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Salt Pond Safari
Each Summer, the Salt Ponds Coalition [SPC] delivers a highly popular program that introduces people of all ages to the wonders of aquatic life in Rhode Island Salt Ponds. Using a 30-foot seine net, participants wade into a salt pond to catch a variety of aquatic creatures. Kids love exploring and getting hands-on experience with salt pond ecology.
What Happens at a Salt Pond Safari?
Each Salt Pond Safari is different because one never knows what we’ll catch! That’s what makes it so interesting. During the 90-minute program everyone gets happily wet! And together we enjoy in depth conversations on salt ponds where the content shared is tailored to the ages and interests of the audience. Each Salt Pond Safari is led by SPC Executive Director Alicia Eichinger, and her team of SPC ambassadors.
Events are free, but due to limited group sizes, pre-registration is required at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to dive deeper into salt pond knowledge? Read more highlights below. Our source is an informative and detailed case study, The Ecology of Coastal Salt Ponds published by the Trustees of the Reservation for a case study conducted at Long Point Wildlife Refuge on Martha’s Vineyard.
About Salt Ponds
For thousands of years Wampanoag populations, and later, European settlers, used coastal salt ponds for sustenance. Shellfish and fish comprised a significant part of the Wampanoag diet. In the 1800s, European settlers harvested massive numbers of Striped Bass, American Eel, Smelts, and Alewife from the salt ponds. Today, American Oysters continue to be harvested from select area ponds. A wide variety of reptiles, birds and mammals feed, breed, and take refuge in and around the ponds, and the population of what you will see changes with the seasons. In recent years, recreation has become a large focus for Salt Ponds, attracting boaters, kayakers and beachcombers who have discovered their beauty.
Coastal salt ponds and their ecology are a result of physical processes occurring over thousands of years. It’s a dynamic process influenced primarily by:
Sea Level Rise
Land-use Patterns in a Salt Pond’s Watershed.
Although they derive their name from their proximity to and relationship with the ocean, coastal salt ponds have a continuous freshwater source, through rainfall, stream flow, and groundwater flow from the watersheds. Their physical properties, therefore, vary considerably. For example, salinities can range from fresh to brackish, depending on human management practices and the size of a pond’s watershed.
Formation of Salt Ponds
The regional geology underlying the formation of the coastal salt ponds is a reflection of glacial activity that reached its peak 21,000 years ago during the ice ages, as well as more recent oceanic processes that created barrier beaches along the shores of southern New England.