SMP Use Maps Update

Creating Use Maps for the Rhode Island Shellfish Management Plan (SMP)

To help address user-conflict concerns and at the request of stakeholders during the SMP public scoping sessions, we are working to develop a comprehensive and accessible set of current “use maps” for Narragansett Bay and coastal ponds in Rhode Island state waters.

The collected information will be used to: 1) Better our understanding of water-related uses; 2) Add to and enhance the existing resources and tools available to managers to inform decisions about water-related uses; 3) Help managers understand the myriad of uses in our coastal waters and how important our waters are to a diverse group of people; and 4) Provide necessary information on uses to inform the discussion about how best to minimize use conflicts – perceived, current and projected.

Data Use
The intention is to include existing information from other projects or efforts, as well as new information collected as part of the SMP.
Existing Data:  As a first step, we will examine data on the RIGIS website ( RIGIS houses a public database containing a wealth of spatial data about Rhode Island. Information previously gathered, including charts from past use mapping exercises, will be reviewed and updated. In addition to these existing resources, we hope to collect additional information, including:

  • Current aquaculture lease locations
  • Commercial and recreational fishing areas for shellfish, finfish and lobster
  • Restoration sites and activities and shellfish habitat types
  • Environmental data including soil types, temperature and water depth
  • Popular areas for recreational activities such as sailing and kayaking
  • Areas of historic significance
  • Observations of species distributions
  • Infrastructure such as marinas, moorings docks and yacht clubs
  • Transit or navigation routes
  • Rhode Island Department of Environment data, including shellfish closure maps, management areas and spawner sanctuaries

SMP Phases and Public Involvement

Phase I: Water activities data collection to update maps.  Information is needed about shellfish areas that are critical to people’s businesses, recreation and livelihoods. While proprietary information is respected and not sought, any general information about key and valued use areas is welcome – we appreciate the data already provided by users since January 2013.

Phase II: Map digitization. The maps produced through this process will be made publicly available for review and comment, and data collection will continue.

 Our SMP Principles

The SMP is focused on ensuring a fair and transparent process for all participants:

  • Information providers shall be heard and comments shall be collected both during and after map digitization.
  • Information shall be treated as valued reflections of people’s interests and uses.
  • Information shall be evaluated subject to the SMP public review process.
  • Information shall be gathered to identify generally how users value certain activities, rather than on assigning monetary values or restricting uses.

To provide data for Use Maps, or to find out more about this project, please contact:

Azure Dee Cygler
SMP Project Lead
Contact information:

  If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please email the SMP Team at