As the eyes of the sporting world descend on Newport, RI during the final stop of the America’s Cup World Series (June 23-July 1), a trio of local organizations are working in collaboration to set a new standard for sustainable sporting events. The ACWS Host Committee, led by Sailors for the Sea and the RI Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) in conjunction with the America’s Cup Event Authority, will promote environmental stewardship and ocean health by introducing four key initiatives throughout the ACWS Newport as explained below.
Organizers aim to reach a Gold Level Certification under Sailors for the Sea’s Clean Regattas program. Clean Regattas certification provides independent, third-party verification that a yacht club, sailing program, or regatta is environmentally responsible, and is doing its utmost to protect the waters upon which people sail. Highlights include:
Composting throughout the site and requiring vendors to use compostable serviceware
No disposable plastic bottles sold on site; water refilling stations and refillable bottles available
Nontoxic cleaning products and copper-free bottom paints only
Public transport by shuttle, water taxi and bike heavily promoted
No gray water discharge into the bay
Electronic communications prioritized
Boats washed only with water, preventing harmful runoff
The three collaborative groups will construct a sustainability project at Fort Adams State Park as part of the ACWS to promote improved water quality and control invasive plant species. Storm water runoff from an existing parking lot at Fort Adams State Park will be controlled by a newly constructed rain garden featuring native Rhode Island shrubs and plantings generously donated by local nurseries including Blue Moon Farm Perennials of Wakefield, Rhode Island Nurseries of Middletown, Stewart Nursery of Wakefield, Briden Nursery of Cranston, and All Island Landscape of Portsmouth in coordination with the Rhode Island Nursery and Landscaping Association. The project, designed by Louis Berger Group, Inc. of Providence, RI and GLA Division of BETA (formerly Gates, Leighton & Associates) of East Providence, RI, will be constructed entirely by volunteers including America’s Cup sailors, staff and media, and organized by the project partners. Project goals include:
Enhancing water quality of Brenton Cove
Controlling parking lot runoff though infiltration using a native rain garden
Mitigating and controlling invasive plant species
Landscaping with native Rhode Island shrubs and plantings
Sustainable Seafood and Local Foods
Food vendors will feature fresh produce from local farms and seafood sourced from well-managed southern New England fisheries. Seafood vendors will be asked to select from a list of species that are seasonally available and subject to fisheries management plans aimed at preventing overfishing and maintaining stocks at optimal levels of abundance.
Interactive, educational exhibits on ocean health developed by the University of Rhode Island and other local partners will be a major part of the ACWS Village Exploration Zone at Fort Adams State Park. Additional activities on sustainable seafood and reducing marine debris will be held throughout the event. We ask that visitors help us run a sustainable event and preserve Newport’s local environment by:
Using public transit where possible to reduce carbon emissions
Recycling and composting while in Newport
Bringing a refillable water bottle
Engaging in efforts to promote sustainable practices
For more details about Clean Regattas, visit Sailors For the Sea or contact Annie Brett, program lead, at 401-846-8900.