Dear Alliance Members and Friends:
Deborah Weaver, Executive Director
WRWA's new headquarters, the old Head Garage on Old County Road is finally under construction. Located in the "heart" of our watershed, the River Center will be a welcoming and engaging destination where the entire community and visitors can learn firsthand about our natural resources.
Although project planning and preparation has taken longer than predicted, our fundraising effort is almost finished.
We are thrilled to announce that five board members have collectively committed to $100,000 as a 1:1 match opportunity. As a challenge to you and other members of the WRWA community, until July 1, 2019, your contribution to the River Center project will be matched dollar for dollar!
At this time we have heard from a number of you, and we especially want to recognize two special gifts - one from the Chardon Family Charitable Fund in memory of Alain J. Chardon who loved Westport and the River; and another from the Bergland Family honoring Dr. John M. Bergland.
Please consider making a one-time gift towards our goal. We welcome gifts at all levels. The River Center will transform not only the Head of Westport neighborhood, but also WRWA and the watershed community! We hope you will participate in this collective renewal.
You are the foundation of our work to protect the River, and we are grateful for your generous support. We need your help to get us moved into the new
Working together to protect and
preserve the Westport River Watershed
now and for future generations
Donations can also be mailed to:
WRWA ∙ PO Box 3427 ∙ Westport, MA 02790
River Center Construction Update
We have seen some dramatic changes at the River Center construction over the last three weeks.
The demolition crew completed their work, stripping shingles, and removing the entire roof and third floor. Much of the old wood was saved to be re-used for interior finishing.
With the roof removed, steel workers lowered five steel upright supports and a new beam to carry the weight of the third floor and new roof. Two of the beams are for the elevator, which will be installed for handicap access to the upper floors.
The ground floor has been filled with gravel to raise the grade for the concrete floor that will be poured later. The f
raming crew have begun framing the third floor, and soon will build a new roof with dormers. Once the new roof is covered, interior work will move at an accelerated pace.
||New steel beams installed
Framing the upper building structure including roof and third floor. Replacing windows, pouring concrete slab floor. Soon the new siding will be installed, including cedar shingles.
|Ground floor leveled and filled with gravel
Some funding for the River Center has been provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, a program of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, administered through a collaborative arrangement between MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. We have also received Westport Community Preservation funds, as well as significant funding from BayCoast Bank, and many individuals.
Volunteer Baywatchers Needed for the Westport River
Roberta Carvalho, Science Director
Every year we work with the Buzzards Bay Coalition to test the Westport River's ecological health. This is done with the help of volunteers called Baywatchers, who are local residents that love the water and want to do their part to protect it. These "citizen scientists" go out one morning per week in summer to test key aspects of the water's health. Since the program began in 1992, hundreds of local residents have volunteered as Baywatchers, testing the waters of Buzzards Bay and the Westport River.
As part of volunteering, Baywatchers need to:
∙Commit to monitoring at your designated location one morning per week from May to September.
∙Attend a training to learn how to collect water samples. Training at WRWA on May 8, 2019.
∙Follow instructions in the Baywatchers kit to ensure
∙Be comfortable working on docks, piers, beaches, and boat ramps at the wate
Once properly trained, Baywatchers monitor one site once a week. The testing takes about 40 minutes, and is done sometime between 6:00-9:00 A.M. from May through September. The site is monitored for basic parameters: dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, and water clarity.
All data collection and analysis is conducted in accordance with a Quality Assurance Project Plan approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. For more information visit the Buzzards Bay Coalition's website: http://www.savebuzzardsbay.org/about-us/programs-workshops/baywatchers/
Please contact Roberta Carvalho (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to help with testing. We need new volunteers and have 2 sites that need to be sampled (at Cadman's Neck and at Hix Bridge).
Salt Marsh Study Scientists Share Observations
at WRWA Annual Meeting
WRWA held its Annual Meeting for 2019 on Sunday, March 17 at Bittersweet Restaurant. President Tom Schmitt presented the summation of the year's activities and reported the organization is meeting its budgeted goals and is in good fiscal health. He recognized the contributions of Marilyn Packard Luther and her committee, who created WRWA's new strategic plan which will be available on line soon. He also presented an update on the River Center construction.
Outgoing board members are Marilyn Packard Luther and Ed Carey. Incoming members are R. Michael Sullivan, Joop Nagetgaal, Sean Mullaney and Jen Gazdacko. Arthur Parker was re-elected to a new term on the board.
Guest speakers were Patrick Ewanchuk, PhD, and Catherine Matassa, PhD., the two environmental scientists currently conducting our study on Salt Marsh Degradation in the
Patrick Ewanchuk is Associate Professor of Biology at Provi
dence College. Catherine Matassa is Assistant Professor of Marine Science
s at the University of Connecticut. They and their team have been making observations and conducting experiments in the River over the last year to help us determine why we are witnessing the accelerating collapse of salt marshes, particularly in the West Branch and Harbor areas.
The experiments and measurements have been designed to help determine why marsh loss is greater in the lower river near the harbor than found further up river, especially in the East Branch. They focused on how variables such as nitrogen, water currents, marsh compaction and sedimentation affect the root structure of the spartina grass that holds the peat material of the marsh together.
A video of their presentation of preliminary observations and findings will be available soon for viewing by clicking the link on our web page: www.westportwatershed.org.
|Catherine Matassa, WRWA Science Director Roberta Carvalho, and Patrick Ewanchuk
Debby King Receives Volunteer of the Year Award
This year's volunteer of the year award was presented to Debby King of Westport. Debby helps out at all WRWA events, and was especially recognized for helping with the beautiful flower arrangements at last year's Summer Gala.
Debby also helps with our monthly River News mailing with folding and stuffing, which is a time-consuming task. Thanks to Debby also for helping to tally the monthly Lees receipts, something that requires a lot of patience!
We are grateful to all our volunteers, who help out with education and water quality monitoring, and with events like Oars & Paddles, Electronics Recycling, the Beach Clean-Ups, Summer Concert, River Day and the Gala.
Thank you, Debby!
Oars & Paddles Show Was A Big Hit
The Oars & Paddles art show was a big success, with nearly 500 people coming to view the show for the two weeks it ran at the
Dedee Shattuck Gallery.
Special thanks to the forty-five regional artists who created the beautiful art work on the old oars and paddles. We will be hosting an artists' meeting in April to discuss ideas for next year's winter art show.
Participants in our Brushes and Brews art instruction event show off their finished paintings. The class was held at the Dedee Shattuck Gallery, with expert lessons provided by Barbara Healy and Pam Clarkson.
Electronics Recycling Day Will Be Wednesday, April 24
WRWA will host another in a series of Electronics Recycling drop off events on Wednesday, April 24,
from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Westport Town Hall parking area.
IndieCycle of Rhode Island will be filling their trucks again, accepting the following items:
A $10 DISPOSAL FEE
APPLIES for all TVs & Monitors, mini-fridges, air conditioners, printers, dehumidifiers and other coolant containing appliances.
ITEMS ACCEPTED AT NO CHARGE:
Computers, laptops, PDA's, cell phones, mice, keyboards, printers, toner cartridges, CD/DVD players, radios, network equipment, wires, stereos, speakers, telephones, VHS tapes, microwaves, small
Light bulbs, furniture or any hazardous materials such as paint and broken TV tubes.
WRWA has been partnering with IndieCycle for several years now, with electronics drop-off days in the spring and fall. So far, more than 25,000 pounds of old equipment have been recycled. All
materials are re-used. All information and data on old drives is deleted.
Residents of neighboring towns are welcome.
Changes in River Day Plan this Year
Making Plans for Fall Open House Instead
The Westport River Watershed Alliance is not going to hold the traditional River Day in June 2019. Due to the ongoing construction of both the River Center and the new school on Old County Road, and as WRWA prepares to relocate to our new office at the Head of Westport in the summer, it was determined that this year energies should be put into a Fall Open House instead, to introduce the community to the newly restored River Center.
The transformation of the historic Head Garage to the WRWA River Center is well underway, with completion expected in early summer.
The date has not yet been finalized, but the fall Open House will integrate some of the River Day Activities for children while providing the public a chance to experience the new headquarters. There will be live music and tours of the building, with refreshments and activities for children.
River Day will resume in June 2020, when the Alliance has fully relocated.
WRWA Seeking One Qualified Candidate
To Fill Summer Internship Position
The summer intern position is 30 hrs/week at a rate of $12/ 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
to fund this position with preference given to
Bristol Community College
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:
2020 WRWA Calendar Photo Contest
Deadline for Entries is May 1
WRWA is accepting submissions for the traditional photo contest for the 2020 calendar. We are looking for 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
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 email@example.com 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.
*Monday- Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
*Weeks of July 8-12 & July 22-26
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
for WRWA members,
*Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
*Weeks of July 15-19 and August 5-9.
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
for members and
*Monday - Thursday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
*Week of July 29 - August 2.
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
for members and
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.
*August 13-15, August 20-22
Register online at:
or call 508-636-3016.
SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE through the Gay Gillespie Summer Scholarship Fund
contact Shelli - firstname.lastname@example.org
Your contributions support our
science and education programs
and help us to fulfill our mission:
Working together to protect and
preserve the Westport River Watershed
now and for future generations
Please save us your Lees receipts
WRWA is happy to be a Lees Market Community Partner member. 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 2019 Corporate Sponsors
Please note that each of the logos for our generous corporate sponsors is an active link to their web page.