WRWA River News for July-August, 2017
River News - July-August, 2017
Full Capacity Crowd Enjoyed a Beautiful Evening of Music
at Westport Rivers Vineyard

WRWA's Summer Concert at the Vineyard was a beautiful evening of great music, enjoyed by over 650 happy guests on July 15. Thanks to all who attended, and to our generous sponsors listed below, and to  Dar Williams and  Chris Smither for their brilliant performances.
Like last summer's very successful Tom Rush show, this year's concert was co-presented with The Narrows Center for the Arts and sponsored in part by Westport Rivers and Buzzards Bay Brewing.
The show was a sell out, with over 650 guests enjoying the great music and pastoral setting on a beautiful summer evening.

Other local sponsors include The Bayside Restaurant, Country Woolens, Lees Oil Service,
Pine Hill Equipment and Ralco Electric.

Is the River Clean Enough for Swimming?
For Answers Check Our Website Weekly
Roberta Carvalho, Science Director

WRWA has been sampling the River to test for fecal coliform bacteria since 1991; monitoring for the presence of bacteria pollution. Bacteria do not generally damage the ecosystem, but can make people sick when they eat tainted seafood, or  swim in contaminated water. They are also a marker to identify the possible presence of other pathogens that come from the same fecal sources. Bacteria in the River comes from human wastewater and domestic and wild animal waste  You can visit our website weekly to see water testing results for the Westport River. Go to:  
http://westportwatershed.org/river-info/water-resources/ .  
Water quality testing results for local public beaches can be found on the state's website: http://mass.digitalhealthdepartment.com/public21/maps.cfm?map=Buzzards%20Bay

Lieutenant Governor Polito Visits Westport

This group of Westport representatives met with Lt. Governor Karyn Polito at the Head of Westport in late July to announce the Seaport Economic Council grant of $249,000 to the Town of Westport.

From Left: Paul Schmid (State Rep), Charley Appleton (WRWA Vice President), R. Michael Sullivan (Board of Selectmen), Tom Schmid (WRWA President), Brian Valcourt (Board of Selectmen), Shana Shufelt (Board of Selectmen), Steve Oulette (Chair, Board of Selectmen), Deborah Weaver (WRWA Executive Director), Sam Mundel (Seaport Economic Council), Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Tony Millham (Landing Commission), Carl Tripp (Chair, Landing Commission), Jim Hartnett (Town Planner), Jim Whitin (Chairman Planning Board), Bill Raus (Chair, Community Preservation Committee), Lucy Tabit (Assistant Town Planner), Sasha Sullivan (Landing Commission), Jeff Bull (Landing Commission Vice Chair).
The Town applied for this grant with the assistance of the Watershed  Alliance.  The funds will be used for improvements to the public access areas of the Town Landing at the Head of Westport.
Update on Cockeast Pond Oyster Project
Micheline Labrie of UMASS Dartmouth examining small oysters taken from the pond.

As you may know, the Westport River Watershed Alliance (WRWA) is working with UMass Dartmouth's Coastal Systems Program (CSP) on a project funded by a grant from the US EPA Southeast New England Program for Coastal Watershed Restoration. The UMass Dartmouth initiative is utilizing Cockeast Pond as a natural laboratory to measure how oysters improve water clarity and potentially reduce elevated nitrogen levels which destroy fish and other marine wildlife habitats.Much precursory work has been done to measure water quality in the Pond. WRWA invested nearly $60k to fund a multi-step, phased scientific study to determine the pond's water chemistry, nutrient balance (nitrogen) and ecological health, all leading to recommended actions for remediating, restoring and maintaining the pond's health.

The US EPA funded oyster experimentation developed as one action to investigate as a soft solution for improving water quality in Cockeast Pond. Thus a project was designed; a grant was written, and fortunately selected for funding. Last year the experimentbegan with an initial small scale deployment of oysters to determinethe spatial distribution of growth and survivability as well as sediment suitability.For more information of the project history and progression visit: http://westportwatershed.org/whats-being-done/oyster-experiment-in-cockeast-pond/%20

On July 11 and 12, 2017 the full scale experiment was launched and involved adding around 500,000 oysters to the Pond. WRWA worked with CSP scientists, students and interns to assemble the oyster gear; 250 cages were constructed. The project is using oysters grown by Westport's own Riptide Oysters [http://www.pangeashellfish.com/riptide-oyster/]. WRWA helped to count, sort and distribute two-thousand oysters into each cage. Each oyster was approximately 8mm in size. The cages were stacked and placed over approximately60 m2 in the Pond (less than 1% of the total area) surrounded by small orange buoys. And now we let the oyster sit and filter - throughout the summer and fall we will be checking and cleaning the gear. Next Steps for project 
CSP Scientists will evaluate the efficacy of deployment approach (surface bags, mid-water bags, or bottom racks)
* Ongoing water sampling for the Pond. The sampling and chemical analyses will include the full suite of nutrient related water quality parameters as in previous water quality monitoring done for the Pond and the Westport River to be directly cross comparable to long term records. Weather, tide-status, and results of water qualitymonitoring will be documented, with sampling performed so as to minimize both tide (ebb tide sampling) and weather-related effects on samples. Salinity measurements are also correlated to rainfall and other relevant parameters.
* Time-series dissolved oxygen (DO)/Chlorophyll-a Moorings = intensive sampling.
* Determining oyster bio-deposition rates and bio-deposit impact areas.
* Sediment core incubations and analysis of denitrification and oyster bio-deposits.
* Determine the net effect oysters have on nitrogen removal from Cockeast Pond.
* At the end of the experiment, as oysters in Cockeast Pond reach maturity, they will be transferred to an area of the East Branch that has previously supported oysters as a mechanism for re-establishing that natural population.Please check WRWA's website for updates and information. WRWA is still in need of funds to finish the complete scientific water quality study. Contributions for this important study can be made by check payable to WRWA, PO Box 3427, Westport, MA 02790, or by credit card on the WRWA website. Please be sure to designate fundsto the Cockeast Pond Study. Contributions are 100% tax deductible. Many thanks to the donors that already gave funding for various aspects of this research. Thank you for your care and stewardship. http://westportwatershed.org/2011/01/cockeast-pond-study/
Jen Benson and Roland Samimy counting mature oysters.  More than 90% of the oysters transplanted last year have survived.
Poet's Book of Reflections on life at Westport Point
Benefits Watershed Alliance

An unusual, highly
acclaimed book of poetry that centers itself in Westport has just been published. If you think poetry today is incomprehensible or irrelevant, this book may just prove you wrong!
By Richard Dey, a former commercial fisherman and resident there, WESTPORT POINT ♦ Poems spans nearly five decades and includes poems based on offshore lobstering and swordfishing as well as on sailing a Beetle Cat on the Westport river. Other poems concern different boats and people, as

sociating them with various themes. They are equally personal and impersonal, of the sea and the land, in formal and free verse, and a few are humorous. You are as likely to come upon a poem about a capsized boat as about the degradation of the salt marshes. There are two fine elegies also, uniting the deceased with the estuary peninsula.

Many of these poems were first published in magazines ranging from Poetry to Sail . What makes them unusual is that they are accessible yet literate, and unabashedly about a particular place and its people. Here are the penultimate lines from "Letter from Westport Point"
Our growing up and learning mark us, but place is what shapes us and can alter us.
I know I'm not so much myself as I am the places in which I've lived, live today.
Place is contemplation not less than action,
it helps identify sadness and joy; it's what we go ahead with, and return to.

Constant as our blue lives can never be,
setting and challenging our values, place
is the unsettled settlement of the mind.
WESTPORT POINT ♦ Poems is available from the Westport River Watershed Alliance online at www.westportwatershed.org, at the WRWA office (1151 Main Road) and at Partners Village Store (855 Main Road) in Westport.

Richard Dey with his son Russell, boating on the Westport River


Salt Water Soup
Roberta Carvalho, Science Director

If you closely look at a glass of water from the ocean, you'll see that it's full of tiny particles. Seawater contains dissolved salts, proteins, fats, dead algae, detergents and other pollutants, and a bunch of other bits and pieces of organic and artificial matter. If you shake this glass of ocean water vigorously, small bubbles will form on the surface of the liquid.
Sea foam forms in this way - but on a much grander scale - when the ocean is agitated by wind and waves. Each coastal region has differing conditions affecting the formation of sea foams. It is a natural phenomenon of the ocean which involves formation of white lathery substance which floats on the surface of water and gets accumulated at the sea shores. The formation of sea foam is seen in several parts of the world and continues to intrigue people even today.

Algal blooms are one common source of thick sea foams. When large blooms of algae decay offshore, great amounts of decaying algal matter often wash ashore. Foam forms as this organic matter is churned up by the surf. According to a 2011 paper* by several Austrian scientists called "Foam in the Aquatic Environment," in order for foam to form, you need air, water, and a key third ingredient called a "surfactant"--a kind of sticky molecule that clings to the surface between water and air. This surfactant ingredient can come from a lot of places; human-made sources include fertilizers, detergents, and sewage. But surfactants also come from the proteins and fats in algae, seaweed, and other marine plant life.

There are lots of different molecules that can act as surfactants, but they all have one thing in common: one end of the molecule is hydrophilic (attracted to water) while the other end is hydrophobic (repelled by water). When a bunch of surfactant molecules get mixed together with plenty of water and air, they all want to line themselves up at the boundary, with one end (hydrophilc) facing the water and the other (hydrophobic) facing the air. They'll even line up, so that the hydrophilic ends are pointed at each other, with a thin layer of water in between. That thin layer of water takes the shape of a sphere, because a sphere requires the least energy of any shape, it's a bubble. Things get slightly more complicated when there are many bubbles packed together--as you might have noticed while taking a bubble bath as a kid (or as an adult), foamy bubbles aren't perfect spheres--but the basic idea is the same. It's all about the surfactant.

Most sea foam is not harmful to humans and is often an indication of a productive ocean ecosystem. But when large harmful algal blooms decay near shore, there are potential for impacts to human health and the environment. Along Gulf of Mexico beaches during blooms of Karenia brevis, for example, popping sea foam bubbles are one way that algal toxins become airborne. The resulting aerosol can irritate the eyes of beach goers and poses a health risk for those with asthma or other respiratory conditions.

*Katerina Schilling and Matthias Zessner. Foam in the aquatic environment. Water Research . Volume 45, Issue 15 , 1 October 2011, Pages 4355-4366

Don't miss out on this year's Summer Gala
August 12
Buy your tickets on line or call our office at 508-636-3016.
Members $100 in advance
Non members and at the gate $120

And the winner is....

Paddleboard raffle winner Kathleen McGinn was surprised and delighted when her ticket was drawn at Intermission at the Summer Concert.  She and her husband Jeff had been considering buying one, and so they bought a chance at the concert.
Congratulations, and happy paddling!

Our thanks to Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures for helping WRWA acquire the Riviera Paddleboard.

Please Save Us Your Lees Receipts!

The Watershed Alliance is a Lees Market Community Partner, and has received over $50,000 from this program since 1989. Please save up your market receipts and drop them off at 1151 Main Road, or mail to
Westport River Watershed Alliance
PO Box 3427 * Westport, MA   02790.     Thank you, Lees Market!


Corporate Sponsors

Westport River Watershed Alliance | 508-636-3016 | http://westportwatershed.org

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