Here's what's happening at WRWA this month
Guest Speaker Jeremy Grantham Delivers Powerful
Presentation at WRWA Annual Meeting
WRWA held its Annual Meeting on Sunday, March 4, 2018 at the Bittersweet Restaurant.
This year's guest speaker was 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, entitled, "Race of Our Lives: Trying to Live Successfully with Climate Change," can be viewed via this link.  We highly recommend that anyone concerned with this issue watch the video.  Mr. Grantham's unique perspective as an investor and capitalist sheds a new and possibly hopeful light on our situation.
The Grantham Foundation'
WRWA Executive Director Deborah Weaver, Jeremy Grantham,
and WRWA Board President Tom Schmitt
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.

The Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Evelyn Wilber. Evelyn helps out at all WRWA events, helps with the monthly River News, and is basically on call whenever needed.  She always shows up ready to help and with a smile!
Educator of the Year award was given to Julie Morotti, third grade teacher in the Westport Schools.   For over 10 years Julie has been wonderful at coordinating the bird science program for 3rd grade students at Westport Elementary School. She has helped the Watershed Alliance teach science concepts through the exciting world of our local birds. This year she even went above and beyond in assisting with the program to release a rehabilitated Red-tailed Hawk for the students to witness.
We can't thank Julie enough for your commitment to the Watershed Education Programs. We couldn't see so many students without the help of teachers like her.
Deborah Weaver with Volunteer of the Year
Evelyn Wilber

Educator of the Year Julie Morotti with WRWA
Education Director Shelli Costa


Important Approval Needed for Local Water Quality Planning at May 2018 Town Meeting 
Roberta Carvalho, WRWA Science Director
After years of testing and analysis, the Town of Westport has finally arrived at the threshold of determining how best to address the long-term problems affecting the Westport River. Many years of work done by WRWA and partner groups are finally coming together to help the Town identify the most effective and least costly means for improving water quality throughout the watershed.

We know 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 prepared by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) sets targets for the maximum load of nitrogen the river can receive to restore it to a healthy and productive estuary.

The Town has applied for, and the DEP has approved, funding to hire consultants to carry out a Targeted-Integrated Water Resource Management Plan (TIWMP) for the East Branch of the Westport River in the coming year that will address not only the nutrient problems but also the other water quality pollution issues (stormwater and drinking water). These three types of water pollution problems are being addressed by an integrated plan because they are connected and can better be solved with integrated solutions.

Town Meeting will be asked to approve the 2% loan of $150,000 for funding of this planning project. The goal is to select a consulting firm and start the planning process by the beginning of the summer. The plan will evaluate the most promising combination of methods for wastewater, drinking and stormwater treatment as well as other practices to reduce nitrogen loading impacts. 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 a needs assessment, evaluation of alternative physical and policy solutions, analysis of alternative approaches to financing and cost sharing, preliminary engineering designs for some physical structures, and a public engagement process to obtain the community's input and participation in the design and implementation of the plan.
This is an exceptional opportunity with a low cost loan to help the Town figure out how to most efficiently restore the health of the Westport River.  We recommend that Westport residents approve this at the upcoming Town Meeting.

Oars and Paddles Art Show a Big Hit at Shattuck Gallery
An estimated 500 guests viewed the Oars & Paddles art show at the Dedee Shattuck Gallery over the two-week period from February 24 through March 10. Fifty-two oars by forty-six artists were on display.
This was WRWA's fifth annual Winter Art Show, at the Dedee Shattuck Gallery.
Our group of contributing artists will be gathering soon to discuss ideas for next year's show.  Anyone interested in participating can contact us at
 Program books from the show are available at our office.

At left, artist Perrin Gardent with high bidder Nancy Culpepper, with his creation entitled, No Bones About It.
Special thanks to all the volunteers who helped make the show a success, and to Bill and Dedee Shattuck, for allowing us to use their beautiful gallery space.

At right, artist David Formanek describes his Jingle Shell Stick oar to high bidder Llana Offenberger. David created this musical instrument with hundreds of Jingle Shells collected on local beaches over several years.

WRWA has been partnering with IndieCycle for several years now, 
with electronics drop-off days in the spring and fall. 
Since 2015, 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.
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. 
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:  
Announcing 2019 Calendar Photo Contest
Deadline for image submission: May 1

WRWA announces the traditional photo contest for the 2019 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 
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 ♦ Blue Crab 
( Callinectes sapidus)
Victoria Quennessen, Commonwealth Corps Educator  

You might have seen these creatures swimming in the Westport River or steamed up on a dinner plate, or found one of their shells on the beach. They live all along the Atlantic coast, from Nova Scotia in Canada to Uruguay in South America, and west around the Gulf of Mexico.

You can easily identify blue crabs by their striking blue claws, after which they are named. Their back legs, called swimmerets, are flat and wide like paddles to help them swim. Its scientific name is actually Latin for "savory, beautiful swimmer," a reference to both its flavor and graceful movement.

You'll notice the shell, which can reach up to nine inches across, is a muddy olive color and pinched to a point on both sides. If you find a crab whose pincers are tipped a bright red color, it's a female. If it's late summer, it might also carry over two million eggs in a bright orange mass under its belly.  

These decapods, or ten-legged critters, are not picky eaters. They eat anything they can find on the ocean floor, dead or alive. This includes shellfish like clams, mussels, and oysters; worms; small fish; plants; and small crabs, including younger blue crabs. They will also feast on non-native green crabs, and, with a healthy population, blue crabs can keep these invasive pests under control.

However, blue crabs are heavily harvested for their tasty meat. Moreover, they need cold water and high oxygen levels, and are very sensitive to changes in the environment. Therefore, warming waters due to climate change and low oxygen levels due to nutrient pollution have caused populations in Rhode Island and Massachusetts to decrease.

If you see one walking along the beach, don't get too close, since they've got a nasty pinch! If you want to help protect these beautiful crabs, make sure to take your trash with you when you leave the beach, and take pictures instead of bringing home natural resources, like flowers or shells.


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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