Spring Cleaning with Save the Bay Volunteers

One sign of spring at Salter Grove is the flocking of volunteers to clean up the park and help make it more enjoyable for visitors and safer for wildlife.

For many consecutive years, Save the Bay in Providence has organized groups for two-hour shoreline cleanups on evenings and weekends.

On April 2, 28 enthusiastic volunteers braved a sunny but cold and windy day for the first cleanup of 2022. They gave the season a great start by hauling out 376 pounds of refuse. Items ranged from small plastics, such as water bottle tops and cigar tips, to large foam pieces of boating equipment that weighed more than 20 pounds.

The first cleanup of the year is typically a large haul because so many items accumulate during the winter months. Anything that wind and waves can move end up trapped in vegetation of the park or mired in the mud of the shoreline.

A second group came out on May 23, an event that was part of the Earth Day and Earth Week initiatives planned by Save the Bay at many locations around the state. On a chilly morning, 25 volunteers removed about 110 pounds of trash. The teams did painstaking work in the northwest corner of the park between Narragansett Parkway and the waterline. This area of the park was recently cleared of brush by a separate group of FoSG volunteers. This project revealed years’ worth of accumulation of small plastics — not heavy, but great in number.

This year, a number of new cleanup leaders are training at Salter Grove, a good sign that the efforts will be sustainable for years to come. Salter Grove is an important site for cleanups, both because of its rich ecological diversity and the number of anglers it attracts each year.

The next spring cleanup will take place on Sunday, May 22, at 9 a.m. Interested volunteers should register at volunteer.savebay.org before attending. 

Photos by Save the Bay

Playground Safened

A thick layer of Rec Mix (thrice-ground wood fiber) purchased from Thompson Native Lumber was applied to the playground on Saturday, April 30th to restore safe play conditions. 

A hard-working group of FoSG members and volunteers spread 40 cubic yards of fiber in three hours.

From left to right and front to back: Jason Major, Matt LaMountain, Mark Weiss; Matt Dickinson, Pat (Milo’s mother) Stark, Marina Wong, Billie McGovern, Andy Lohmeier, and Carolyn Hardie. 
OK, we took a few breaks!

Not pictured in the group photo, but still contributing mightily were FoSG member Rep. Joe McNamara, and a visiting family that volunteered on the spot: Sean, Ben, and Maggie Rogan. (Sean P. Rogan is a member of the local Salter’s Groove band.)

The Rogan family pitched in to help. It’s great when parents involve their children in community work from an early age!

When the playground was first constructed in 2019, too little wood fiber, especially in the swing area, and exuberant use led to exposure of the underlying geotextile and gravel.

This was both unsafe and unsustainable. 

Two City administrations failed to address these hazardous play conditions despite FoSG’s repeated requests, so we acted to fill the breach.

Rubber swing mats have also been ordered to prevent excessive wear under the swings and slide for a total cost of $4,061.

We thank the Vivian J. Palmieri Charitable Trust for a generous grant that enabled this project. 

The ADA swing is not meant for adults so the sticker should not be tampered with. 
Gravel left in the play area could hurt a child. 

The playground and its plantings have cost more than $134,000, which took three years and considerable effort to raise. We need to make this last!

As guardians, let’s be sure that equipment is used responsibly and children are kept safe. Dogs must be leashed and under their owner’s control. Children should be coached on how to behave in a shared space. 

Added May 20, 2022: Neighborly volunteers Jay (L) and Jared (R) Reminder and FoSG volunteer Matt Dickinson (not pictured) installed the new swing mats.

April 30th Temporary Playground Closure 

FoSG volunteers spreading wood fiber on swing area.

The circular play area at Salter Grove will be closed on Saturday, April 30, 2022, from 9 a.m.–12 p.m. so that wood fiber can be spread to provide a safe play surface. FoSG members and volunteers will do the deed.

The two swing areas have already been renewed and will remain open. For the safety of your children, please keep them out of the work and travel areas.

Filling In the Gaps

Volunteers plant more prostrate conifers to take advantage of upcoming rain. 

All the plants in the parking area survived the winter, but there was still a lot of open space. So two dozen conifers (Blue Rug, Bar Harbor, Blue Pacific, and Nana) were added to more quickly cover the ground, which is expected to take 3-5 years.

Meanwhile, a barricade reminds visitors not to walk through the planted area until it is well established. A foot path has been provided at the northern end.

A thick layer of large wood chips has done a great job of retaining soil moisture where no water standpipe is available. Let’s keep this area clean and attractive! 

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Soil Speed Bumps

Warwick Tree Warden Carlos Pineirho plans remediation 

A section of the wooded hillside above the vernal pond has lost all vegetative cover due to wind storms, leaving extensive patches of bare soil. This area is vulnerable to severe erosion which will silt the pond and eventually make its way into the Bay.

To forestall this, plans are afoot to drag some dead trees into the area to check downhill water flow. Once these main structural components are in place, brush will be piled between to provide additional erosion protection.

The brush piles will also serve as habitat for rodents that will hopefully serve as ‘meals on wheels’ to encourage an American Mink spotted in the area to stick around. 

Mink photographed on the rocks just offshore from Audubon Field