Narrow River Preservation Association
Monday, August 21, 2017
NRPA: Working since 1970 to preserve, protect, and restore Narrow River and its watershed.

We hope you will join us at one of our upcoming events! 




Saturday, September 16
What Lives in the River 9-11am
Marsh Walk 10am - noon
at Middlebridge Marina, Middlebridge Road, Narragansett
 Join us to discover 'What Lives in the River'!  

Click here to preregister for this FREE event. 

This hands-on, all-ages introduction to fish, shellfish, crabs and other inhabitants of Narrow River features:

~ Seining with experts to catch river creatures,

~ Guided walks along the intertidal zone and salt marsh to observe the inhabitants,

~ River-water tanks and microscopes to examine river creatures and guidebooks to help identify them, and

~ Experts to discuss the importance of estuaries as nurseries for fish & shellfish,

the fascinating migration of river herring, and the role of river plants in the food web.

 Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.



NRPA's 47th Annual Meeting

2017 NRPA Annual Meeting Highlights 25 Years of Narrow River Water Monitoring

NRPA invites you to attend our 47th Annual Meeting. An exciting agenda is planned that will highlight important projects and activities within the Narrow River Watershed. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 3rd, at the Coastal Institute Auditorium, URI Bay Campus, South Ferry Road, Narragansett. A reception with refreshments and displays from organizations within the Narrow River Watershed will start at 7:00 p.m. and the meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m.


This year’s Annual Meeting will feature a presentation on NRPA’s Narrow River volunteer water monitoring program. In 2016, volunteers completed 25 years of water quality monitoring of Narrow River. NRPA Board Members, Dr. Veronica Berounsky and Annette DeSilva, will present an overview of the data from monitoring sites that span the length of the river from Gilbert Stuart Stream to Pettaquamscutt Cove. The findings from analyses of water quality trends, seasonality patterns, and storm events will be presented. Summaries of bacterial and nutrient level data will be reviewed along with comparisons among the various river monitoring locations. The talk will provide an interesting perspective of how some past activities may have influenced water quality. If you ever wondered about the health of the river and asked questions such as “Has the health of the river changed over years?” we encourage you to attend the meeting.


The Annual Meeting will also include reports on NRPA activities and highlights from the past year. Updates on important issues affecting the Narrow River will be provided, including water and land use management efforts. Highlights from NRPA's education programs will be reviewed. We will discuss dredging and salt marsh planting projects in Lower Narrow River. The W.E.R. La Farge Memorial Friend of the River Award will be presented, and this year's kayak raffle winner will be announced.


NRPA's Annual Meeting provides a forum to meet NRPA members and to learn more about the Narrow River and its Watershed. We hope that you will join us. 


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

7:00 p.m. Refreshments / 7:30 p.m. Meeting

Coastal Institute Auditorium, URI Narragansett Bay Campus,

South Ferry Road, Narragansett, RI

 Art on the River 

Thank you to all who joined us for Art on the River on Saturday, August 5th!

Click here to see photos from the event.  


In May and June, volunteers planted salt marsh grass seedlings as the next phase of the

Salt Marsh Restoration Project in lower Narrow River.

Click here for more details!


Many thanks to Dr. Nancy Karraker, who presented at the On Pettaquamscutt Speaker Series on Sunday, February 26, 2017.
Next On Pettaquamscutt: March 26, Tim Cranston, Industry Along the Pettaquamscutt.


Remembering The Shack on Sedge Island

The little red shack on Sedge Island in the Narrow River has been a beloved Narragansett icon for decades. Visible due west of the Sprague Bridge, the shack has been enjoyed by people fishing, kayaking, boating, bird watching and simply sightseeing. In November, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service removed the shack, as it had become a hazard. It was razed with demolition equipment already in the area for the Salt Marsh Restoration and Dredging Project. 
Sedge Island appears in Land Evidence records in both Narragansett and South Kingstown dating as far back as 1882. The island changed hands several times between the first land evidence record until it was purchased by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2004. USF&WS made several repairs to the shack, attempting to keep it in decent and safe condition, but the elements proved too powerful and the shack deteriorated significantly and became dangerous. Click here to read the press release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Matunuck resident Karl Dillmann remembers many family stories from his grandfather T. William Dixon and mother Peggy Dixon Dillmann, who owned the island from 1927 to 1958.
“The house washed away during the ’38 Hurricane, but [my grandfather] found it and towed it back with his skiff. My mother remembers using block and tackle and with the help of her college friends dragging it back to the foundation. She said that her father fastened it down somehow, saying if there were ever again such a storm, [the house] would be blown to pieces before it would wash away again. It actually was a little fancier back then as the windows and doors were salvaged from the fancy hotels at the Pier after they were torn down. 
“My mom’s family lived in Peace Dale and they would spend the summer on the island. My grandfather would get in his boat and go ashore, somewhere near where the South County Museum is now. He would walk up a path and cross Post Road… twice a day so that he could feed his cows.  He was the first person on the pond to get an outboard motor.”
In June of 1946, The Providence Journal dedicated their Sunday Magazine (then called The Rhode Islander) to an article about Peggy Dixon. Photographs of Peggy show her on Sedge Island, which she used as the home base for her lobster business. Karl Dillmann recalls: “My mom was the first woman in RI to get a lobster license. She would row her Amesbury dory out the mouth of Narrow River to tend her pots. She and her friend Betty were by the mouth of Narrow River the day that U 853 sank the Black Point.”
He remembers his mother describing how seagulls created holes in the shack’s roof by dropping quahogs onto the black rooftop. Peggy and her father corrected this problem by painting the roof green.
Betty Faella of South Kingstown visited the island several summers as a Girl Scout. Led by Jane Place Andrews, Director of Waterfront Activities, a group of girls would board canoes at the Girl Scout Camp at the head of the Narrow River and row down to Sedge Island. There Peggy Dixon would meet them and they would all spend the night on the floor of the shack. Betty recalls using her toes to feel for shellfish in the sand.
NRPA is collecting memories and images of the shack. If you have stories, photographs or artwork of the shack to share, please submit to the NRPA Facebook page or email to
NRPA and the US Fish & Wildlife Service are working together to create a physical remembrance of the shack. Plans are under way and with the hope of an installation ceremony this Spring. 
~ Many thanks to Karl Dillmann and Betty Faella for their contributions to this story.

On Pettaquamscutt 2017

  • Register now for Improving the Health of the Narrow River Estuary on January 29

Space is limited for the January 29th presentation, so we encourage you to register now to reserve a seat.

Join us for updates on two projects to improve the marsh resiliency and water quality in Narrow River:

Dr. Jennifer White, Hurricane Sandy Resiliency Coordinator for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, will describe recent efforts to restore the salt marshes in Narrow River by placing dredged material on the surface of the marsh to raise the elevation so that plants can thrive.

Craig Swanson of Swanson Environmental Associates will discuss a recent study on the impact of dredging near the mouth of the river to increase circulation within the estuary.

For more about the winter speakers series, visit our On Pettaquamscutt page



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NRPA is a member of the R.I. Rivers Council and has served as the Designated Watershed Council for Narrow River since 2002.


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