The waters off the coast of Rhode Island, specifically Rhode Island Sound and Block Island Sound, while traversed routinely for maritime trade and recreational cruising, have largely been scientific enigmas regarding the details of their physical and chemical properties. This is even more so regarding the waters outside their backdoor—the waters extending out to the edge of the Continental Shelf.

Those drafting the Rhode Island Ocean Special Area Management Plan (Ocean SAMP), however, needed a better understanding of those waters. The oceanographic characteristics of an area have a major influence on the ecology, and you can’t adequately avoid or mitigate ecological impacts if you don’t understand the ecology, which in this case means you need to understand the physical oceanography.

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