Since 2006, an environmental group founded by a group of local surfers, has provided weekly water testing to provide education and awareness, advocated for issues that relate to swimming water safety and provided opportunities for the community to protect local coastlines. The Newport City Council, which approves funding for the all-volunteer organization, will receive the Clean Ocean Access (COA) five year summary report at Wednesday’s meeting.
“The respect, recognition and moral integrity that is now associated with COA has only been possible because of the awesome community involvement,” said COA founder Dave McLaughlin. “The time and effort that each person puts into the goals of the group is the reason why we exist today and are about to start of 8th year of doing great things on the Island.”
Between Jan. 4, 2008 and Dec. 27 2012, COA has collected 1944 water samples on a weekly basis at seven popular swimming locations and two likely source areas of Enterococci along the Aquidneck Island shoreline.
How It All Started
“In the early summer of 2006 there was a sewage spill in Easton’s Bay and this got area surfers talking about water quality,” said McLaughlin. “In July, the main pipe from Middletown to Newport broke and an even larger sewage spill occurred.”
That summer, a group of 27 surfers formed a group to help solve these problems that threatened the local waters and beaches. By August, Clean Ocean Access was born.
The next steps
“I hope that five years from now that Clean Ocean Access continues to take the lead role and/or establishing partnerships with other groups working on the core issues that face the coastline and surrounding waters of Aquidneck Island,” said McLaughing. “The key to all of this is that people need to connect with each other on the coastline and talk about the issues and solutions will evolve just by interacting with like-minded folks."
He said the secret to success is to plan events that are fun, easy and impactful which will reignite the passion the community has for the ocean.Click on the "download PDF" on the top of the article to view the complete report.
How to Get Involved
- Follow the group on Facebook
- Email Dave at email@example.com
- Show up at Second Beach - Surfers' End this Thursday at 5 p.m. to participate in a beach clean-up