EPA presents 2018 Merit Award to Wenley Ferguson, Save The Bay’s director of habitat restoration

EPA presents 2018 Merit Award to Wenley Ferguson, Save The Bay’s director of habitat restoration

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Sept. 12, 2018 – Save The Bay is pleased to announce that Wenley Ferguson, director of habitat restoration, was recognized today at the 2018 Environmental Merit Awards ceremony of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s New England regional office. Ferguson was among 28 recipients across New England honored for their work to protect New England’s environment.

“New England is rich with individuals, businesses, and organizations that exhibit their strong commitment to local communities and to a clean and healthful environment. EPA is very proud to recognize these meaningful accomplishments,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator Alexandra Dunn.

Since 1990, Ferguson has used her expertise, can-do spirit, and collaborative nature for her work protecting habitat, assessing water quality and generally restoring Narragansett Bay and its watershed.

“The Save The Bay family is so proud of Wenley,” said Save The Bay’s director of advocacy and policy, Topher Hamblett. “She is an incredibly knowledgeable, passionate advocate for Narragansett Bay and the environment as a whole.

Sapowet Point Marsh is the sight of one of our marsh elevation projects.
Wenley Ferguson examines soil in Sapowet Marsh.

“For nearly 30 years, Wenley has been setting a great example for all of us, demonstrating how to be a good steward of our natural resources,” said Hamblett. “She has inspired so many people to action. I can think of no one more accomplished and more deserving of this award.”

Ferguson’s many projects have included salt marsh, anadromous fish, and coastal buffer restoration projects and restoration monitoring. Working with many partners, she has documented the impacts of sea level rise on the region’s salt marshes, and developed techniques to protect marsh health as sea level rises. Ferguson works to protect marsh migration corridors through easements and removing barriers to their upland migration. She has put projects in place to regrade eroding coastal banks, and has removed or relocated infrastructure vulnerable to flooding and public access.

Ferguson also works with community groups and schools to install rain gardens and complete other projects that filter storm water. She initiated projects to remove pavement from roads that lead right up to the waters’ edge, and replace the pavement with soils and plants that help protect coastal neighborhoods from flooding and erosion. She involves community volunteers in monitoring, planting and maintenance of these “green infrastructure” projects. An effective advocate for Narragansett Bay and its environment, Ferguson has tackled challenges to its ecological health, mobilizing citizens to protect and restore the Bay.

Each year, EPA New England recognizes individuals and groups in the six New England states who are distinguished by their work to protect or improve the region’s environment. The merit awards, given since 1970, honor individuals and groups who have shown ingenuity and commitment. The Environmental Merit Awards, given for work or actions done in the prior year, are awarded in the categories of individual; business (including professional organizations); local, state or federal government; and environmental, community, academia or nonprofit organization. Also, each year EPA presents lifetime achievement awards for individuals.

More information on EPA’s Environmental Merit Awards, including photographs from the award ceremony: https://www.epa.gov/environmental-merit-awards-new-england


About Save The Bay: Founded in 1970, Save The Bay works to protect and improve Narragansett Bay and its watershed through advocacy, education, and restoration efforts. It envisions a fully swimmable, fishable, healthy Narragansett Bay, accessible to everyone and globally recognized as an environmental treasure.

*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.