Rhode Island’s Ocean and Coastal Magazine

Winter 2015: Resilience

This issue examines how Rhode Island and other coastal communities are looking toward resiliency strategies to be prepared for the next storm.


From the Editor


Hoboken, N.J., has come a long way since it was struck by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The city—at a square mile, similar in size to Central Falls—saw 20,000 of its 50,000 residents stranded by rising water during the storm, and its subway famously flooded.

Hoboken’s city manager, Stephen Marks, spoke at “Staying Afloat: Adapting Waterfront Business to Rising Seas and Extreme Storms,” the 2014 Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium, about measures the city is taking to deal with future storms—including installing flooding pumps, designing parks and playgrounds to hold stormwater, and creating a “community emergency response team” of volunteers who can deliver food, water, and medicines to stranded neighbors. These actions are part of the city’s ambitious nine-point resiliency strategy that includes infrastructure, outreach, and zoning efforts.

Other symposium speakers talked about actions being taken in Rhode Island, from adding resiliency to existing buildings, such as by installing floodwalls, to reimaging existing coastal businesses that were devastated by Sandy, and rebuilding them in different ways—for instance, turning a café into a mobile operation that can be moved from its shoreline location in the event of a storm.

This issue of 41°N looks at coastal resiliency in Rhode Island and elsewhere, and what the issues are in protecting property ranging from ports to private residences.


Write us
Please write to Letters, 41°N Editorial Office, Rhode Island Sea Grant, URI Bay Campus, Narragansett, RI 02882, or email 

– Features –

Sacred Symbol: The Beauty of Wampum

     By Sarah SchumannPhotographs by Acacia Johnson   Only 3 artisans in the world still make wampum from quahog shells. Allen Hazard of the Narragansett Tribe continues this tradition. Allen Hazard, a wampum maker and member of the Narragansett Tribe,...

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Quintessential Quahogs

    AN APPRECIATION OF A LOCAL ICON The Sea Goose Grill & Raw Bar offers its best quahog recipes. See below. Newcomers and visitors to Rhode Island are often struck by the word “quahog” on local menus, stumbling on its pronunciation (KO-hog, from the...

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Sea Level Rise and Salt Marsh Migration

    DIGGING TRENCHES AIDS RESTORATION A dome of blue-gray sky cups the open expanse, ensuring the day will be a chilly one. Low tide on Round Marsh in Jamestown exposes last year’s growth of grasses, including the omnipresent Phragmites, still only in its dead-beige...

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Mapping Out a Future

    North Kingstown and Newport Plan for Storms, Flooding In the wake of superstorm Sandy, coastal communities in Rhode Island are struggling to figure out how to protect their residents and businesses from future storm damages and losses. “Whether it’s a...

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The Word is Surge

Indstrry experts and marina owners say the nation’s recreational boaters should note one major lesson from the historic $675 million in damages inflicted on them from Superstorm Sandy: Surge, in addition to wind and wave strength, must be factored into vessel...

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Nature or Nurture for Sandy-Damaged Shorelines

    The most enduring reminders of superstorm Sandy are erosion and, of course, ongoing expenses to repair the damages from the storm. In Rhode Island, the storm’s immediate damage tallied $11 million, followed by some $42 million in recovery...

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Preparing Ports to Ride Out the Storm

    DEVASTATION FROM SUPERSTORM SANDY IN 2012 is still visible along the New Jersey shore, where thousands of houses were swept away or damaged, and it will be years before the destruction is no longer visible. The Port of New York and New Jersey was...

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