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By Emily Greenhalgh
PBN Web Editor
PROVIDENCE - A healthy Narragansett Bay watershed contributes to a strong economic environment for the Ocean State, according to an indicators report released Tuesday by the Watershed Counts initiative.
The state’s economy is supported by a “thriving tourism and travel industry” that depends on a clean environment, according to the report.
In conjunction with its own water quality and environmental sampling, the report analyzed data from the R.I. Economic Development Corporation and found that the state’s beaches, shoreline, historic sites, working farms and parks generate more than $2.31 billion for the state’s economy.
“Our economic backbone of tourism and travel is heavily dependent upon the health of the watershed, and a clean and thriving environment benefits all Rhode islanders,” Meg Kerr and Q Kellogg, leaders of the Watershed Counts project said in prepared remarks.
“By studying trends in the watershed, this report can help guide policies in areas that need more attention, and help continue to progress in areas where Rhode Island and Massachusetts are enjoying success,” said Kerr and Kellogg
The report suggests that the state continue to invest in issues such as clean water quality, parks, open space and working farm preservation in order to continue economic gains from a healthy environment in the future.
The Watershed Counts initiative includes more than 30 state agencies, public advocacy groups and university scientists.
To access the full 2012 indicators report, visit www.watershedcounts.org.