The Saugatucket River has its headwaters in North Kingstown, RI and flows south through South Kingstown into Point Judith Pond, then ultimately into Block Island Sound. Its watershed (the area of land from which water drains to the river) north of Point Judith Pond encompasses 11,018 acres of mixed woodland and suburban and urban development. Once the river reaches Point Judith Pond–which is actually the estuary where fresh water from the river mixes with saltwater from Block Island Sound–the watershed includes an additional 9,338 acres.
The Saugatucket River and its watershed are deep with human history. The river is within the homelands of the Narragansett nation; Saugatucket is a Narragansett word that means at the outlet of the tidal river. For thousands of years, the Saugatucket and other rivers and surrounding lands have been important to Narragansett life and culture and continue to be today. Within the past several hundred years, the river was used by colonial people as a power source. Ten dams still obstruct the river and its tributaries–relics of 18th and 19th century use powering textile and other mills.
The community surrounding the Saugatucket River is a vital part of the watershed, and the river should be accessible for the enjoyment of everyone. Unfortunately, while this beautiful river does support plant and animal life, it has water quality and litter issues which need to be addressed.
For many years, the Saugatucket River and its watershed have been without an advocacy group. Friends of the Saugatucket formed in 2021 not only to advocate for the health of the river, but also to help the surrounding community connect with this wonderful resource that runs straight through the heart of the villages of Peace Dale and Wakefield. Our organization values the river and watershed as natural resources and strives to improve their health. We work with other organizations and state and local government toward shared goals and operate in a transparent and respectful manner at all times.
We are focused on the following efforts:
- River Herring Restoration
- Water Quality Monitoring
- Stormwater Mitigation
- Advocacy at the state and local level
- Litter Cleanups (on Land and Water)
- Educational Programs
- Public programs