2018-05-10 / News

Taylor Point group given grant to repair footpath, buy plants


The footpath from the Taylor Point parking lot leading to the cliffs at Potter’s Cove is rocky, steep and collects water during rainstorms because of drainage problems. 
PHOTO BY TIM RIEL The footpath from the Taylor Point parking lot leading to the cliffs at Potter’s Cove is rocky, steep and collects water during rainstorms because of drainage problems. PHOTO BY TIM RIEL Less than a month after the town secured a $90,000 grant to renovate the Taylor Point parking lot, the nonprofit organization overseeing the restoration plan received money for the root of its problems.

Ed Gromada, president of the Taylor Point Restoration Association, said the state awarded his organization $4,800 through the Coastal Resources Management Council.

This money will allow the board to draft blueprints for repairs to the eroded footpath leading to the cliffs. The grant also will finance a restoration design for the marsh behind Potter’s Cove beach, which is ripe with intrusive phragmites, and will go toward purchasing native plants for the areas that have been cleared of invasive vegetation.

Dennis Webster, vice president of the association, said this award will complement the recreation department’s money from the state Department of Environmental Management, which will finance a solar-powered composting toilet at the 20-acre Taylor Point Nature Preserve.

“This project will tie in nicely with the improvements to the parking area,” he said.

According to Webster, along with a safe and more comfortable footpath, workers will establish wide borders of native grass and wildflowers to replace the invasive autumn olive, honeysuckle bushes and glossy buckthorn that is encroaching on the path.

Webster said invasive plants overwhelm native species, then spread rapidly and starve native plants of nutrients, sunlight and habitat.

“The new invasive plants will usually not feed and support our native animals, thus disrupting the interconnected biological and ecological balance that has developed over millions of years,” he said.

The approach of Webster’s organization is consistent with the state’s strategy for restoring coastal buffers by approximating the natural conditions that existed prior to human disturbance.

In the past seven months, volunteers, including the “Herculean efforts” of master gardeners from the University of Rhode Island, have removed truckloads of invasive shrubs. Twenty-seven species of these plants have been identified, including greenbrier, which was choking the preserve’s native high bush blueberry, arrowwood and winged sumac. They’ve also repaired the stairway to Potter’s Cove and pulled bushels of invasive garlic mustard.

Still, Webster said, there is much more work to be accomplished to complete the 10-year restoration project. Continuing efforts will involve cutting invasive bittersweet vines that smother native trees, removing the black swallowwort, and planting native species, including shadbush and Virginia rose. Volunteers are needed from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday to perform this work. The rendezvous point will be at the north end of Bay View Drive near the sewer treatment plant. Tools will be provided.

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