Why the Barrier Beach Needs Protection

QBB provides a rich habitat and refuge for many species of plants and animals, some of which are endangered or threatened. In fact, NICA works actively with the US Fish & Wildlife Commission on an annual program on our land to protect nesting sites of the Federally Threatened piping plover.

In a recent comprehensive scientific study commissioned by QBCC (Rhode Island Natural History Survey), the following plants and animals were observed on the beach:

  • 79 plant species, including five rare species and 10 invasive species.
  • 61 bird species, one Federally Threatened, one State Endangered, seven of State Concern.
  • 10 species of mammals.
  • Several species of invertebrates including dragon flies, moths, tiger beetles, and horseshoe crabs.

QBB is unique place for recreational activity (walking, fishing, and other permitted activities).

Quonochontaug Barrier Beach is a federally protected and managed breeding spot for the rare and endangered piping plovers.
American Beach Grass has strong root systems that protects dunes from erosion, prevents flooding and supports a diverse community of wildlife.
Migratory shorebirds depend on energy-rich horseshoe crab eggs they consume during the spawning season.

As a classic “barrier beach”, QBB provides protection from Block Island Sound for the salt marshes and Quonochontaug Pond, the animals that live and breed there and the coastal communities that lie behind it. This function is becoming critically important during a time of rising sea levels and increasingly volatile weather patterns.