As of 1/1/2012, RIDEM's regulations prohibit felt soled wading shoes in both fresh and SALTWATER. Amazingly this new regulation somehow appeared without the slightest advance notice and little public comment. Leaders of RI's largest fishing groups, RISAA and others had no knowledge of this when I asked for their position.
A total of THREE states as of this date have banned felt, but SALTWATER? In fact many states recommend washing felt soled boots and other wading gear in a SALT SOLUTION to control invasives. NO didymo has been confirmed in RI fresh waters, and the banning of felt in the salt is patently absurd. What's worse is that few anglers know of this regulation which goes into effect in just a few days.
FROM the REGULATIONS on RIDEM website:
STATE OF RHODE ISLAND AND PROVIDENCE PLANTATIONS
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
FISH AND WILDLIFE
FRESHWATER AND ANADROMOUS
FISHING REGULATIONS for the 2012 – 2013 SEASON
1.17 It is prohibited that any person use foot gear with external felt soles in any state waters, inclusive of freshwater, tidal, or marine. This shall include any waters shared with adjacent states in which any Rhode Island Fishing Regulations apply.