Rhode Island’s Ocean and Coastal Magazine

Winter 2017: Economy

This issue examines the economics of coastal living.

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From the Editor


In the book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, an apple tree gives the boy she loves a trunk and branches for climbing when he is young, then apples for selling when he gets older, then wood for building, and finally an old stump to rest on. If we were today to write a similar poem for Rhode Island, it might be The Giving Coast, about Narragansett Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, and the goods and services they provide to us. We expect the coast, unlike the apple tree of the story, to endlessly regenerate everything it brings forth.

In this issue of 41°N, we look at the economics of the coast, and the price we can put—or not—on what it offers, from sand and seafood to intangibles such as ecosystem diversity and water views. And we examine how those things are changing—such as how warming waters are bringing new fish species further north—and how people and industries are adapting, such as how innovations are transforming the face of the marine trades.

Let us know what you think.


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

– Features –

Sand Mine

After Superstorm Sandy in 2012, bulldozers, trucks, dredges, and barges were put to use hauling sand from every available source to restore beaches that protected waterfront properties and infrastructure, as well as critical habitats along the Atlantic coast. While...

Water View

OCEANFRONT. New construction designed with architectural grace & quality craftsmanship affording panoramic views of Pt. Judith Refuge and Block Island from every room. Sited on rare, gated 1.3-acre lot within walking distance of Roger Wheeler Beach. List price...

Rhode Island’s Resort Economy

The ocean has always driven the Rhode Island economy, whether it be for fishing, commerce, recreation, or simply escaping the heat of summer. An economy strongly dependent on tourism is nothing new to Rhode Island. Summer people have fed it since the mid-19th century,...

Narragansett Bay Watershed

Our natural systems provide myriad goods and services, but we often don’t think about exactly how valuable those goods and services are to our economy and society. We instinctively recognize cleaner water to play in, better fishing, and less flooding as contributions...

Coastal Tourism Tested by Climate Change

Visit Misquamicut State Beach in Westerly or Easton’s Beach in Newport on any sunny day in June, July, or August, and it is an ocular overload. From beachgoers toting umbrellas to coolers to beach chairs, the beaches are a flurry of colorful activity in the summer. It...

The Shuckin’ Truck

On a blazing July night at Narragansett Town Beach, The Shuckin’ Truck stands out among the wheeled vendors selling pizza, hot dogs, and vegan treats—and not only because of its striking mural of Point Judith Lighthouse. Within minutes of rolling in, the mobile...

Help Wanted

In a place with nearly 400 miles of coastline, a place whose nickname is the Ocean State, you’d think filling jobs in the marine trades industry would be a snap. Think again. In Rhode Island in 2012, the marine trades cluster—from boatyards to manufacturers—saw $1.5...

Book Review: Other Minds

Search YouTube for terms like octopus or cuttlefish—members of the class of cephalopods—and typical results fall into two categories. The first reflects the intelligence of the cephalopod (“Octopus Escapes Jar”), the second, its camouflage (“Cuttlefish: Tentacles in...

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