Narragansett Bay Facts

Narragansett Bay Facts
Narragansett Bay is located on Rhode Island Sound's north side covering a47 square miles in Rhode Island with some parts extending into the state of Massachusetts. This bay also forms the largest estuary in New England. The bay includes more than 30 islands and several smaller bodies of water. Narragansett Bay opens onto Rhode Island Sound as well as the Atlantic Ocean. The name Narragansett was derived from the Algonquian word 'Naiaganset' which means 'people of the small point of land'. It is believed that the first Europeans to visit Narragansett arrived in the early 1500s when the surrounding land was inhabited by two Indian tribes - the Wampanoags and the Narragansetts.
Interesting Narragansett Bay Facts:
Narragansett Bay is 25 miles long and 10 miles wide.
The surface area of Narragansett Bay is 147 square miles; its volume is 706 billion gallons; its average depth is 26 feet and its deepest point is 184 feet.
The shoreline of Narragansett Bay is 256 miles.
Narragansett Bay's watershed is 1,853 square miles, with 40% being in Rhode Island and 60% being in Massachusetts.
The daily freshwater input into Narragansett Bay from all sources in 2.4 billion gallons, with 2.1 billion gallons originating from rivers.
The largest rivers feeding into Narragansett Bay include Taunton River, Blackstone River, and Pawtuxet River.
The average temperature of Narragansett Bay is 69 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and 32 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter.
The three largest of the more than 30 islands in Narragansett Bay are Prudence Island, Conanicut Island, and Aquidneck Island.
It is estimated that approximately 12 million people visit Narragansett Bay every year.
In 2011 Narragansett Bay became known as one of the most contaminated in all of the United States due to storm run-off, and inadequate sewage treatment (which dumps toxic chemicals and waste into the bay).
Due to the pollution in Narragansett Bay people in the upper region of the bay have been advised to avoid coming into contact with the water for at least three days following heavy rain. The wastewater treatment plants are unable to handle all of the water due to combined sewer and storm drains and raw sewage is often discharged into the bay during heavy rainfall.
Seasonal visitors to Narragansett Bay include harp seals, gray seals, harbor seals, harbor porpoises, and dolphins.
Seal watching tours are available from November to April aboard two different educational vessels via Save the Bay.
In the spring and fall migratory birds spend time in Narragansett Bay.
Shorebirds that visit the coast of Narragansett Bay including the piping plover (endangered), raptors, osprey, and bald eagles.
Some fish that can be found in Narragansett Bay include striped bass, scup, summer flounder, and decreasing populations of cod, winter flounder, and lobster.
The commercial fish that are common in Narragansett Bay include winter flounder, summer flounder, black sea bass, tautog, bluefish, scup, striped bass, weakfish, alewife, Atlantic herring, and menhaden.
There are also approximately 100 different species of fish that are known to visit Narragansett Bay at various times.


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