Here's what's happening at WRWA this month

Message from Executive Director Deborah Weaver 

Dear Members and Friends: 
It is time for our annual membership drive, when we count on our supporters new and old to pitch in and help WRWA with a new or renewed membership. This support at the most fundamental level provides the funds we need as we strive to fulfill our mission- to protect our most precious resource, the Westport River and its watershed.

This year, we are bringing important issues to our community, with our climate change presentation at our annual meeting, our salt marsh degradation studies with regional universities, our Cockeast Pond oyster project with UMASS Dartmouth, and ongoing water quality monitoring and stellar education programs. None of this is possible without your generosity! We so appreciate our loyal members, and ask that you support us this year with your membership in the Watershed Alliance. Basic membership begins at $50, and you can also become a sustaining member by going on line to make a monthly  gift. Please visit our web page at , or send your donation to
PO Box 3427, Westport, MA 02790.
Thank you!



Earth Day Beach Clean-Up ♦ Saturday, May 5 ♦ 10 a.m. to Noon

Join WRWA for the annual spring clean up of the Cherry & Webb town beach area. Volunteers should meet at the town beach parking area at 10 a.m. Gloves and bags will be provided.

Each year, we remove several hundred pounds of debris and trash from the beach, parking area and trails. All ages welcome! Please call ahead at 508-636-3016 or email if you would like to help.



WRWA Announces Summer Concert Artists
Jonathan Edwards and Pousette-Dart Band

The Westport River Watershed Alliance will host
Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Edwards and the Jon Pousette-Dart Band on July 14, at our third annual Summer Concert at Westport Rivers Vineyard. The concert is co-presented by the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River.

Edwards, who came to fame in the 1970's with his top 40 hit, "Sunshine," and "Shanty," everyone's favorite ode to putting a good buzz on, has maintained a busy performance schedule, still projecting the warmth, energy and musical brilliance for which he is known. Four decades into a stellar career of uncompromising musical integrity, Jonathan simply delivers, night after night - songs of passion, songs of insight, songs of humor, all rendered in that pure and powerful tenor which, like fine wine, has only grown sweeter with age.

The Pousette-Dart
Jon Pousette-Dart
Band, led by Jon Pousette-Dart, carved a place in the landscape of American music in the 1970's. They were a mainstay of album radio, a favorite on the college circuit, and became one of the busiest touring groups in the US working with such acts as The Byrds, Bonnie Raitt, Little Feat, The Eagles, James Taylor,
The J. Geils Band, Eddie Money, Manfred Mann,
Jonathan Edwards, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Emmylou Harris, Gary Wright, Robert Palmer, Randy Newman, Journey, Billy Joel, and NRBQ. They are best remembered from that era for their hit songs, "County Line," and "Amnesia." 

The summer concerts sold out the past two years, so advanced ticket purchase is recommended. Guests always enjoy a first-rate show with professional stage and sound in an intimate and relaxed setting, and have the option of bringing a lawn chair and/or blanket, or to sit in the row seating that will be provided. The sloping lawn of the vineyard provides a great view for everyone.

Beer and wine will be on sale, and food trucks will be selling hot food. Guests may bring food in to the concert, but no alcohol can be brought in.
The show is sponsored by Dewey, Schmid and Kearns Architects of Concord, MA, Westport Rivers Vineyard, Buzzards Bay Brewing, Lees Oil Service, and Ralco Electric.
Tickets are on sale on line at and . Member price $40, non-members $50. Small additional charge for on-line sales. Gates open at 5:00 pm on Saturday. Rain date Sunday, July 15.
Phone orders: 508-636-3016. Westport Rivers is located at 417 Hix Bridge Road. Car pooling is encouraged and appreciated.

Mechanics Cooperative Bank
"Keeping It Local"
This month, we sat down with some friends from Mechanics Cooperative Bank, who have been loyal WRWA supporters for several years, to talk about their volunteering activities at our annual River Day Celebration. Mechanics is also a WRWA corporate sponsor, as part of their broader support for our community.
We spoke with mother and daughter
Face painting artist Samantha Rabbit at work
at last year's River Day
Claire and Samantha Rabbitt, who have devoted their energy and talent to the wonderful Face Painting booth at River Day. Claire, a 26-year veteran employee at Mechanics who works in Human Resources and is the Bank's IRA Specialist, enjoys being involved in the community activities. Her daughter Samantha, a graduate of The Art Institute of Boston with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Illustration, is a talented artist who brings her skill and imagination to the art of face painting for the many children who come to enjoy the River Day activities. Samantha's artistic focus is on illustration, with a love of sci-fi and fantasy. She also lends her talent and passion for drawing animals at special events for Buttonwood Park Zoo.  The children are fascinated by the colorful artwork that Samantha applies to their faces at River Day. Samantha loves the fact that this activity is free for all who attend the festival, and remarks on the transformation and fascination the kids experience when they look in the mirror. "They sit there so still while I am painting, and they light up when they see their faces!"
Joshua Narciso, Marketing Assi
From left: Joshua Narcisso, Mechanics Bank Marketing Assistant, Deborah Weaver, artist Samantha Rabbit, Claire Rabbit
stant at Mechanics Cooperative Bank, expressed the company's philosophy on volunteerism, community involvement and philanthropy. "It would be easy for the Bank to just write a check to an organization, but it is important to be out in the community, making a difference with a contribution of time and energy." He added, "Our CEO Joseph T. Baptista Jr. loves to give back and be involved in the community. We could not be more proud of our commitment to local charitable organizations that helps make our
Let's Keep it Local!® tagline, a reality. Mechanics is a part of the community and giving back keeps us connected with the communities we serve."
We are so grateful to Mechanics Bank for their ongoing support for the Watershed Alliance, and for their generosity, helping to make our annual River Day Celebration the fun event that it is for kids of all ages.
This year's River Day Festival will be held on Saturday, June 9 at the Head of Westport landing.

WRWA Merit Scholarship Goes to Hana Tabit
This year's Westport River Watershed Alliance merit award winner is Bishop Stang High School Senior Hana Tabit of Westport. Hana has a love of science and an interest in finding solutions to pressing environmental issues. Hana is also interested in passing on the environmental lessons she has learned to the next generation of students. She is planning on attending college this fall, but has not yet made her choice of school.
Hana's essay was a reflection on growing up near the Westport River, pleasant recollections featuring aquatic wildlife and beautiful scenery.   She writes, "As organizations such as WRWA continue to dig deeply into the cause and effects of water pollution, it becomes increasingly evident that it is critically important to keep our water clean in order to preserve the quality of our lives."
WRWA offers a $1000 merit award for graduating seniors living in the watershed area, which includes Dartmouth, Fall River, Freetown, and Westport in Massachusetts, and Little Compton and Tiverton in Rhode Island. The merit award offers an opportunity for us to honor a student who has demonstrated a concern for protection of our watershed environment.
The Westport River Watershed Alliance Merit Award was created to celebrate the lives of William and Ruth Heath and Margo C. Boote. William and Ruth Heath were committed to environmental issues and protection of the natural world, as well as to social justice and global peace and harmony. Margo C. Boote was very involved in her community and the world around her. She not only portrayed an active commitment to the environmental mission in her actions, but also had a deep spiritual connection with the environment as was shown in her poetry.
WRWA has a proud 40-year record of environmental stewardship, with the mission 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. 
Why Vote YES for Westport's Water Planning
David Cole, Westport Planning Board
The following article will be on the Warrant for Town Meeting, May 1, 2018
To see if the Town will vote to appropriate $150,000 for the purpose of preparing a Targeted-Integrated Water Resource Management Plan to guide the Town's selection and implementation of actions to address various water, wastewater and stormwater problems and improve the Westport River's water quality to comply with state standards, including without limitation all costs thereof as defined in Section 1 of Chapter 29C of the Massachusetts General Laws to determine whether this appropriation shall be raised by borrowing from the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust or otherwise; and/or take any other action relative thereto.

Why the Town is seeking approval of funding for water planning.
Westport has serious water-related problems. Practically all residences, businesses and public buildings have their own water supplies and wastewater treatment systems. In too many cases wells supply drinking water that does not meet public standards and failed septic systems pollute nearby wells and groundwater that eventually enters into the River. Many residents must purchase their drinking water at considerable cost. Many homeowners experience difficulties in meeting the requirements for repairing wells and septic systems on small lots, and in selling their properties except at big discounts. Excess nitrogen, mainly from failed septic systems is polluting the River and in time will wipe out fish and shellfish and leave a stagnant, algae-covered waterbody. This will further reduce property values and quality of life throughout the Town. Finally, increasingly severe storms are causing more frequent flooding in many areas of the Town. To address these problems, we need to be clear about the causes, identify various possible solutions, determine which solutions are most effective and efficient and what they will cost. That is exactly what the plan will do.

What approach to planning is being proposed?
The Town is proposing a "Targeted-Integrated Water Resource Management Plan" for the whole watershed of the East Branch of the Westport River. The plan will consider all three types of water issues - drinking water, waste water and storm water - because in many cases they are interrelated and can be solved more efficiently in an integrated way. It will focus on the East Branch watershed because all three types of water problems are more serious in that watershed than in other parts of the Town. Lessons learned from the plan for the East Branch will help inform and probably reduce the cost of subsequent water planning and action for the rest of the Town.

What the planners will do.
The planners will initially review the extensive available information on water conditions in the East Branch. Next, they will identify future needs for clean drinking water, reduced nutrient pollution of the River and stormwater mitigation. Then they will present an alternatives analysis of the various types of solutions that might be used to meet the identified needs. These alternatives will be presented in a "feasibility matrix" for water, wastewater and stormwater measures in terms of their efficiency, costs and public acceptance. After public review of these options, the final plan will present a set of recommended actions including cost estimates and an implementation plan.

How the plan will be paid for.
The Town applied to DEP for a water planning loan of $150,000 last August and was awarded that amount in February. The ATM is being asked to approve this loan so that the formal planning process can begin. The loan from the State Revolving Fund will carry a 2% annual interest rate and be payable over a period of 20 years, amounting to an annual cost of only $9,100 over the 20-year period. The planning outreach costs will be paid for by $30,000 of Community Preservation Funds, $15,000 of which was approved in 2012, and $15,000 of which is being requested from this year's Town Meeting.

Who will prepare the plan?
The plan will be prepared by a well-qualified engineering/planning firm that will be selected by the Board of Selectmen after receiving recommendations from the Planning Board based on their review of the proposals.

What will be the role of local citizens in the planning process?
Public meetings will be held to invite community input at three stages in the planning process:
The issues to be addressed in the plan;
The array of possible solutions to be considered in the plan;
The recommended solutions proposed in a draft plan.
After this last public meeting, the plan will be finalized and submitted to the Planning Board for its final review and then to the Board of Selectmen for their final approval.

What will the plan lead to?
The plan will provide guidance for future actions of the Town Government and its citizens in solving the water problems that the Town currently faces and is expected to face in the coming 5-10 years. It will be a basis for requests to the State for funding various types of infrastructure projects. It will inform decisions on by-laws and regulations to shape future actions of residents and businesses.

The Westport River Watershed Alliance is seeking two qualified
candidates to fill our seasonal summer internship positions.  
The positions are 30 hrs/week at a rate of $11 hr, from June until the middle of August (exact starting and ending dates flexible). The intern will work under the supervision of the Education Director, assisting with various projects. WRWA received a generous grant from BayCoast Bank to fund this position with understanding that applicants be enrolled as students at BCC or UMass Dartmouth .

For complete list of responsibilities and desired qualifications, please visit our Facebook page. Interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume and 3 references to:
Shelli Costa, Education Director ♦ Westport River Watershed Alliance ♦
PO Box 3427 ♦ Westport, MA or email materials to:  
Electronics Recycling Day Brings in Over 10,000 lbs. of Materials  
Thanks to all our volunteers and to the hundred-plus people who came to drop off old electronics at our biggest electronics recycling day yet, on April 18th.  We filled three trucks and collected over 10,000 pounds this time!

Big thanks to IndieCycle for providing this valuable community service!
Our next event will be in October.
  Deadline for 2019 Calendar Photo Contest: May 1

Time is running out for our 2019 Photo Calendar Contest!  We are still accepting landscape and nature photos that show the unique beauty and diversity of the Westport River watershed in all four seasons (i.e. the river, streams, wildlife, plants, etc.), limit 5 photos per person . To submit an image, send photos to Steve at   The deadline is May 1st.

Certain image criteria must be met for the image to be used :  
*Pictures should be submitted as JPGs. 
*Image size should be 
no smaller  than 10 x 8 inches ( pixel dimension 3000 x 2400 ).
*Image resolution should be 
300 dpi  or greater, file size 1MB or greater. Each image should be given a title, with image title matching file name.  Artist name should be included for calendar credits. Image criteria is also listed at .

Questions about criteria and image submissions can be emailed to Steve Connors at 
outreach  or call  508-636-3016 . By sending in your pictures you are allowing WRWA to use your pictures to inspire the appreciation and celebration of Westport's natural resources. Independent judges will select the 13 best photos (one for the cover) Send us your best Watershed photos!

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 ♦ Wild Turkey
(Meleagris gallopavo)

Angela Hilsman, Commonwealth Corps Educator  

Flocks of wild turkeys - with bobbing heads and dragging tail feathers - are common sights along field edges and roadsides. However, with spring underway, you're likely to see more plumage than usual.

Male turkeys, called gobblers, partake in courtship displays that involve puffing up their body feathers, fanning their tail feathers, and slowly strutting to win attention from females. They also elongate their snood - the fleshy growth above their beak.  

Only male turkeys can make the "gobble" sound for which they are named. Each gobbler has a unique call, also used for attracting a mate. Females also make distinct noises, but they sound more like clucks or chirps.  

Following a successful courtship, a female will lay 10-12 eggs in a shallow hole in the ground. She'll use dead leaves and other plants to line her nest, and the chicks will hatch about four weeks later. Outside breeding seasons, gobblers return to all-male flocks while females join forces to rear chicks.  

Local predators include coyotes, bobcats, and raccoons, but turkeys can fly short distances to escape danger. They will also rest up in the trees at night for safety. When necessary, turkeys can even swim by tucking in their wings, spreading their tails, and kicking.

By day, wild turkeys scratch the ground in search of nuts, seeds, berries, snails, and insects. These scratch marks often indicate turkey activity, along with tracks, droppings, and feathers. Learn more about turkeys and tracking with the Westport River Watershed Alliance on Saturday, May 19, 10-11 a.m., at the Herb Hadfield Conservation Area. Visit for more information.



Summer Concert tickets on sale now!



Save Us Your Lees Receipts

WRWA is pleased to be a recipient of Lees Market Community Partners program. 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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