Dune Grass Planting at Fenway Beach

Dune Grass Planting

With Wenley Ferguson, Director of Habitat Restoration, and Dave Prescott, South County Coastkeeper

When wind and foot traffic pose a challenge to the preservation of our coastal dunes, beach grass is the answer. Also called American beach grass, this plant can grow in an arid environment, and has a root system that extends up to 3 feet! The grass captures and traps fine wind-blown sand and helps create dunes. Dune fencing can also be installed as a first step in stabilizing sand prior to dune grass becoming established. Dunes provide habitat for other drought-tolerant plants and piping plovers and least terns that nest near the protection of dunes. Even small dunes can help protect low lying inland areas from flooding during coastal storms or large tide events.

In the below video, Wenley Ferguson, Save The Bay’s director of habitat restoration, and Dave Prescott, our South County Coastkeeper, explain the properties of dune grass and why dunes are important to our beaches. Our team has been working with the Weekapaug Fire District, the Weekapaug Foundation for Conservation and the Coastal Resources Management Council to restore the dunes at Fenway Beach in Westerly.


*Please note:  Be sure to access the Johnson & Wales University Harborside Campus through the main entrance on Harborside Blvd. Your GPS may suggest taking Ernest Street to JWU’s Shipyard Street entrance, but that route requires a key card for entry.  

From Route I-95 North or South, take Exit 18 (Thurbers Avenue). Head downhill on Thurbers Avenue to US Route 1A (Allens Avenue). Turn right onto Allens Ave. Continue southbound on Allens Ave. into Cranston, where Allens Ave. becomes Narragansett Blvd. Turn left onto Harborside Blvd. at the traffic light by the Shell gas station. Follow Harborside Blvd. through the Johnson & Wales Harborside Campus. At the end of Harborside Blvd., turn right onto Save The Bay Drive. Save The Bay Drive becomes a circular, one-way roadway as you approach the Bay Center. Parking is available in four guest lots after you pass the main building. Enter the building through the main entrance.


August 26, 2021

Dear Friends, Supporters and Community Members, 

At this time, Save The Bay’s facilities in Providence and Westerly remain closed to the public in response to COVID-19.

The Exploration Center and Aquarium in Newport reopened Monday, July 5, with new hours and visiting procedures in place.

Save The Bay is offering volunteer and internship opportunities with new policies and procedures for the health and safety of all involved.

Our staff continues to protect and improve Narragansett Bay, working both remotely and on-site. If you have any questions, you can contact us by phone (401-272-3540) or email (savebay@savebay.org), or on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.