WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A large section of Greenwich Bay will be open to shellfishing for the first time in 20 years on Friday.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced Thursday that its changed the harvesting status of 180 acres from prohibited to conditionally approved.

Efforts to increase sewer cleanup and strengthen stormwater controls have led to improved water quality in the Nausauket area of the bay, according to the DEM.

“The improvements in the cove are the result of a combination of better stormwater management, extensive hook-ups to city sewer systems, and elimination of cesspools,” DEM Director Terry Gray said in a news release. “All these actions were driven by state programs and implemented in partnership with the city of Warwick. This opening is an example of vision, long-term infrastructure investments, and state-local-federal cooperation leading to cleaner water.”

The DEM said the area had been closed to shellfishing since 2002 due to excessive fecal coliform levels in the water.

All of Greenwich Bay is conditionally approved for harvesting, meaning it’s only open under certain conditions that are conducive to safe shellfish consumption.

Visit the DEM’s website or call (401) 222-2900 for updates on shellfishing closures.