Ninigret Salt Pond

Physical Characteristics

Does Ninigret Pond have a breachway?

Ninigret Salt Pond has a permanent opening to Rhode Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean via a dredged channel called the Charlestown Breachway. Prior to humans making the Charlestown Breachway permanent, East Beach was naturally breached an average of seven times a year. During the 1600 and 1700s, humans manually opened a channel to the salt pond if it was not breached naturally (see history of breachway ).

In 1952, the Charlestown Breachway was stabilized. The breachway channel was dredged to a depth of 3 feet and a width of 120 feet and two stone jetties were extended into Rhode Island Sound. By permanently opening the salt pond to the sea, the nature of the pond was forever changed.

Breachway channel (dark blue) as it enters Ninigret Salt Pond

What was once a seasonally brackish water body of water became a high salinity, tidally flushed estuary. Oceanic animals and plants enter the salt pond via the breachway and the water in the pond is now more saline (salty). While the breachway makes access to the ocean much easier for boaters, the increased salinity and sedimentation has changed the biology in the pond drastically.