg and Karoff on the promotion, siting, design, and landscaping of the “End of The Line” project and played a key role in completing it. As with all its preservation efforts, the EWPA also coordinated with the City of Cranston and local representatives. EWPA also provided the funding, with some help from donors, to complete the project. The site is located next to another EWPA project – the Stormwater Bioretention Area.
Mason Dennis Conte built the base and created the brick surround. Community members supported the project with materials and financial contributions.
The sculpture, made from rails from the former trolley line, is an interesting historical artifact that brings together art and history along a busy promenade within sight of historic Stillhouse Cove. This effort was consistent with EWPA’s mission to educate the community and to protect and preserve publicly-owned property within the waterfront area.
Please send your tax-deductible contributions to EWPA (Edgewood Waterfront Preservation Association) 1438 Narragansett Blvd. Cranston RI 02905 and mark checks “trolley memorial” or select the link below