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Corps to establish local advisory board to coordinate investigation of Gould Island former defense site

Published Feb. 21, 2018

CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, is working with the community of Jamestown, Rhode Island, and surrounding area to establish a Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) to support the upcoming Corps of Engineers environmental investigation activities at Gould Island in Narragansett Bay in Jamestown, Rhode Island.


This southern portion of Gould Island is a Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) which was used by the U.S. Navy from 1920 to 1973. The authority to conduct a FUDS investigation comes from the Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP), a congressionally directed program that emphasizes the identification, investigation and cleanup of hazardous and toxic waste; unexploded ordnance; buildings and other structures and debris at current and former military facilities.


“This FUDS site was used for marine barracks, air hangars and infrastructure to support operations at the northern end of the island currently owned by the U.S. Navy,” said Project Manager David Heislein of the Corps’ New England District, Engineering Division in Concord, Mass.  “This southern portion of the island was transferred from the U.S. Navy to the state of Rhode Island after 1973 and is currently used as a bird sanctuary.”


Of the approximately 56 acres which comprise Gould Island, the U.S. Navy’s Naval Education and Training Center (NETC) still has jurisdiction over the 16.6 acres of land on the north end of the island. This portion of the island will not be investigated and is not eligible for investigation under the DERP/FUDS program.


The Navy excessed approximately 39 acres of Gould Island to the General Services Administration (GSA) in 1972. Of this 39 acres, approximately 16.9 acres were transferred to the Department of Interior, Bureau of Outdoor Recreation. That land was then transferred to the state of Rhode Island in 1975. In 1989, the GSA conveyed the remaining land, 22.25 acres to the state of Rhode Island. The 39.15 acres of property currently owned by the state of Rhode Island is managed by their Fish and Wildlife Department as a wildlife habitat and bird sanctuary. The island is heavily overgrown by trees and brush.

“We will be working to investigate this former naval base on Gould Island with minimal disruption toward the local habitat,” Heislein said. “Due to the potential impacts the project may have on this community, we are establishing a Restoration Advisory Board for this project. This board will serve as a point of contact between the community and the Corps of Engineers, allowing us to identify and address community concerns and needs as they arise.”


Those who have an interest in joining the Restoration Advisory Board or who would like more information on the project itself can contact Project Manager David Heislein at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Engineering Division, 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA, 01742-2751; or by calling 978-318-8177 or emailing david.e.heislein@usace.army.mil.

Tim Dugan

Release no. 18-021