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The Friends of Canonchet Farm Habitat Restoration is a URI Master Gardener Program Demonstration Project.

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Wildlife and Habitats



Habitat Restoration at Canonchet Farm

May 30, 2017

Tuesday Evening Work Sessions
Start June 6

In seven scheduled work sessions on Tuesday evenings, we will be clearing invasive vegetation from the edge of Lake Canonchet and Little Neck Pond and promoting the re-growth of native species in this wonderfully diverse habitat. New and returning volunteers are always welcome. We meet at the end of Anne Hoxsie Lane across Boston Neck Road from the Narragansett Town Beach at 4:00 p.m. and work until about 7:00, when we enjoy some pizza and other refreshments. We provide gloves, tools, instructions and plenty of encouragement. The work dates are:

June 6, June 20 and June 27
July 11 and July 25
August 8 and August 22

The Tuesday works session run from 4:00 to 7:00. Parking is available in the West Parking Lot on Anne Hoxsie Lane. Stop at the Friends of Canonchet tent for a parking pass.

Note: A great deal of progress was made last season with suppression of the phragmites at Lake Canonchet and we are now removing the dead plants from the water's edge. Please bring waterproof boots or shoes if you want to join in that task. If not, there are plenty of dry feet jobs to be done.

Starting in September, the work sessions will be on Saturday mornings.


March 23, 2017

Volunteers Needed for a Busy April

Trail maintenance work continues this Saturday and two work sessions are scheduled for April as we ramp up another season of the habitat restoration project at Lake Canonchet and Little Neck Pond:

Help Remove Invasive Plants along the Canonchet Farm Trail
Saturday, April 1, 15 and 29
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m

With three work sessions in April, we will continue to remove invasive plants from the edges of the main trail through Canonchet Farm, and welcome new volunteers. We provide tools, snacks, drinks, instruction, lunch (weather permitting) and the best gloves you will ever use. Meet at the Friends of Canonchet Farm trailer at South County Museum, at the end of Strathmore Street, off Kingstown Road, Narragansett.

Back to Work at Lake Canonchet and Little Neck Pond
Saturday, April 8 and Saturday, April 22
Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 20
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

April 8 is Opening Day for the sixth season of habitat restoration along the two coastal pond across the street from the Narragansett Town Beach, Lake Canonchet and Little Neck Pond. And it's the first of four work sessions we have scheduled for April and May. We will be clearing debris from winter storm damage, checking for emergent knotweed and other invasive plants (the invasives always show up early) and maintaining the progress we have made along the two ponds. Volunteers old and new are always welcome. As always, Friends of Canonchet Farm provides tools, snacks, drinks, instruction, lunch (weather permitting) and the best gloves you will ever use provided. Meet in the Anne Hoxsie Lane parking lot directly across Boston Neck Road (Scenic 1A) from the Narragansett Town Beach South Pavilion.

A quick look at the numbers

In the five years since the Friends of Canonchet began removal of invasive vegetation from edge of Lake Canonchet, volunteers, including Friends of Canonchet Farm members and URI Master Gardeners, have put in an astounding 4,286 hours removing invasives, clearing storm damage and planting Rhody Natives. Here’s a year-by-year tally of the hours:

2012: 934 hours with 110 volunteers. The total includes cleanup after Superstorm Sandy.

2013: 837 hours from 83 individuals

2014: 1,308 hours from 83 different people when we expanded the work area to include the edge of Little Neck Pond

2015: 709 hours from 45 people in the year we cut back to an every-other-week schedule as less was required to maintain the progress along Lake Canonchet.

2016: 498 hours 34 people

Many thanks to all the volunteers!

January 25, 2017

Maintaining the Canonchet Farm Trail, Volunteers Welcome

Work continues along the Canonchet Farm Trail every Saturday morning throughout the winter, with volunteers removing invasive species and improving the safety and usability of the trail.

The trail work sessions are scheduled for every Saturday morning from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the winter and are cancelled when the weather is prohibitive. Volunteers meet at the South County Museum parking lot, 115 Strathmore Street, Narragansett for sign-in, instruction, and tool distribution.

Please email Kathie Kelleher at friendscanonchet@aol.com or call 401-783-3951 if you are interested in volunteering.

November 19, 2016

Today, fourteen volunteers cleared privet and other invasive plants from the along the east end of the Canonchet Farm Trail. Privet was imported from England because of its ability to quickly establish a hedge. However, when left unchecked, this thorny shrub out-competes natives and quickly overtakes large areas. The volunteers uprooted the privet using "weed wrenches," shovels and their gloved hands. Click each thumbnail to see a larger photo.

October 20, 2016

Canonchet Farm Trail Maintenance and Improvement
Saturdays, October, November and December from 9 a.m. to Noon

Well, Fall is here! and invasive remediation sessions around the ponds are over for this year.  Now we turn attention to Canonchet Farm Trail maintenance as soon as possible in order to get as much done before bad weather starts to interfere. In fact, we have already had two sessions on October 1 and October 8, and there is plenty of work to be done.

The next session will be on Saturday, October 22 from 9:00 to noon.  Please plan to meet near the animal pens on the South County Museum property, at the end of Strathmore Street in Narragansett to pick up tools, and go to the selected work area.  We may be headed into new territory - new privet to extirpate, new strangler vines to cut out, more stone walls to uncover. Or maybe we will to do a quick refresh of last season’s work to start.

Instruction, coffee, water, snacks, tools and gloves will be available. Hope to see you there. Call 401-783-3951 for more information.

Here are some links to information on the project:

Removing Invasive Vegetation from Lake Canonchet

In March 2012, the Friends of Canonchet Farm began a multi-year program to remove bittersweet, Japanese knotweed and other invasive vegetation from the eastern shore of Lake Canonchet.

The two-fold purpose of the project is to restore native habitat along this coastal fresh water pond and to build public awareness of the problem of invasive species and successful methods for removal.

The project is being conducted on behalf of the Town of Narragansett under a permit from the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council (File number 2011-11-056). Following are links to project documents:

We saw the fruits of our labor in second year of the project as the invasives, while not totally eradicated, were suppressed enough that bayberry, golden rod and other natives flourished. In 2013, we applied for a modification to the assent to make selective use of herbicides to control several severely infested areas. The following are documents related to the permit modification:

In 2013, we applied for a second permit extension, this time to extend the work north along the eastern edge of Little Neck Pond. The following are documents related to the permit modification:

Work at Little Neck Pond began in 2014 with the removal of knotweed and Black swallowwort, and continued Superstorm Sandy debris removal.

How You Can Help

We are looking for volunteers to assist us in the removal of the invasive plants as we look forward to the fourth year of the habitat restoration project (view our volunteer pamphlet). We will have regularly scheduled work sessions throughout the growing season. Contact Kathie Kelleher for details.


The following are links to downloadable documents and web resources that provide background information on the problem of invasive vegetation and methods of removal.

Managing Invasive Plants - Methods of Control, published by the New England Wild Flower Society is a good starting point for understanding.

Rhode Island Coastal Plant Guide an interactive web page for identifying native plants that will thrive as the invasives are removed.

In Volunteerism and the Management of Abandoned Fields and Woodlands Tom Fortier describes managing an area such as Canonchet Farm as it transitions from abandoned farm fields to forest and meadows.

Map of Canonchet Farm
Shows trail heads and points of interest
For more information about the Friends of Canonchet Farm,
email Tom Hoagland (tom.hoagland963@gmail.com).
Copyright © 2007-2024 Friends of Canonchet Farm
Last modified: May 13, 2024