Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management: Mission and Divisions

Our Mission

The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is committed to conserving and managing Rhode Island's freshwater, marine, and wildlife resources to ensure their equitable and sustainable use. The department is strategically organized into three divisions, each focusing on specific aspects of environmental management: Marine Fisheries, Freshwater Fisheries, and Wildlife Management.

Division of Marine Fisheries

This division plays a critical role in the research and monitoring of marine species, crucial for the effective management of Rhode Island's marine resources. Activities and responsibilities include:

  • Resource Assessment Surveys: Conducting trawl surveys, Narragansett Bay and coastal pond seine surveys to evaluate marine species populations.
  • Shellfish Management: Implementing shellfish relaying and transplants to support healthy shellfish populations.
  • Regulatory Oversight: Developing regulations on marine species, including seasons, size limits, harvest methods, equipment, and daily possession limits.
  • Permit Reviews: Overseeing aquaculture and dredging project permits to ensure environmental compatibility.
  • Outreach and Information: Providing press releases, brochures, websites, fact sheets, and fishing guides to educate the public and regulated community on marine regulations and conservation topics.
  • Collaboration: Working with the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council (RIMFC) to advise the DEM Director on marine-related matters.

Contact Information

For inquiries or more information about Rhode Island's marine recreational fisheries, please reach out to:

John Lake, Supervising Marine Biologist

Rhode Island Environmental Police – Protecting Natural Resources


The Rhode Island Environmental Police, led by Chief Dean Hoxsie, play a crucial role in safeguarding the state's natural resources. Their mission emphasizes both law enforcement and education to ensure adherence to environmental conservation laws.

Historical Background

The roots of the Environmental Police trace back to 1842 with the appointment of the first game wardens by the Commission of Shellfisheries, marking the beginning of a long-standing commitment to environmental protection and conservation law enforcement in Rhode Island.

Responsibilities and Operations

Environmental Police Officers are sworn law enforcement personnel tasked with a wide range of duties:

  • Patrols: Covering over 60,000 acres of state land, including state parks and management areas, 92 salt and freshwater boat launching and fishing areas, 300 miles of rivers and streams, and 417 miles of coastline.
  • Law Enforcement: Enforcing laws, rules, and regulations related to fish, wildlife, boating safety, and marine resources, alongside all criminal and motor vehicle laws within state-controlled areas.
  • Cross-deputization: Officers have the authority extended by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, allowing for a broader scope of enforcement.
  • Education and Safety: Engaging with the public to promote the protection of natural resources and ensuring safety for those enjoying the outdoor activities Rhode Island has to offer.

Reporting Violations

The public plays a vital role in supporting the mission of the Environmental Police by reporting violations. To report any infractions or suspicious activities related to environmental conservation laws, please contact:

Rhode Island Environmental Police Violation Hotline: (401) 222-3070

This hotline serves as a direct line for the community to assist in the preservation of Rhode Island's natural beauty and biodiversity, ensuring a safe and sustainable environment for future generations.

Life Jacket Safety: Essential Guidelines

Importance of Life Jackets

Wearing a life jacket is a crucial safety measure for anyone participating in water activities. It can make the difference between life and death in many situations. Here are key points to ensure your safety and compliance with safety regulations:

U.S. Coast Guard Approval

  • Certification: Always use a life jacket that is U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) approved. This certification ensures the life jacket meets strict safety standards and is effective in a variety of conditions.

Proper Fit is Crucial

  • Adults vs. Children: Life jackets designed for adults are not suitable for children. It's important to choose a life jacket that fits the wearer properly to ensure maximum safety.
  • Fitting a Life Jacket: Take the time to adjust your life jacket for a snug fit. A properly fitted life jacket should not move above the chin or ears when lifted at the shoulders.

Regulations for Children

  • Mandatory Wear: Children under the age of 13 are required to wear a life jacket at all times when on the water. This rule is designed to provide enhanced safety for young water enthusiasts.

Paddle Craft Requirements

  • All Ages: Operators and passengers of canoes, kayaks, sailboards, kiteboards, paddleboards, and other paddle crafts must wear a USCG-approved Personal Flotation Device (PFD) while underway, regardless of age. This requirement is in place to ensure the safety of individuals engaging in these increasingly popular water activities.
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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.