Dear Alliance Members and Friends:
Deborah Weaver, Executive Director
Here comes summer! This is our busiest season at WRWA. Our summer education programs will soon be in full swing, and our weekly water quality monitoring will begin in just a few weeks. Our boat is all prepared for another season and will soon be back in the River at Tripp's Boatyard.
Tickets are selling for our annual
Summer Concert at the Vineyard, which South Coast Today has called "one of eight must-see concerts of the summer," and reservations are coming in for our
Summer Gala, which will return to the beautiful Charlton Estate on the Harbor. We have added a new event for the summer, a
Celebration of Oysters to take place in early June. Details for all these events can be found in this newsletter.
As we have already reported, we will not be hosting our River Day Festival as usual this year because of all the construction activity at the Head of Westport, and our own moving to the new River Center this summer. The building renovation is going very well, and we hope to be finished in just a few months and to celebrate with an Open House in the Fall.
Thank you to all our loyal members who have renewed membership during our recent drive. If you haven't had a chance to renew yet, or if you would like to become a new member, you can do so by visiting our web page at
, or by sending your contribution to PO Box 3427,
I look forward to seeing you this summer!
River Center Construction
In spite of bad weather, workers have accomplished a lot this month. The first level concrete floor is in place; carpenters competed interior framing; and electricians installed wire to connection boxes for switches, signs, sensors, outlets, communication equipment, lighting, technology, security and safety.
Carpenters installed most of the trim for roofing, windows and doors.
To provide upper level access while permanent stairways are being constructed off site, carpenters installed a temporary stairway at the building's northwest corner. Board member Charley Appleton is processing and refinishing lumber salvaged from third floor demolition for use as he creates built-in furniture and interior trim material.
Next up-plumbers will install water and drain lines for the bathroom, kitchen and utility sinks. HVAC ductwork will soon be installed. Once rough utility work is complete and inspected, foam insulation will be blown into exterior walls. Shortly thereafter ceilings and walls will be sheathed and plastered.
Plumbing, heat/cooling system, foam insulation for walls and roof, exterior cedar shingles, interior drywall for walls and ceilings.
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.
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
Westport River Watershed Alliance
Merit Award Winner Announced
The Westport River Watershed Alliance offers a $1,000 merit award for graduating
seniors living in the watershed. WRWA has a proud 40-year record of environmental stewardship. Th
e merit award offers an opportunity for WRWA to honor a student who has demonstrated commitment to protect our watershed environment.
This year's merit award winner, Julianna Martin, is senior from the north part of the watershed, East Freetown. Ju
lianna currently attends Apponequet Regional High School and she plans to attend the University of New Hampshire in the fall as a marine biology major.
Julianna is passionate about learning about animals and their behavior. She is interested in studying how to come up with solutions to support sustainable ecosystems. In Julianna's essay she wrote, "Protecting watersheds is extremely important because, although sources of p
ollution may not be directly in contact with a body of water, it still drains to these places. The pollution in these water bodies affects more than just fresh water ecosystems that are homes for aquatic life- it also affects the resources that we use for drinking water, recreational activities and even our well water."
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.
Our ongoing Salt Marsh Study with scientists from UCONN and Providence College was recently featured in a news story on Providence's ABC 6 News. Reporter Tim Studebaker interviewed Deborah Weaver and board member Katharine Rosenfeld who talked about the issue for the evening news.
|WRWA Board Member Katharine Rosenfeld explains the issue of salt marsh degradation to reporter Tim Studebaker of ABC 6 News.
Studies in Cockeast Pond
Spring 2019 Oyster Project Update
Roberta Carvalho, Science Director
The Westport River Watershed Alli
ce (WRWA) is working with the Coastal Systems Program (CSP) UMass Dartmouth (SMAST) on a proje
ct funded by a grant from the US EPA Southeast New England Program for Coastal Watershe
Restoration. The UMass Dartmouth initiative, led by Dr. Brian Howes from the Coastal Systems Program, utilizes Cockeast Pond as a natur
al laboratory to measure how oysters improve water clarity and potentially reduce elevated nitrogen levels which destroy fish and other marine wildlife habitats.
Over the past two ye
ars 500,000 oysters have been placed in floating bags/cages in Cockeast Pond. The project is using oysters grown by Westport's own
. This spring a survival/mortality check was done to see how the oysters survived over the winter. The survival rates looked good for the oysters so far this spring.
This is the third summer of work in the four year grant project. This summer the experiments with
oysters will be more concentrated (on a smaller scale) so the footprint of the floating gear will be smaller.
Bonus for the Town and the River
Some oysters are getting large. One of the conditions in the permit is to remove the oysters that are large enough to be considered market size. This is a safety precaution so that no one will be tempted to use the oysters for consumption. So as the oysters grow and approach market size, they will be given to the Town of Westport Marine Services Director to be distributed in the river to help establish oyster populations and habitat. Over 90,000 are ready to be transferred into the River. The added benefits of transferring the oysters are numerous. An oyster can filter 30 gallons of water per day. An oyster reef can shelter up to 100 other species so they dramatically add to biodiversity. Oysters also sequester nitrogen. Oyster shells contain calcium carbonate a known buffer that can help offset ocean acidification. Oysters provide a multitude of ecological services.
Why Do the Study? - More Information
This research on oysters may help decision makers and citizens across the southeastern Massachusetts region understand the role of oyster reefs as natural capital, thus opening the door to greater investments in nature-based restoration techniques. This is more than just revitalizing an industry, it is the inherent ecological values of the oysters, including improving water quality and protecting shorelines we promote while also maintaining the unique cultural dimension of the region.
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
Summer Gala Returning to Charlton Estate
WRWA's annual Summer Gala will take place at the former Charlton Estate at the end of River Road, overlooking the ocean and the Harbor.
Often referred to as "the best party in Westport," the Gala will take place on Saturday, August 10, from 5 to 8 p.m.
The event features great food, live music, and a remarkable and diverse silent auction.
Tickets on sale now, $100 for members, $120 for non-members.
Photo Contest Winners Chosen
We received nearly one hundred submissions for our 2020 Calendar photo contest, and like every year, our judges had to make some hard choices. The winning photographs display an artistic view of the beauty, wildlife and activities in our watershed.
The winners are: Kim Brittain, Rich Castenson, Jill Dahill Flanagan, Mark Goulding, Joanne Humphrey, Brian Mullaney, Norma Pineault, Greg Stone, Betsy Szel, Amelia Tripp and Michael Wrightingon.
The 2020 Calendar will feature the photos, as well as daily tide graphs for the Westport River. They will be available in the Fall.
Welcome Summer Interns
Andi Bickford and Bailey Sweet
Each summer, WRWA hires local students to assist with our education programs. A generous grant from
has enabled WRWA to bring two interns on board again this summer - highly qualified students who study in the local area: Bailey Sweet and Andrea Bickford.
Bailey Sweet just finished her junior year at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She is enrolled in their Psychology program, while minoring in Sustainability. She also plans to obtain her Masters in Sustainability. She's been an acting senator on the UMD student government, representing the commuter population (she's a Marion resident). Bailey is also the chair of the Green Fee Allocation Committee. GreenFee is a group that funds sustainable projects on campus. She feels it is important to educate her community because the environment is directly impacted by our actions. She is passionate about making a difference. The WRWA Internship program is an ideal opportunity to not only learn from her like minded co-workers, but it also allows for complete immersion in her passion. She is looking forward to spending another summer working with WRWA.
Andrea, also known as Andi, is a junior studying biology and sustainability at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Originally from Winchendon MA, Andrea moved to Dartmouth to study marine life and explore the local coastal ecosystems. Inspired by her childhood role models, Steve Irwin and Jane Goodall, she dreams of becoming a conservation biologist to help protect our natural resources. Andrea previously completed two internships at the Buttonwood Park Zoo, where she worked in education and animal care. She hopes to continue to educate the public about the importance of wildlife conservation while interning at the WRWA.
BayCoast Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Nicholas Christ said, "The internships offered by the WRWA give students a unique opportunity to forge connections between their academics and the real world. It's an invaluable experience that merges hands-on learning with career exploration. We are proud to once again support the WRWA and its educational programs."
No River Day This Year
WRWA Will Host A Fall Open House at River Center 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 fall Open House, planned for September 28th, 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.
We will be publishing a commemorative booklet for the event, featuring the history and chronology of the renovation of the old Head Garage into WRWA's new River Center. Businesses or individuals interested in purchasing an ad or listing for the booklet can get information by sending an email to email@example.com, or calling 508-636-3016.
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.