Quonnie Pond Boat Launch Improvements Underway
March 23, 2020
The RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) announced that repairs and improvements to the boat launch at Quonochontaug (aka, “Quonnie”) Pond in Charlestown have begun.
The existing ramp will be replaced by a new concrete ramp, measuring 24 feet in width. DEM also will install a new, six-foot-wide floating dock with cleats and rub rails for temporary tie up while launching or retrieving vessels.
With the reconstruction, the boat ramp will be reoriented in a north-south direction so boaters can safely launch without having to fight the strong currents in the breachway channel. As part of the construction project, DEM hopes to receive a final permit to complete shoreline stabilization work to further protect the parking area from erosion.
Originally installed in 1971, the existing boat ramp slabs will be replaced with large, flat stones, offering an additional fishing area. The boat ramp is expected to be completed by April 30. The floating docks are expected to be installed next fall. The project contractor will provide a temporary means to tie off vessels until the docks are installed.
The boat ramp will be closed during construction, and for safety reasons, access to the site will be restricted during much of the project. Barriers will limit access to West Beach Road during construction hours beginning on Friday, February 14.
Much of the funding for the project will be provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration Program. The entire construction project is expected to cost approximately $475,000.
The Sport Fish Restoration Program is a user-pay, user-benefit program that is derived from taxes on motorboat fuel, fishing equipment, and the purchase of some boats. A portion of the national funding is dedicated to DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, specifically for boating access. This project is an excellent example of how these taxes are used for direct public benefit to improve and increase boating access to the waters of the state. The required matching funds for the project will be provided by revenues from saltwater fishing licenses.