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Effects of Tropical Storm Henri Force Precautionary Shellfish Harvest Closure of Winnapaug Pond

PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is announcing that a precautionary closure of shellfish harvest for all waters of Winnapaug Pond in Westerly went into effect at sunrise today, and will be in effect until further notice.

This shellfish closure was put in place due to intense rainfall (greater than 2.9 inches in several hours) and coastal flooding in the area that has the potential to convey contaminants from the watershed into Winnapaug Pond. DEM will collect water samples from the pond to demonstrate acceptable water quality in Winnapaug Pond before reopening it to shellfish harvest. Results of those water sample analyses are expected late this week.

Rain from the tropical storm also triggered the closure of other shellfish conditional areas. Lower Providence River Conditional Area E, Greenwich Bay, and the conditional areas in upper Point Judith Pond are closed from sunrise today through sunrise Monday, August 30. The Mount Hope Bay and the Kickemuit River conditional areas also are closed and are scheduled to reopen at 12 PM on August 29.

Rhode Island shellfish are much sought-after seafood because of a long history of delivering a high-quality product. This is achieved by diligent monitoring of shellfish harvesting waters, protecting public health with a high level of oversight when conditions indicate a change in water quality either from natural sources such as algae blooms or by the quick response to emergency conditions. DEM, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), and the RI Coastal Resources Management Council, along with industry partners, collaborate to ensure that shellfish grown and harvested from Rhode Island waters continues to be a quality safe seafood product to be enjoyed by all consumers.

For more information on the shellfish harvesting classifications, review the annual notice available at RIDEM - Shellfish. An interactive shellfishing map is also available.

For information on emergency and conditional area water quality related shellfish closures, call DEM's 24-hour shell fishing hotline at 401-222-2900, visit, or sign up for the Office of Water Resources' listserv here:

For information about DEM programs and services, visit Follow us on Facebook at or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.