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.
According to the AVMA, Rhode Island ranks 46th in the nation in dog ownership with only 26% of households having a mutt (Idaho is first with 58%). You certainly wouldn’t know that in this neighborhood! Every day, Stillhouse Cove Park is the destination for multitudes of Edgewood’s dogs and their owners who know each other through their pets. EWPA volunteer Ray Mooney regularly stocks the dog waste bags in the several dispensers next to the Park. Some of us can remember a time when owners did not pick up after their dogs. Thankfully that practice is long gone and everyone participates in keeping the beloved waterfront area pristine.
On September 23, more than 33 volunteers braved the rain and showed up to clean the shoreline at Stillhouse Cove. The event was one of many such cleanups throughout Rhode Island coordinated by Save the Bay.
On August 15, 2003, John Murphy, a trustee of the Palmieri Trust, met with the EWPA board to review current work and to hear about upcoming projects at Stillhouse Cove. The Trust funded the rose garden and has been a generous supporter of our efforts to improve and maintain the park for several years. Mr. Murphy, a former resident of Edgewood with deep roots in the community, is very familiar with the history of Stillhouse Cove and commented on the transformation of the park and wetland area over recent years. The entire board was present and appreciated the opportunity to meet with Mr. Murphy.
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.
Erstwhile EWPA volunteers showed up on August 5, 2023 to fight back loosestrife and other invasives that have run rampant in the Park and Marsh at Stillhouse Cove. Participants included: Deborah Tellers Palladino, Michelle Maynard, Jerry Long, Andrew Goodale, Steve Johnson, Colin Murphy, Barbara Rubine, and Donna Fieldman. Charlie, Donna, and Barbara carefully trimmed the limbs on Strathmore Place that were hitting cars and trucks.
Every Friday morning for the last six weeks, 40 Cranston school kids from all over the city (grades K -6) came to Stillhouse Cove as part of a summer STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) camp program. Their teachers used the Cove as a laboratory regarding local ecology. EWPA’s Barbara Rubine and Donna Fieldman explained the challenges that erosion poses to the marsh and park and highlighted the different ways the problem is addressed at this location. On the last day of camp, in an effort to support the work of the EWPA, the students sold shells and rocks they had found along the shore and painted.
Exposition was grouped by grade level: K – 1 Group with teacher Berkis Rodriguez and TA Sheryl Peacock; Grades 2 – 3 with teacher Lena Cabral and TA Donna Pagano; and Grades 4 – 6 with teacher Keith Lavin and TA Hedy Tessier. This is the third consecutive year that Stillhouse Cove has hosted a STEM program.
Thanks to Scott Molloy for sending on this 1952 bus schedule for the Edgewood – Eddy Street line. It was a “trackless trolley” that required a turnaround in what is now Stillhouse Cove Park. Note that the first inbound departure was at 5:23 AM and that last outbound bus from downtown arrived at 12:35 AM.
On June 17, 2023, several volunteers spent a drippy Saturday morning cleaning up Stillhouse Cove Park. Colin Murphy, Tom Ladue, and Donna Fieldman concentrated on cleaning mold off the Park’s benches. Linda Sardone and Melissa Carden (with son Charlie) focused on the beach area and marsh edges. The benches look great!
Seniors and their parents from Warwick’s Pilgrim High School descended on Stillhouse Cove on June 1, 2023 to take advantage of the Park’s beauty for prom photos. Traffic nearly came to a standstill on Narragansett Blvd.