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WPWA announces upgrades

April 11, 2011

HOPE VALLEY – If you visit the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association's (WPWA) campus on Arcadia Road in Hope Valley this summer you will notice lots of changes.

WPWA is upgrading the property with a two-phased project which will create a more useable space while improving protection of the river. The majority of funding for this project comes from three sources.

The Champlin Foundation has provided funding for phase I, which will serve as a match to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management's (RIDEM) funding of Phase II. Further funds to support the project's indirect costs will be provided by WPWA and The Lattner Family. Other local non profits such as Habitat for Humanity, Boy Scout Camp Yawgoog, and the Hope Valley Wyoming Fire Department will also benefit from this project.

According to Program Director, Denise Poyer, "the Arcadia Road campus sees a lot of traffic during the warm weather months. Between public use of the fishing and boating access and all the programs WPWA conducts it has become necessary to upgrade our facilities. The renovations will better serve everyone who uses the WPWA campus."

In November 2010 WPWA received a grant from the Champlin Foundations for $62,235 to install a new on-site wastewater treatment system and a drilled well that would service both the office and Education Center, and to demolish the residential building at the front of the lot.

During the project planning it was determined that removing the residential house would significantly reduce the cost of a new septic system and would allow for expanded public parking. With the front building gone, the campus could become a more inviting site if specifically landscaped for recreational and educational use.

The pending demolition has provided multiple training opportunities to the Hope Valley Wyoming Fire Department, as well as building materials and household appliances to Habitat for Humanity and Boy Scout Camp Yawgoo.

The timing of the funding necessitated the two phases.

Phase I will begin around April 11, just after Opening Day of Trout Fishing Season, and end in late May. The campus will be an active construction site for about a month, with the well and septic installation and house demolition, so that sections of the driveway and parking areas will be disturbed.

While the office will be open most days, WPWA recommends you call first if you plan to visit. This first phase was designed by Cherenzia Engineering of Pawcatuck, Conn., who will oversee the installation of the new systems. Wilco Development of Johnston, has been contracted to complete all the construction under phase I.

WPWA Executive Director Chris Fox has high praise for this family owned business that in 2009 diligently repaired the Bradford Fish Ladder and portage path on behalf of WPWA.

"With the construction of the Horseshoe Falls Fish Ladder dominating my schedule, I needed a contractor for this campus project that has proven to be efficient and diligent." Fox said.

For phase II, which is planned for the fall of 2011, RIDEM secured a grant for $72,000 on behalf of WPWA from the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program.

WPWA was able to utilize some of the Champlin Foundation's private funds from phase I to serve as the required 25 percent match towards the publicly funded federal grant. This grant will support the creation of an expanded permeable public parking area, landscaping, the installation of rain gardens, and a composting toilet for public use.

In addition, invasive plants will be removed and native vegetation will be planted in rain gardens. These rain gardens will absorb runoff from both Arcadia Road and the parking areas, which will help prevent storm water from reaching the Wood River.

Frank Crandall, formerly of Wood River Evergreens and author of The Essential Horticultural Business Handbook, is volunteering his time to WPWA by lending guidance for the landscape design so that it will be both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

This second phase of the project will give WPWA's beautiful campus on the Wood River a pleasant park-like atmosphere and assist the mission of promoting and protecting the river. WPWA asks for your patience during construction. Please feel free to contact the WPWA office at 539-9017 with any questions or follow the project on-line at

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