Westport River Watershed Alliance
January 2012 ENews
Boards Endorse Community Septic Loan Program
Betsy White, Advocacy Director


At the urging of the Westport River Watershed Alliance and the Estuaries Committee, the Westport Board of Health voted on Monday January 9, to support adding an article to the 2012 Town Meeting Warrant for participation in a Community Septic Management Program.  This program will enable our community to provide financial assistance to homeowners living in environmentally sensitive areas, who have failed septic systems. Through this program, the engineering and general construction costs associated with replacement or upgrade of a failed septic system can be provided as a low interest loan, to you, the homeowner. The Commonwealth provides funding for the Community Septic Management Program to the Community through a "State Revolving Fund" (SRF) loan. The participation of homeowners in areas identified as environmentally sensitive (to failed systems) is not mandatory. However, if the homeowner's septic system constitutes an imminent health hazard according to the local Board of Health, the homeowner can be given priority for assistance. Homeowner participation is encouraged because correctly operating septic systems are beneficial to the environment and the low interest rate offered by the Program helps homeowners comply with Title 5.

For more information visit the DEP website:
WRWA Bids Farewell to Cindy Scheller

 Matt Patrick, WRWA Executive Director


The Westport River Watershed Alliance is losing a great, long time employee to retirement.  Cindy Scheller who has been the friendly face greeting people when they walked through the door has retired after seven years.  Mrs. Scheller ran the fundraising and membership department at WRWA. 


We will miss her and wish her the best, Cindy has been incredibly valuable to this organization for a long time and she will be hard to replace.  I tried to get her to stay but she had her mind made up already.


Mrs. Scheller's parting words were, "For the past six years, it has been a true privilege to work with WRWA's dedicated, professional staff and energetic volunteers as they tirelessly work together to protect and improve the health of the Westport River and its watershed, vital resources to our community today and into the future."  Cindy has been training her replacement for the last month, Jim Bride. 


Jim has worked on membership for several non-profit organizations.  He formerly worked for The Governor's Academy in Byfield, Massachusetts as the Director of Alumni & Parent Relations and St. Andrew's School, Middletown, Delaware as the Assistant Dean of Students as well as other non-profit educational organizations. 


Jim is excited to have the opportunity to raise support and awareness for an organization committed to protecting the natural resources and beauty of the Westport River watershed. Jim is thrilled to be working with the Westport River Watershed Alliance, its members, board of directors, staff and community stakeholders.  He looks forward to forging new relationships and strategic partnerships to raise support for the work of the WRWA and its mission.

Merit Awards for Green Minded High School Seniors


We are pleased to offer two $500 scholarship opportunities for graduating seniors in the Westport River watershed: Fall River, Dartmouth, Freetown, Westport, Little Compton, and Tiverton.  One award, was made possible by the generosity of the late Margot C. Boote, who was active in education and the environment. The second award, was initiated by Bill Heath in memory of his parents Ruth and Bill Heath.


The merit award applications are available by clicking here, or on our website www.westportwatershed.org or by calling the WRWA office at 508-636-3016. Local high schools also have applications on file at their guidance department office.


All applications are due to WRWA  (PO Box 3427, Westport, MA 02790) no later than April 1, 2012.


The Alliance has a proud record of environmental stewardship and has expressed  its commitment to carry on this tradition.  The merit awards offer an opportunity to honor students who have demonstrated a passion for learning about and protecting the watershed environment.

Kids Summer Program Schedule for 2012
 by Shelli Costa, Education Director


The Westport River Watershed Alliance is offering fun, hands on summer science programs for ages 3-16.  Participants discover marine life, create eco-crafts, learn about coastal habitats and enjoy games on the beach. 


Programs range from an hour long session for the youngest explorer, to trips on WRWA's skiff to learn about the Westport River or kayaking/paddle boarding for our more advanced participants.  Our summer programs offer children the opportunity to learn science, make friendships and build self-confidence, all while having fun in a relaxed, safe environment.


Programs fill up quickly, so don't miss out. For more information and to register visit our website:

Upcoming Events 


WRWA Annual Meeting

Saturday, March 17 ,2012  

3-5 p.m. 

Westport Grange Hall 
1132 Main Road, Westport, MA


Speaker will be:

Nicholas J. Ashbolt, Ph.D. Senior Research Microbiologist
National Exposure Research Laboratory
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, OH, USA


Dr. Nick Ashbolt has graciously agreed to speak at our Annual Meeting this coming Saint Patrick's day. He is one of the most forward thinking experts in waste-water of our time. Dr. Ashbolt would most likely object to our using "waste" in front of water because, as he says, there is no "waste". There are only poorly used natural resources that society must harness. "It's all about money, residuals and resource recovery." That's why we invited him to speak.


To put this in context, Westport recently received the draft Massachusetts Estuary Program (MEP) report from the SMAST program at UMass, Dartmouth. The MEP is a set of criteria we need to meet to clean up our waters. There are old, expensive ways and there are simpler, inexpensive ways to do this. Dr. Ashbolt will talk about these simpler methods and why we should use them for the good of ourselves, our children and the planet.


Dr. Ashbolt has stated that water conservation measures could 'easily' reduce household demand in developed countries by 70%.  He cited examples of water-saving devices including dry composting toilets with urine separation systems which operated like 'garden compost heaps'. Diverted water was re-used in agriculture while remaining waste was turned into soil-enriching organic compost. He claims these techniques can be used safely, even in fairly dense urban settings.


Don't miss this unique opportunity to learn about the new ways to use our waste... strike that, our resources. Reserve a spot now by calling WRWA 508-636-3016.

Find Westport River Watershed Alliance on Facebook!
Westport River Watershed Alliance
1151 Main Road
Westport, Massachusetts 02790

WRWA Logo 

WRWA's mission is to restore, protect, celebrate, and sustain the natural resources of the Westport River and its watershed which encompasses six towns:  Dartmouth, Fall River, Freetown, and Westport in Massachusetts, and Little Compton and Tiverton in Rhode Island.  WRWA accomplishes its goal of protecting the watershed through education, research, advocacy, and community outreach.