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DEM closes shellfish areas due to excessive rain

Mt. Hope Bay and Kickemuit River Conditional Areas scheduled to reopen Dec. 8

Posted 12/1/20

PROVIDENCE — With parts of Rhode Island experiencing more than three inches of rainfall from Monday’s storm, the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) on Tuesday announced closures …

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DEM closes shellfish areas due to excessive rain

Mt. Hope Bay and Kickemuit River Conditional Areas scheduled to reopen Dec. 8

Posted

PROVIDENCE — With parts of Rhode Island experiencing more than three inches of rainfall from Monday’s storm, the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) on Tuesday announced closures of approved shellfish areas for seven days and existing conditional shellfish areas for 10 days. 

This is standard procedure after rainfall of three inches in a 24-hour period, according to DEM. Thus far, no municipal wastewater treatment facility has reported any storm-related sanitary sewer overflows or permit violations to DEM.

According to the conditional and excessive rain closure policies, DEM announces the following closures:

• Conditional Areas Upper Bay Area "A" and Upper Bay Area "D" will be closed to shellfishing and scheduled to reopen at noon on Friday, Dec. 11.

• The closures of Mt. Hope Bay and Kickemuit River Conditional Areas will extend seven days and are scheduled to reopen at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 8.

• Conditional Area Greenwich Bay and the Point Judith Pond Conditional Areas will be closed to shellfishing for seven days and scheduled to reopen noon, Dec. 8, 2020.

• GA 1 Upper Bay Area “B,” GA 3 East Middle Bay, and GA 9 West Middle Bay will be closed to shellfishing and are scheduled to reopen at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 8.

DEM works with the Rhode Island Department of Health to ensure that shellfish harvested in approved growing areas is safe for human consumption. Accordingly, DEM announces these additional storm-related procedures and requirements:

• Shellfish harvested after noon today from the parts of Shellfish Harvest Areas 3W and 4A that remain open will be assigned Harvest Areas 3W South and 4A South. 

• Aquaculture farmers are reminded that:

— Access to leases in the affected areas is limited to necessary maintenance/retrieval of equipment, and for the purposes of preparing for and planting oyster seed. If the lessee intends to conduct maintenance and/or retrieve their equipment, or prepare for or plant seed, they are required to notify Ben Goetsch, Aquaculture Coordinator, RI Coastal Resources Management Council, by leaving a message at 783-3370.

— Where an extended closure period has been enacted (greater than seven days), access to the lease for non-harvest activities may be allowed. The lessee must seek and obtain authorization by contacting RIDEM’s Law Enforcement division at 222-3070 to conduct any non-harvest activities.

Sign up to receive e-mail notifications of conditional area and emergency closures by sending an e-mail to RishellfishOWR-subscribe@listserve.ri.gov or visit dem.ri.gov.

For information on where you can harvest shellfish, refer to the interactive shellfish map, which can be found at dem.ri.gov/shellfish.

Find the current status of conditionally approved areas by calling the Shellfish Closure Hotline at 401/222-2900, 24 hours a day. If you have questions or concerns about shellfish closures, call 401/222-4700 or e-mail dem.shellfish@dem.ri.go.

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