The Post – Under the Pier: You Know, I Never Properly Introduced You to Narragansett Bay

I realized that I’ve talked about a lot of the book characters including the crustacean, Carpus. But the biggest natural character, Narragansett Bay, I’ve failed to introduce to you. So before I get into the next book’s post about the Environmental Issues of Narragansett Bay, I should probably tell you a little bit about the place.

Many of you have probably never heard of it, unless you are old enough to remember Narragansett Lager Beer commercials from the 60s and 70s where they talk about making their beer on the shores of Narragansett Bay. But even if you remember the beer, you probably still didn’t have a clue where Narragansett Bay was.

So where is it? How big is it? And where did it get that weird name?

For some vital statistics, including such riveting things that only I find neat, like average salinity and flushing time of the bay, click here. (And by the way…29-31 parts per thousand, compared to the ocean which is 35 ppt; and 26 days)

If you’re a map kind of person, go to the Narragansett Bay Home page. There are maps for surfers, maps of eelgrass geographic data, restoration maps, lobster migration maps, maps of oyster disease prevalence, bay sediment distribution, and fishing areas, and my personal favorite, a series of maps showing the “house counts in South County Salt Ponds Watershed, from 1939 until 2003.” It’s a nice green map that gets redder over the years as the number of houses increase. So if you have nothing to do on a Saturday night, here you go! Actually, there’s lots more there than just maps, but that happens to be my favorite.

For satellite images you can zoom in and out of as well as road maps, go to Google’s map page for Narragansett Bay

Those of you who like your visuals more at “sea level” here’s the web page for Google images of the bay, including this really neat aerial view (as opposed to satellite) of the bay.

There is a great book online that covers everything from the bay’s history – ie people history: Indians, settlers, rumrunners etc., to its geological history – what the glaciers did to form it, what rocks the glaciers left behind, etc. It’s called: Narragansett Bay: A Friend’s Perspective. Again, if you’re like me and like tweaky obscure facts, go for it.

For those who are interested in Narragansett Bay and it’s survival, here’s some resources to check on:

· Save the Bay
· Narragansett Bay Estuarine Research Reserve System
· Narragansett Bay Estuary Program
· University of Rhode Island Environmental Data center
· SeaWeb
· Rhode Island Sea Grant
· University of Rhode Island Coastal Institute

Save the Bay blogs: Curt( executive director), Abby (Explore the Bay education staff), John (Baykeeper program)

Oh, so you still want to know where the weird name came from? It’s from the tribe of Indians who lived in that area for thousands of years, the Narragansett Indians. Yes, I did say, thousands. The tribe’s website indicates that archaeological evidence, rock formations, and oral history establish their existence in the region more than 30,000 years ago. Click here for the tribe’s website. In any event, the bay is named after them.

Ah, yes, last but not least, the BEER.

Narragansett Beer was made by the Narragansett Brewing Company. A bit of trivia – the Robert Shaw character in the movie, Jaws, apparently was holding cans of Narragansett Beer. Apparently the Falstaff Brewing Company bought it out in 1965, and it changed hands a few times over the years before closing its doors. Short version, the brand was bought back by a small group of investors in 2005 and is now available locally in the Southern New England region.

Now that you’ve met Narragansett Bay, I can return to the Technical posts for Under the Pier. Next up: The Environmental Issues of the Bay. Until then:

I leave you with this link, which is a picture looking out at a buoy on the bay at sunset. Pull up a chair, crack open your Narragansett Beer, and enjoy.

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One Response to “The Post – Under the Pier: You Know, I Never Properly Introduced You to Narragansett Bay”

  1. Sepglolypejew Says:

    Stunning blogpost, did not thought reading this was going to be so cool when I saw the url!

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