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Sittin’ On A Bench On the Bay

By Trent Batson
May 27, 2022

Years ago, one of our daughters took up residence on Ocean Avenue and I, a retired university professor, had the privilege of walking her dog at Stillhouse Cove when she and her husband were at work.  I loved the Cove as did Calypso, the dog.  

More recently, I’ve had another privilege — serving on the Board of the Edgewood Waterfront Preservation Association that maintains Stillhouse Cove.  I’ve stepped down from the Board now but wanted to continue to contribute to the EWPA in some way.  My current research work is about human evolution and climate change — and, in these blogs, I’ll write about how those two relate to the good work at Stillhouse Cove.

I am launching, with the support of the EWPA Board, a monthly series of blogs about Stillhouse Cove and resilience work as climate change presents ever greater challenges to that work.  The EWPA has done model work on resilience in the Cove and this blog series celebrates that work while also describing the larger context of how humanity is dealing with the climate crisis.  

What happens at Stillhouse Cove is a microcosm of shorelines around the world and so is well worth following.  

Musing on the Cove

You can sit on a bench in Stillhouse Cove in Pawtuxet, Rhode Island, facing east, looking out over the bay, and watch the dawn break.  Many do.  Sometimes, in the rain.  I told my granddaughter, when fog obscured the far shore, that the East Bay part of Rhode Island had floated away.  

As you sit, song sparrows may sing or, in season, you may hear redwing blackbirds.  You might see an Osprey bank over the water — or seagulls or cormorants — and geese or ducks feeding on the shoreline.  

The sun reflecting off the Bay glitters.  Dogs, walking their owners, sniff on by.  Runners, silent on their feet, ghost past.  Cars are surprisingly quiet as drivers slowly take in the scene.  

In season, the sight of sailboats and “stinkpots” at the Yacht Club adds a sense of elegance and adventure. 

Out in the channel, large freighters slip on down the bay, or churn up the Bay, heading for the Port of Providence.

And the Bay water, ever moving, full of life, remains unconcerned.

One can slip out of time sitting on that bench.  

May Site Committee Work a Big Success: Infiltration Area Seeded!

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.

Interested in volunteering? Join us! 

April – Site Committee Prepares for Spring

The EWPA “Site Management Committee” keeps the park and salt marsh healthy with ongoing maintenance and improvements. On Saturday we met to prepare for Spring. Volunteer with us and join us!

The 2022 Spring Salt Marsh and Park Clean Up!

The Edgewood Waterfront Preservation Association (EWPA), Pawtuxet Village Association (PVA) Annual Stillhouse Cove Salt Marsh and Park and Pawtuxet Park Clean-Up.

Spring Clean Up
April 23, 9-11 AM 

We had perfect weather and a great crowd for our Stillhouse Cove cleanup today, hosted in partnership with Save the Bay and the Pawtuxet Village Association. Close to 100 people worked picking up garbage and pruning vegetation while at the same time connecting with neighbors and friends. Over (insert number) pounds of refuge was collected and Cranston Mayor Ken Hopkins joined in himself.

EWPA President Barbara Rubine received a proclamation from the State of Rhode Island delivered by Rep McNamara and Mayor Hopkins, thanking the organization for all of the work done over the years to nurture and grow this beautiful waterfront space. Other notable attendees included Councilwoman Vargas, Senator Miller, Councilwoman Marino, Congressional candidate Joy Fox and EWPA Founding Board member Hy Goldman.

There were many conversations about how far the EWPA has come over the years, including stories about how way back in 1996, one neighbor used his car to tow the trees out of the cove area and one time a tow truck had to be called to help!

Thank you to everyone who came out. 

Annual Meeting 2021-2022

Building Local Climate Resilience – From Hazards to Solutions 

How we can best prepare our community for current and future climate change and rising sea level? A Presentation by Shaun O’RourkeManaging Director at the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank. 

Annual Meeting Presentation
April 13, 6:30 PM, Via Zoom

At the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, O’Rourke manages a portfolio of lending and grant programs to help accelerate infrastructure investment statewide. Shaun led the development of “Resilient Rhody,” the state’s first climate resilience action strategy under Governor Raimondo in 2018 and continues to work closely with municipalities to move from planning to action.  His talk title is  “Building Local Climate Resilience – From Hazards to Solutions”  and will focus on how we can best prepare our community for current and future climate change and rising sea level.”

March 26, 2022
Site Committee Readying for Spring!

The “Site Mangement Committee” first meeting getting ready for Spring. Join us! Volunteer!

Mystic Aquarium to work with two Cranston schools

Cranston Herald Article – February 10


Two hundred eighth grade students from Park View Middle School and Hugh B. Bain Middle School will advance their education on ocean exploration this spring thanks to a $24,953 grant Mystic Aquarium received from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ocean Exploration. The program’s curriculum will provide projects and local excursions for students.


Some of What We Did in 2021 with Your Help

Your support helps us to protect and conserve Stillhouse Cove Salt Marsh and Park, our local environmental treasure.

Each year we raise $10,000 to maintain, and improve Stillhouse Cove Salt Marsh and Park to keep it a sustainable, clean, beautiful, and safe waterfront.
Please give today.

Please Support Us | Volunteer with Us

Selected plants including “bee and polinator” friendly plants like this unique variety of hydrangia.

Protected the marsh and conservation area at Stillhouse by treating and removing invasive weeds and seedlings.

Improved gardens and the rotary with native plants and grasses that withstand drought and attract bees.

Maintained gardens with new plants and moving others to better locations.

Hosted two successful clean-ups that removed trash from around the cove.

Installed new “coir logs”to protect the salt marsh and park from erosion and storm damage. These “logs” were installed at the base of the slope in the salt march to help the cove stay stable and healthy.

Please help to conserve Stillhouse Cove Salt Marsh and Park with your donation today.


The Edgewood Village invited Board President Barbara Rubine to tell their group about the history of Stillhouse Cove, Salt Marsh and Park. Here are her comments, The Short Story.

November 18, 2021

I want to thank Michael for his invitation to talk today about the history of Stillhouse Cove, I think.  I say that because I have been so immersed in various aspects of this property for so long that, honestly, it is very challenging to focus on a short or quick study of this property that is historically accurate.   I am going to do my best to keep you interested for the few minutes I have to generally outline how this property became a park, why it is so historically and environmentally important to the neighborhood, the City, the State of Rhode Island, and the country. 

This park land that we are standing on was agricultural property that was part of the Brattle Farm.  The property that comprises the park spans from Ocean Avenue to Strathmore Place, about one half mile of waterfront.  The name “Stillhouse” came from a distillery that was owned by Joseph Rhodes and was located approximately where Trinity Church is situated today.  The home and distillery owned by Joseph Rhodes no longer exists.  

October 26, 2021
We have new “coir logs”! Thanks to Ray and Wenley!

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. 

Thanks Ray and Wenley!! 

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