Wildlife at Work


When you think of a landfill, the first thing that comes to mind may not be wildlife, so you might be surprised to learn that our Central Landfill operation is one of two Rhode Island sites (the other being Fidelity Investments in Smithfield) to hold a Conservation Certification from the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC). Resource Recovery became involved with the WHC in December of 2009, when we made a commitment to improve wildlife habitat through the enrichment of pre-existing habitat and the establishment of new habitat on the Central Landfill property.  We were officially awarded certification in November of 2011, re-certified in November of 2013, 2016, and 2019. If you have any questions about our wildlife habitat program, please contact us.


Resource Recovery staff volunteers and partners have completed many projects at the Central Landfill. We’ve worked alongside the Audubon Society of Rhode Island, Rhode Island Wild Plant Society, MET High School, St. Mary’s Academy at Bay View, USDA, and local Boy Scouts to: conduct wildlife and plant surveys; install nesting boxes for birds; create snags in tree lines for birds of prey; create brush piles in detention ponds for sunning turtles; plant a garden for pollinators; create wildlife pathways to ponds; clear exotic-invasive plants; and plant native trees, shrubs and wildflowers.


We document the wide variety of wildlife, and wild plants we see on our property.  This might be done by a volunteer checking on nesting boxes, a student collecting data, a USDA wildlife biologist surveying the property, or employees who make observations in the course of their day-to-day work.  You can see some pictures of Resource Recovery’s fauna and flora below, and view a larger album here on our Facebook page. You can also download the complete list of species we've observed on our property, and some of the identification guides we’ve made, below.


We’re beginning to identify more invertebrates—particularly insect pollinators—on our property. Our pollinator garden is a great spot to observe them in warmer months! We were especially thrilled to catch a glimpse of this Luna Moth in 2012!  Other pollinators we’ve identified include Red Admiral, Pearl Crescent, Orange Sulphur, and Black Swallow Tail.  

Amphibians and Reptiles

We’ve documented Green Frog, Bull Frog, Alligator Snapping Turtle, Eastern Painted Turtle, and Dekay’s Brown Snake. We especially like seeing and hearing frogs in our detention ponds, as they serve as biological indicators for water quality, in addition to the water quality tests we conduct regularly. Note that detention ponds hold rain water and snow melt that run off of the capped areas of the Central Landfill—not the rain water and snow melt that come into contact with the trash in the active areas.


We’ve documented so many!  The list includes: Bald Eagle, Short-eared Owl, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, American Kestrel, Great Blue Heron, Night Heron, Great Egret, Glossy Ibis, Double-crested Cormorant, Mallard, Mute Swan, Wild Turkey, Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, American Robin, Northern Cardinal, Blue Jay, American Goldfinch, House Finch, House Sparrow, Eastern Bluebird, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Horned Lark, Meadow Lark, Mocking Bird, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Brown-headed Cow Bird, Red-winged Black Bird, Snow Bunting, Indigo Bunting, Yellow Warblers, Dark-eyed Junco… and the list goes on!


We’ve documented American Coyote, White-tailed Deer, River Otter, Groundhog, Beaver, Fox, Eastern Cottontail, Little Brown Bat, Grey Squirrel, and Eastern Chipmunk. Sometimes we see the animals themselves—like these baby coyotes that were born on our property in 2010—or animal tracks and other signs (e.g. trees cut by a beaver’s teeth) to identify mammals on our property.


We’ve planted or documented many species of native plants on our property, and have identified and removed exotic-invasive plants, such as multiflora rose, purple loosestrife, and autumn olive. Some trees we’ve identified include Red Maple, River Birch, Gray Birch, Eastern Red Cedar, White Pine and White Oak. The Audubon Society of RI and the RI Wild Plant Society have been especially helpful with these efforts.