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Westport River Watershed Alliance
River News - November, 2015

                       
Time for Annual Fund Drive

 

As we approach the end of another year, we would like to thank you for your support of the Watershed Alliance, an organization with a dedicated volunteer and donor community.

Our important work continues: monitoring the health and cleanliness of the Westport River, educating school children about the diversity of living things in the watershed, advocating for practices and policies that are good for the environment, and celebrating this beautiful estuary.
 

Every year at this time, the Westport River Watershed Alliance launches its Annual Fund Drive,  our most important fund raiser.  We count on your support of WRWA to deliver the services and expertise that is our standard, and we ask for you to give as generously as you can this year. Your gift will support ongoing operations and will help us to get the year started with a community wide expression of our vision: "working together for clean waters and a healthy river community, now and for future generations."
 

This is our shared legacy - to keep the river and watershed clean and pristine for our children and theirs, so that they may benefit from the beautiful and unique environment of the Westport River and its tributaries.

As we work to build WRWA capacity to protect this unique and environmentally sensitive area, we count on you: your financial support, your engagement with our mission and your commitment to our vision, now and for the future.

 

 
We thank you for your continued and enthusuastic support. Have a wonderful holiday season, and rest easy that we are doing all we can to preserve the health of our river.
Green Futures and WRWA at Boiling Spring
The Story of Boiling Spring
 
Way up in the northeastern area of the Westport River Watershed, in a remote part of the city of Fall River, is a place called Boiling Spring, where crisp and clear water bubbles up from underground.
This area is surrounded by the Southeastern Massachusetts Bioreserve, and conservation land owned by the City of Fall River, the Dartmouth Land Trust and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
 
Earlier this month, WRWA and Green Futures hosted a trek through the woods to the legendary spring.  We hiked a long trail, through stands of dense oak and white pines, to a clearing with a stone structure surrounding the flowing water.  The pristine stream makes its way to the Copicut River, eventually ending up at the Head of Westport and the East Branch.
 
The Copicut River empties into the Copicut Reservoir
This water source was used many years ago, to help with commercial activities including the making of charcoal and cedar shingles.  It also was a clean and dependable source of water for livestock and people.
This active spring is located on land that is now preserved and protected through the efforts of conservation groups.
While this tributary gets off to a great start at Boiling Spring, challenges and pollution sources along the way to the Westport River need to continue to be addressed.  Limiting runoff from roads, and implementing nitrogen reducing practices will help keep our estuaries healthy into the future. 


Update on Beach Avenue

On Nov 19th the WRWA Board voted to support Special Town Meeting Warrant Article 11, an initiative to stabilize and restore dunes adjacent to Beach Avenue and reduce vehicular traffic on the eastern end of that road. Learning over the weekend that a key prerequisite for execution of Article 11 authorization is not likely to be finalized by December 1st, we now anticipate that the question on Beach Avenue's future will be "passed over," a Town Meeting term for taking no action on the Warrant article. We will keep you apprised of this issue and hope to participate actively in future planning for this sensitive area.
 
Tom Schmitt, President

Join us for our Holiday Open House
 
WRWA will be hosting the annual Holiday Open House on Thursday, December 10th at our headquarters at 1151 Main Road, Westport. 
Join us for some Holiday Cheer!
4- 6 p.m.
 
RSVP to Steve by December 7
at outreach@wrwa.com, or call
508-636-3016 for information.
 
Hope to see you there!
WRWA 2016 Calendars on sale now!
 
Here is a great gift idea - a beautiful Westport River Watershed Alliance 2016 calendar, to remind friends and loved ones of Westport's natural beauty throughout the year.  Important dates are marked, and calendars are available with daily tides, or without.

You can pick them up at WRWA Headquarters, Westport Apothecary, Lees Market, Partners Village Store, Simmons Country Store and the Country Store at the Head of Westport.  Or you can buy on-line now!  Get a 25% discount if you buy five or more!
 
The Westport River Watershed Alliance is located at 1151 Main Road, Westport.
For more information, contact Steve Connors, WRWA Community Engagement Manager, at 508-636-3016, or by email at outreach@wrwa.com .                              
WRWA Receives Westport Betterment Grant

WRWA was recently awarded a $1,000 grant through the Ronald Desrosiers Memorial Fund (Westport Citizens Betterment Fund). This grant will provide funding for drain stickers to prevent the dumping of hazardous material into storm drains. WRWA will work with the Westport Highway Department to identify drain sites, starting at the Head of Westport. WRWA staff and volunteers and Westport Water Resources Management Committee volunteers will put the markers on or near the storm drains throughout the year.

The purpose of these stickers is to make people aware of the workings of the storm drains, which run right to the Westport River, and to prevent contaminants or hazardous materials from being discarded in these drains. WRWA would like to thank the Fund Committee for their generous support, of not only this project, but of all the projects that they have funded that benefit the Town of Westport.
More than 60 Artists to participate in third annual BUOY the Winter Blues show in February
Our third annual "BUOY THE WINTER BLUES" art show, to be held February 27 - March 5
at the Dedee Shattuck Gallery in Westport, is shaping up to be our best yet.
 
Local artists provide beautiful and innovative designs for the wooden lobster pot buoys, which we display in a silent auction.  This event is a fun distraction from the winter doldrums, and also an important fundraiser for WRWA!  The silent auction will take place on Saturday, March 5, 1 to 5 p.m., with the reception from 5 to 7.

Volunteers are needed for two-hour time slots during the week of the show, greeting guests and giving out information. 

Check out an album of photos from previous shows on our facebook page. We hope to see you in February! For info, or to volunteer, email Steve at outreach@wrwa.com.
Creature Feature: Great Egret (Ardea alba)
Rebecca Buchanan, Commonwealth Corps Service Member
 
The Great Egret is a large white bird, often
seen wading in shallo w water. They are known for their white plume, S-shaped neck, and yellow beak. During the breeding season, a patch of skin on the egret's face will turn neon green, and very long wispy feathers will grow from its back. 

These "aigrettes" were particularly desirable for ladies hats in the late 19th century. Due to their very fashionable feathers, this bird was hunted nearly to extinction. However, the Great Egret made a comeback, thanks to conservation efforts to protect birds from becoming a fashion trend. This movement started the first Audubon organizations. The Egret is the symbol for the National Audubon Society.
Great Egrets live in fresh, brackish, and saltwater environments. They hunt fish, frogs, eels, crustaceans, insects and other animals. Great Egrets can fly at 25 miles per hour, with a wingspan of 4-5 feet and many migrate south before the winter.

Before breeding, males build nests high in treetops.  When a female pairs up with a male, she will often help him complete the nest. Great Egrets are known to practice a behavior called "siblicide," in which the hatchlings will often kill their smaller siblings. This does not occur with every brood, but this behavior ensures that the strongest offspring will survive. This behavior is also common among predatory birds, including owls, hawks, and eagles.
Although the Great Egret overcame near extinction, humans still pose a threat to these birds. Habitat destruction and pollution are the two biggest concerns for the Great Egrets.
Take back the wilderness!

Here's the best way to remove ticks after a hike in the
woods - New TICK EASE tweezers, specially designed for easy and proper tick removal.  Dog owners who enjoy walks on Westport's many trails will find these particularly useful.
Pick up a pair at our Main Road Headquarters - only $10.
Many Thanks to Our Corporate Supporters



 

 

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