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Ninigret Pond is a coastal lagoon located in the town of Charlestown in Rhode Island's Washington County. With a surface area of 1,539 acres, Ninigret is the largest lagoon, or "salt pond," in southern Rhode Island. The pond is situated on low-lying ground that was formed after the recession of glaciers 12,000 years ago. Ninigret Pond is connected to the Atlantic Ocean on Block Island Sound. The natural breach-way that connected the pond to the ocean was filled in by tides depositing sand. The townspeople installed a permanent channel to Block Island Sound in the early 1950s to replace the brackish water with salt water, thereby creating a tidal estuary that is home to a variety of marine life. Today, the salt pond is the perfect getaway with plenty of recreational activities to offer.
With an average depth of 4.2 feet, Ninigret Pond is a generally shallow body of water best suited for small boats, canoes, kayaks, and sailboats. There are plenty of public access points available; some are owned by full-service marinas. Sail the open water and explore the numerous coves along the shoreline. Mud Cove, Foster Cove, Coon Cove, and Taugtog Cove are the main coves in the area. Ninigret Pond also connects to Green Hill Pond via a small channel under Creek Bridge. Anglers will real in an assortment of fish including whitefish, smelt, winter flounder and northern pike. You can also find shellfish such as clams, quahogs, blue crabs, eel, and bay scallops in the area.
As a result of heavy development on the eastern shore, the water quality of Ninigret Pond was found to be degrading. Restoration projects have been put into place to restore the pond to its healthy habitat. Projects such as dredging sand sedimentation and restoration of eelgrass beds have been the collaborative effort of federal, state and local agencies working together. The Nature Conservancy is inspecting breach-ways to insure the proper amount of salt water is filtered into the pond. The Conservancy has also been aiding the clam population by transplanting hundreds of thousands of adult hard clams into the pond to improve water clarity and clam population. Ninigret Pond is now one of the cleanest of the nine salt ponds in the area.
The habitat surrounding Ninigret Pond is perfectly well-rounded for all wildlife enthusiasts. On the shore of the pond is the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge has an abundance of diverse landscapes including salt marshes, kettle ponds, freshwater wetlands, maritime shrub lands and forests dominated by oak or maple. Over 250 birds visit seasonally, and 70 species call it home, Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge is ideal for birders and photographers. The strip of land used to be a Naval Auxiliary landing field during World War II; it was then restored into a national habitat. The refuge doubles as a historical site rich in history. An interpretive "trails through time" route passes through the refuge containing remnants of the numerous runways, taxi-ways, and buildings which supported the war effort. Ninigret Park is located to the north of the pond and offers groomed nature trails for hiking and biking, as well as basketball, volleyball, tennis, and baseball opportunities.
Ninigret Pond has plenty of activities to offer all age groups. With plenty of vacation rentals, camp grounds, and real estate properties for sale, Ninigret is easily accessible. Take a dive in the ocean, or try your luck harvesting clams. The Charlestown area is sure to capture your heart.
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