A small dredge barge sits in the Providence River with the city's skyline in the background.
Healthy Cities Dredging will remove sediments and plastic trash that have washed into the Providence River over the past 25 years. © Tim Mooney/TNC


TNC, CRMC Announce Second Phase of Providence Harbor Dredging

Project will improve tidal circulation and make city's waterfront more vibrant place to live and work.

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A dredge barge sits in the Providence River with a graceful pedestrian bridge and the city's skyline in the background.
Innovation District Removing trash from the river complements a decade of job-creating investments following the relocation of the I-195 bridge. © Tim Mooney/TNC

This week, the Coastal Resources Management Council of Rhode Island (CRMC) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) will begin maintenance dredging of the upper Providence River. The work is funded as part of the Clean Water and Green Economy Bonds approved by Rhode Island voters in 2018 and 2021.

Dredging will extend from the Crawford Street Bridge to the Point Street Bridge. The operation will run continuously, seven days a week and is expected to be completed in January 2023. The stretch of river north of the Crawford Street Bridge, including the basin at Waterplace Park, was dredged in the winter of 2019-20.

The project will remove road sand and other sediments that have washed into the river over the past 25 years, along with a significant amount of plastic trash that is layered into the river bottom. A support excavator, positioned on a second barge, will be working in tandem with the dredge barge, removing larger debris.

Dredged material will be pumped through the hurricane barrier to a temporary storage area at the Quay on the East Providence waterfront. There it will be dewatered in large geotextile tubes and eventually mixed and stabilized with Portland formula cement to construct a service facility for offshore wind development. 

CRMC and TNC are co-managing the work through a cooperative agreement. TNC awarded the dredging contract to Michels Marine, a division of Michels Construction, Inc. of Brownsville, Wisconsin, through a competitive bidding process. Total project cost is approximately $4.5 million.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. The Nature Conservancy is working to make a lasting difference around the world in 77 countries and territories (41 by direct conservation impact and 36 through partners) through a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit nature.org or follow @nature_press on X.