Here's what's happening at WRWA this month
Jeremy Grantham to be Guest Speaker
at WRWA Annual Meeting March 4
Please join us for our Annual Meeting on Sunday, March 4, 2018 at the Bittersweet Restaurant, 438 Main Road, Westport. Brunch begins at 11:15, followed by our business meeting at noon.
This year's guest speaker is JEREMY GRANTHAM, well known environmentalist, investor and philanthropist.  The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment was founded in 1997 by Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham. The talk is entitled, "Race of Our Lives: Trying to Live Successfully with Climate Change." The Foundation's mission is to protect and improve the health of the global environment by seeking to raise awareness of urgent environmental issues and supporting individuals and organizations working to find solutions. Their grant-making supports communication and collaboration in environmental protection, with an emphasis on climate change

There is a $25 fee for brunch, to be paid in advance or at the door. Please RSVP on line, by email to, or by calling our office at 508-636-3016 so that we can give the restaurant a head count for brunch. The speaking program is free.

Mr. Grantham co-founded Grantham, Mayo, van Otterloo ( GMO) in 1977 and is a member of GMO's Asset Allocation team, serving as the firm's chief investment strategist. Prior to GMO's founding, Mr. Grantham was co-founder of Batterymarch Financial Management in 1969 where he recommended commercial indexing in 1971, one of several claims to being first. He began his investment career as an economist with Royal Dutch Shell. He is a member of the GMO Board of Directors and has also served on the investment boards of several non-profit organizations. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Sheffield (U.K.) and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Mr. Grantham also holds honorary degrees from the New School, University of Sheffield (New York) and Imperial College London and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Vote Yes at the May Town Meeting and
Support Funding for an Integrated Water Resource Plan
Roberta Carvalho, WRWA Science Director
The Town of Westport has invested significant time and money to understand the reasons for the long-term decline in water quality and healthy habitat of the Westport River. The conclusion from decades of water testing and many scientific studies is that the Town needs a watershed based plan to reduce the amount of nitrogen entering the river.

We have learned that our homes, businesses and farms are the main sources of too much nitrogen. This has been confirmed by the Massachusetts Estuary Program (MEP) Report (2013), Bread and Cheese Brook Report (2014), and the Final Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Report (2017). The TMDL Report sets targets on the limits of nitrogen the river can receive to restore it to a healthy and productive estuary.  

Reducing the long term effects of septic systems and cesspools to surface waters and aquifers calls for a watershed approach to planning. Simply put, the current wastewater management systems used in our homes, businesses, and traditional agricultural practices do little to reduce the excessive nitrogen and bacteria entering the river. In more densely populated neighborhoods with smaller lots, septic systems and wells are located so close together that drinking water quality can be compromised. We need a plan that looks beyond current approaches to manage wastewater, and instead identifies where new solutions can be most effectively applied to respond to a watershed-wide problem.
We need to think beyond the "business as usual" methods for planning and protecting our resources. Our community does not have the in-house technical, engineering and financial resources to develop a comprehensive plan that will provide the guidance needed to move forward. Recognizing that constraint, the Town has applied for a targeted, integrated wastewater management planning loan from the State Revolving Fund in the amount of $150,000. The application approval was announced by Governor Baker on February 15, a commitment to accept the loan is needed at Town Meeting this May.
Building from the prior studies and reports, the plan will describe and evaluate a mix of traditional and alternative technologies and practices that can be applied to halt and reverse the current nitrogen and bacteria loading that has degraded the river. The plan will also examine alternatives for an additional water supply and wastewater infrastructure necessary to:
 ♦ Address public health concerns on properties withcompromised drinking water sources and,
♦ Reduce current nitrogen loading and prevent additionalloadsthat would arise from future residential and commercial development.
♦ The plan will evaluate the most promising combination of methods for wastewater and stormwater treatment as well as other practices to reduce nitrogen generation and discharge. It will recommend which approaches will be most efficient and cost effective in achieving the reduction targets considering the type, volume and location of the sources of contamination. The components of the plan will include needs, alternatives, and financial analyses, a preliminary engineering design, and a public engagement process to obtain the community's input and participation in the design and implementation of the plan.
WRWA Offers $1,000 Merit Scholarship
The Westport River Watershed Alliance (WRWA) is pleased to offer a $1,000 scholarship opportunity for graduating seniors living in the Westport River watershed communities of Fall River, Dartmouth, Freetown, Westport, Little Compton, and Tiverton.  The award was made possible by the generosity of the late Margot C. Boote, and by Bill Heath in memory of his parents Ruth and Bill Heath. The merit award applications are available on the WRWA website at www.westportwate
 or by calling the WRWA office at 508-636-3016.  Guidance departments in local high schools also have applications on file. All applications are due into WRWA office no later than April 1, 2018.

The merit awards offer WRWA an opportunity to honor students who have demonstrated their interest in protecting the Westport River. WRWA's mission is to restore, protect, celebrate, and sustain the natural resources of the Westport River and its watershed.  WRWA accomplishes its mission through education, advocacy, and community outreach. 
Spring Is Almost Here
Plant Native Trees and Shrubs

The world is running out of wild places. Our civilization has been chipping away at forests, open space, and estuaries and now only relatively small pockets of land undisturbed by humans exist for wildlife and natural processes.  We each have an opportunity to do more than just try to protect what is left. We can enhance the spaces that we have taken over by planting native trees, shrubs and other plants, and make them more hospitable to wildlife. By planting native trees and other plants, we can help to purify naturally flowing water, provide food and shelter to birds and beneficial insects and also make our own habitat more beautiful and peaceful. Trees also provide shade, block the wind, and help purify the air while removing carbon dioxide.
It is important to
Cedar Waxwing in
Serviceberry Shrub
plant native species, those that are adapted to our climate and environment, and that have symbiotic relationships with our native birds and bees. And they require less maintenance, fertilizer and pesticides, resulting in a healthier environment for all of us.
There are many on-line resources for learning about the best varieties of plants to introduce into your own personal environment - your yard. Some local landscapers specialize in native plants that will lessen the impact that we have on our air, soil, streams, and river.
With winter coming to an end soon, now is a good time to think about spring plantings, and about the small steps each of us can take to improve our environment.


View the show preview at: 
Registration is Open for WRWA's Summer Coastal Ecology Program   
Our summer programs offer children the opportunity to learn science, make friends, and build self-confidence, all while having fun in a relaxed, safe environment.
The Coastal Explorers Ages 7-9. 
*Monday- Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  

*Weeks of July 9-13 & July 23-27
Children discover wildlife in our coastal waters, create eco-crafts, learn about coastal habitats, hike the dunes, and enjoy games on the beach. The program fee is $170 for WRWA members, $210 for non-members.

River Edventures - Ages 9-11. 
*Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
*Weeks of July 16-20
and August 6-10. 
Head out on WRWA's Skiff Water Watcher to explore the Westport River by boat, tow a plankton net, pull up crab posts and observe osprey nests. The cost is $190 for members and $230 for non-members.  

Watershed Explorers- Ages 12-16. 
*Monday - Thursday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
*Week of July 30 - August 3. 
Participants learn about the ecology of the Westport River, visit coastal habitats and spend three days paddling on the Westport River, led by certified instructors from Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures. The fee is $360 for members and $400 for non-members and includes all equipment and instruction.  

River Rats - Ages 3 - 6 (accompanied by adult). Each session will feature an hour at the beach during which participants will listen for shore birds, use nets to catch fish and crabs and explore the sand for hidden creatures. Hands-on investigations, games and crafts will help children learn about animals at the beach.
*Tuesday, 8/14, Wednesday 8/15, Thursday 8/16
Cost: $10 members, $12 Non-members. 

Register online at: 
or call 508-636-3016.

Creature Feature ♦ Red-tailed Hawk
(Buteo jamaicensis)
Victoria Quennessen, Commonwealth Corps Educator 
If you've ever spied a bird slowly circling over an open field, or perching on a telephone pole, check to see if it has a rusty colored tail, and if it flies without flapping its wings often. If so, it was probably a red-tailed hawk looking for its next meal.

Their strong eyesight helps them find prey from far away. They eat small mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles and carrion. Although they can be almost two feet tall and have a wingspan more than twice that, they only weigh up to three pounds. They're the most common hawk in North America and even if you've never seen one, you've definitely heard one. Whenever there's a strong, piercing bird call in a movie, it's almost always a recording of a red-tailed hawk.  

Red-tailed hawks are found all across North America, and can live to be 30 years old. They mate for life, and have a very exciting mating ritual. The male will swoop and rise back up dramatically. Sometimes he locks talons with the female and they dive, separating just before they reach the ground. They like to build their nests high up in trees, and reuse them year after year. They can lay as many as five eggs a year, and take care of the young for up to seven weeks after they hatch.
In mid November, a female red-tailed hawk was rescued from the side of Route 88. After a month of food and rest, the hawk was released back into the wild from the Westport Elementary School on December 18. She flew up to the treetops, and eventually headed in the direction of her own territory. According to her band number, she was originally from Cape May, New Jersey, and is about ten years old.

So the next time you're outside or on a long car ride, pay attention out the window! You might see a red-tailed hawk soaring over a field or sitting in its nest, high up in a tree.


Summer Concert tickets on sale now!



Save Us Your Lees Receipts

All purchases made at Lees Market during January will be doubled for Community Partner members. Please save us your Lees receipts! You can drop them off at our office at
1151 Main Road , or mail to
Westport River Watershed Alliance
PO Box 3427
Westport, MA   02790.

Thank you, Lees Market!  

Thank you to our corporate sponsors
We are grateful to our corporate sponsors for their annual support of WRWA.  Please take a moment to view our list of sponsors below, and note that each logo is an active link to their individual websites.

Corporate Sponsors

Westport River Watershed Alliance | 508-636-3016 |

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