Rhode Island

Protect Matunuck!

Victory | April 26 2016

Coastal Preservation

A longstanding case at Matunuck Beach in South Kingstown, Rhode Island resurfaced in 2016, when the owner of the Ocean Mist bar filed what was labeled as a maintenance permit application to the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), to try to protect his property from further erosion and total loss.

As with all armoring projects, however, the proposal for more hard structure to be placed in front of one business means more beach loss and erosion for a neighboring spot. In this case, that would mean loss of public access to a really ripe surf break (learn more about Surfrider's Coastal Preservation initiative). Additionally, the proposal submitted was a far cry from a maintenance project.

Because of pressure from the Surfrider Foundation, Save the Bay and Conservation Law Foundation, who co-jointly filed a Motion for Declaratory Ruling asking CRMC to decide that the demolition & reconstruction proposal was not a repair & maintenance project, but rather a whole new project, in concert with this powerhitting trio showing up to the April 26, 2016 meeting prepared to object to this new proposal that was inaccurately masked as a maintenance permit, the applicant was forced to reconsider, and the faulty "maintenance" proposal was withdrawn.

Had we not rallied for April 26, it's possible that the room full of over 200 people calling to build out the seawall would have been appeased, and we'd be facing a much steeper battle that could have set bad precedent for erosion response via shoreline structures in Rhode Island - not to mention essentially ensuring our loss of access to the surfbreak at Matunuck.

Make no mistake, though, this isn't over. We're certain to see the petitioners revise their project proposal and resubmit to CRMC for consideration.

A new campaign relevant to this issue will emerge if and when the project proponents issue their next proposal. The Rhode Island Chapter will continue to work on this case, urging managed retreat as the best and most viable option for Matunuck.

The best way to support our work is to become a member of the Surfrider Foundation. To get more directly involved in our efforts in Rhode Island, please give a shout.

Coastal Preservation

Beaches are a unique and dynamic landscape that should be protected for the future. The Surfrider Foundation is leading efforts at the state and local levels to protect our shorelines on every coast. Our efforts are focused on establishing appropriate setbacks for development, opposing shoreline structures, and placing coastal lands in public trust.

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