WRWA River News for May, 2017
River News - May, 2017
Annual River Day Festival
June 10th at Head of Westport

This year's popular River Day will take place on Saturday, June 10th, at the Town Landing at the historic Head of Westport, at the intersection of Drift Road and Old County Road. This event is free and open to the public and runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The day will be filled with activity- with live music, fun things for kids to see and do, lots of good food, farm animals, and interesting displays and exhibits. It all takes place on the banks of the Westport River.
June is National Rivers Month, and WRWA is holding a special Membership Drive during the month. This is a great time to renew membership, or join, with half-priced memberships
offered to first time members on River Day.

River Day will feature kids' activities, exhibitors and vendors
Over 30 exhibitors and vendors have signed up for this year's event! Make sure to come inside the tent to see what's happening with many of our regional non-profits, as well as some local farmers and environmental vendors.
This year's poster design contest was won by Westport Elementary School third grader Anna Herliczek. The theme is "What Makes A Healthy River?" Her entry was among over 200 submitted by
students in grades 1-4. All the winners will be recognized on stage
at noon at River Day Festival. Anna's drawing is the illustration for the River Day poster.


The Gnomes fuse its dynamic folk-rock edge with original tunes and a wide-ranging repertoire that spans the globe - Celtic, Scandinavian, Eastern European, Asian, African, Caribbean, Klezmer, and Native American. They combine their varied and extensive musical backgrounds into arrangements that have been described as "exotic, fresh, and unique." 

 Free parking at the old Middle School on Old County Road, and free shuttle provided by Whaling City Transit. The shuttle will make frequent runs to and from the Head Landing throughout the day.

EPA Releases TMDL Numbers for Westport River

The EPA has approved the Westport River TMDL as submitted by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on April 4, 2017. Environmental groups and concerned citizens have long awaited this approval. TMDL stands for the Total Maximum Daily Load of nitrogen allowable in our estuary; it sets the level to which we must reduce nitrogen inputs in order to restore the river to a healthy state.

For more than 20 years WRWA has joined with the Buzzards Bay Coalition Baywatchers Program to share Westport River water sampling data with other Buzzards Bay communities. Our volunteer water sampling program is one of the longest running in the state, and has provided DEP with a basis on which to determine water quality and measure impairments. WRWA performed most of the field work used to determine the TMDL and advocated for resources needed to perform that work.

Years of scientific assessment specific to the Westport River led to TMDL calculation and publication. The WRWA was instrumental in collecting data used to generate the Massachusetts Estuaries report-a technical document for the Westport River. We did that volunteer work in collaboration with the Coastal Systems Program at the School for Marine Science and Technology at UMASS Dartmouth.

BOTTOM LINE IS.... Westport now needs a plan to limit nitrogen entering the river. We believe our current level of housing and infrastructure development is adding too much nitrogen to the River, much of it from watershed septic systems. We encourage local officials and organizations to work collaboratively on short term and long term goals that limit nitrogen from future growth and reduce nitrogen from existing sources. WRWA plans to be an active partner in a planning process that eventually will help us manage growth, reduce fertilizer use, and promote advanced onsite nitrogen-abating septic systems.

2 Commonwealth Corps Positions Open

The Westport River Watershed Alliance is seeking 2 full time Commonwealth Corps volunteers to serve as Environmental Educators.  The Commonwealth Corps volunteers will deliver our Watershed Education Programs to children in grades PreK-12, and launch additional weekend student and family education programs. Commonwealth Corps volunteers with the WRWA will serve 10.5 months in a full-time capacity. Applicants should be Massachusetts residents and have a desire to put their talents and ideas to use in the service of their communities and the Commonwealth.
The mission of the Commonwealth Corps is to engage Massachusetts residents of all ages and backgrounds in service to strengthen communities, address unmet community needs, and increase volunteerism. Members will serve in a stipe
Current Commonwealth Corps Service Members Ryan Palmer and Lauren Arruda will be completing their 10-month service at WRWA in June.
nded full-t ime capacity from 8/15/17 - 6/24/18. Benefits include a focus on member training and development, as well as a bi-weekly stipend, a completion award, an inspiring network of fellow members, and other supports.
Those interested in applying for the position should email a cover letter, resume and three references to Shelli Costa, wep@wrwa.com .  For a full position description please visit our website:  www.westportwatershed.org .
WRWA Awards 3 Merit Scholarships   

This year the Watershed Alliance awarded three $1,000 merit scholarships to local High School Seniors. The awards go to George Bancroft, a Dartmouth resident who attends Bristol County Agricultural High School, Connor Brown from Westport High School, and Aidan Corey, a Westport resident who is graduating from Bishop Connolly High School.
The merit award offers an opportunity for WRWA to honor a student who has demonstrated commitment to protecting our watershed environment. "This year, we had so many deserving scholarship applicants that we felt we should try to give more than one," according to Shelli Costa, WRWA Education Director. All three recipients have either volunteered for the Watershed Alliance or benefitted from the education programs the
organization provides.
The sentiments of the applicants can be summed up by a quote from the submitted essay by Connor Brown, "As humans, our effect on the aquatic ecosystems can be either positive or negative; therefore, we need to consider how our actions impact the world around us. WRWA community based educational programs and school based research programs are key in teaching students the importance of protecting our local water systems and keeping Westport a beautiful coastal community."
Bancroft will be attending UMASS Amherst in the fall with plans to become a wildlife biologist. Brown is enrolled at the University of South Carolina, where he will pursue an advanced degree in Biology, and Corey will be studying at the University of New Hampshire with hopes of becoming a Biology teacher, or working for an environmental agency.
The Westport River Watershed Alliance Merit Award was created to celebrate the lives of William and Ruth Heath and Margo C. Boote, who were committed to environmental issues and protection of the natural world, as well as to social justice and global peace and harmony.

Earth Day Beach Clean-Up was Saturday, May 6

It was a chilly, rainy morning, but fifteen people showed up anyway to help with the annual beach clean-up at Cherry & Webb. Our thanks to the many high school students and
other dedicated folks who helped us haul trash and debris from the beach and dunes. Also, thanks to Sean Leach from the Beach Committee for his help, and for helping to provide the dumpster.

Thanks to a very generous anonymous donor, WRWA now has a beautiful new
truck to replace our old truck which had reached the end of its usefulness. We are so grateful, and hope to get many years of use from this F150!

Thanks to all who submitted photos for the 2018 Calendar


We received 75 submissions for the 2018 calendar and wish to thank all the photographers who took the time to send their entries to us.  The above photo, Boathouse Row Sunset, by Tim Agnew, will be the cover of the 2018 calendar.

The other winners were: Carol  Coutinho, Tony Connors, Mark Goulding, Jane Dufault, Greg  Stone, Barry French, Lucy Chase, Ryan Johnson, Cheryl Aguiar, and Lauren Miller Donnelly.

The calendars will be available this fall.

Registration is Open for WRWA's Summer Coastal Ecology Program  

River Rats-Ages 3-6   (accompanied by an 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, activities, games and crafts will help participants learn about animals at the beach.

Cost: $10 members/ $12 non-members
Time: 10AM to 11AM  
Dates:   Wednesdays (at Gooseberry Island)    8/16
Thursdays (at Cherry and Webb Beach, parking pass required) -  7/6  ♦  8/17

Coastal Explorers Ages 7-9

Discover the wildlife in our coastal waters in this hands-on, science day program. We'll use a seine net to catch critters, complete
scavenger hunts, hike through the dunes, play some nature
games on the beach, and create crafts from natural objects.
Cost: $170 members/$210 non-members
Time: Monday through Friday,  9am to 1pm
Dates:    7/10 - 7/14  ♦  7/24- 7/28 (FULL)

River Edventurers   Ages 9-11

Head out on WRWA's Skiff Water watcher to explore the Westport River by boat. We will tow a plankton net, pull up crab pots and observe osprey nests. Participant will also have the chance to look inside a skate to learn how they survive this marine habitat.
Cost: $190 members and $230 non-members.
Time: Monday through Friday 9am to 1pm
Dates:             7/17-7/21     ♦   7/31-8/4

Watershed Explorers Ages 12-16

Your child will explore the Westport River watershed and beyond in this program specially designed for the young outdoor enthusiasts. Through hikes on land and kayaking on the water, we will see many sections of our local rivers. We will spend 3 days
kayaking with Osprey
Sea Kayak Adventures.
Cost:  $360 members $400 non-members
Time:  Monday through Friday  9am-2pm 
Date:         8/7-8/11

Register online at:
www.westportwatershed.org/education/summer-programs/  or call 508-636-3016
Hometown Habitat Film is worth watching!  

Earlier this month, along with Sarah Lavalley of Sarah Lavalley Garden Design, WRWA hosted a showing of the film, Hometown Habitat, Stories of Bringing Nature Home. This 90-minute environmental, education documentary shows how and why native plants are critical to the survival and vitality of local ecosystems.

Hometown Habitat features renowned entomologist Dr. Douglas Tallamy, whose research, books and lectures on the use of non-native plants in landscaping, sound the alarm about habitat and species loss. The film challenges the notion that humans are here and nature is someplace else. "It doesn't have to, and shouldn't be that way." 

Inspiring stories of community commitment to conservation landscaping illustrate Tallamy's vision by showing how humans and nature can co-exist with mutual benefits.
The message:  All of us have the power to support habitat f or wildlife and bring natural beauty to our patch of the earth.

For more information, visit https://themeadowproject.com

Chris Smither and Dar Williams 
  2017 Summer Concert * July 15

Tickets on Sale Now from WRWA and Narrows Center for the Arts

Get your tickets now for our annual summer concert at the Westport Rivers Vineyard. Dar Williams and Chris Smither will be performing on Saturday, July 15, 2017 at 6 p.m. These well-known and profoundly talented singer-songwriters will be on-stage on the beautiful Westport Rivers landscape for an outdoor evening concert to benefit the Watershed Alliance.

Like last summer's very successful Tom Rush show, this year's concert is co-presented with The Narrows Center for the Arts and sponsored in part by Westport Rivers and Buzzards Bay Brewing.

Tickets are $40 for WRWA members, $50 for non-members, and will be $60 the day of the show. Don't wait too long-last year's show was a sell out, with over 600 guests enjoying the great music and pastoral setting on a beautiful summer evening.

Get tickets on the Narrows website at
www.narrowscenter.org , and at the WRWA office & website www.westportwatershed.org ,
or by phone 508-636-3016.

Creature Feature: Purple Marsh Crab (Sesarma reticulatum)
By Ryan Palmer, Commonwealth Corps Educator

The Purple Marsh Crab, or simply known as the Marsh Crab, is a small crab that is
native to the Eastern United States. They live in the salt marshes and mud flats of
brackish estuaries, and create networks of connected tunnels within the flats.
This species of communal crab only grows to a width of 1 inch, and has a square
purplish body. The main source of food for these creatures are the leaves of marsh cordgrass, and the occasional smaller species of crabs like fiddler crabs. They are also nocturnal creatures, which makes them hard to study. Predators of this species include the Blue Crab, Striped Bass, and certain species of marsh birds.

Unlike the Asian Shore Crab, the Marsh Crab is a native species but their populations are booming. This is due to overfishing of their main predators and is causing some dire effects to the salt marsh ecosystems. The cordgrass is being ravished by a large number of crabs; and in effect, the marshes that are usually held together by the grass, are eroding away. Then you can add rising sea levels to the equation, the salt marsh ecosystems are facing a huge threat of disappearing because the cordgrass can't keep up with the amount of Marsh Crabs consuming it.

Corporate Sponsors

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

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