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What's Next?

Updated: Jun 16, 2023

Carl Kaufmann, who spoke eloquently at the gathering about how a similar group on Block Island effectively used the law to: 1) conserve land and water quality and 2) achieve a culture of environmentally smart development and ecological restoration, took the time to write a guide for us on next steps. We met with the Nature Conservancy community outreach and “rivers, wetlands and tidal marshes” leaders to guide us further.

Here is what we plan to do first, based on a merging of Nature Conservancy and Carl Kaufmann advice. Many thanks to both!

  1. Map out what we know and what we need to know; map out who we know and who we need to know. Who would be our logical allies - which organizations have a stake in the wellbeing of the Mystic River Watershed? What kind of data do we have access to already, and how can our allies help each other to learn more to co-create a collaborative, adaptable plan of action to address climate change impacts? Who has the authority to say yes and who has the authority to say no about the watershed and how can civic participation sway the decisions?

  2. As people express interests and concerns, join forces in overlapping working groups (i.e., Alliance members join working groups of other organizations, and people representing other organizations join Alliance working groups). Here are some of the working groups that are emerging: Eco-aware Development and Resilient Business; Water Quality and Data Gathering; Observing Meetings and Updating Municipal Regulations and Protocols to Meet the Demands of Climate Change and Species Loss; Identification of Threatened and Potentially Threatened Areas and Creating a Watershed Plan; Opportunities to Learn and Share Collaboratively (Wetland Ecology, Marine Ecology, and the Law); Habitat Improvement, and a Youth Council.

Want to get involved?


"Working in tandem brings a broad body of data and experience to bear on the problems of environmental protection. Coalitions, especially those with heavy participation from nonprofit civic groups, build a sense of community and encourage stewardship. They magnify support for the notion that this is not just my land or my body of water, and not just yours, but a natural resource for which we share common responsibilities, as custodians.

"Further, experience shows that coalitions lend leverage when it comes to civic decisions regarding the environment.  It is one thing for a nonprofit to show up at a zoning meeting to argue for limits on a waterfront development project; it is another for that same group to show up accompanied by nonprofits such as the Nature Conservancy, abutting neighbors, university ecologists, fisheries biologists, lawyers from the Conservation Law Foundation, and some volunteers who collect water-quality samples or help with landscape remediation projects."

-Carl Kaufmann, our most senior ally and keeper of the lessons learned on Block Island 

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