Rhode Island


Silhouette of a common loon swimming on the surface of a river as the sun sets. Photo: Joseph Sands, USFWS.

Out For Public Input: Draft Plan to Restore Birds Killed, Injured by 2003 Oil Spill

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management have released a draft plan to restore common loons and other birds (PDF, 71 pages) that were killed and injured by the 2003 Bouchard Barge 120 oil spill in Buzzards Bay in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Case Pages:

In 1996, the tank barge North Cape and the tugboat Sandia grounded off the coast of Rhode Island resulting the worst oil spill in the state's history.

North Cape

Oil Spill | Block Island Sound, RI | January 1996


What Happened?

On January 19, 1996, the tank barge, North Cape, and the tugboat, Scandia, grounded off Moonstone Beach in southwestern Rhode Island, spilling an estimated 828,000 gallons of home heating oil. This spill was the worst in Rhode Island history, with oil spreading throughout a broad area of Block Island Sound and beyond, including shoreline of the Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).

A fishway, or fish ladder, was constructed as part of the restoration effort to help herring travel upstream.

Rose Hill Landfill

Hazardous Waste Site | South Kingstown, RI | 1960s to Present

This abandoned quarry adjacent to the Saugatucket River was used for the disposal of household and industrial wastes from 1967 until 1983. The site included 27 acres of solid waste, 15 acres of sewage sludge, and an 11-acre bulky waste disposal area. Elevated levels of toxic metals leached from the landfill via groundwater to Mitchell Brook, the Saugatucket River, and Saugatucket Pond.

Cleanup workers collect oiled debris from sand beach, South Dartmouth, MA.

Bouchard Barge 120

On April 27, 2003, the tank barge Bouchard 120 hit a bedrock ledge in Buzzards Bay. The impact created a 12-foot rupture in the barge’s hull. An estimated 98,000 gallons of oil spilled into the coastal waters of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.