A healthy watershed where people, wildlife and the River thrive
Dear Alliance Members and Friends: 
Deborah Weaver, Executive Director
We are off to a running start in 2019!  Here is a snapshot of all that is going on at the Watershed Alliance:

Work is underway on our new River Center at the Head of Westport.  We are seeing daily progress as workers transform the old Head Garage into a good looking, energy efficient and practical new building which will be our new headquarters and learning center.  We will be updating you regularly on our progress.

Our sixth annual winter art show, Oars & Paddles, is now running at the Dedee Shattuck Gallery.  Nearly 50 local artists have transformed old oars and paddles into striking works of art.  The show is free and open to the public, and runs until March 9 when we will have the reception and silent auction of the art work.  Open daily, noon - 4 p.m., closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Our popular Brushes & Brews art instruction event is now full!  

Salt Marsh Study scientists will present their findings from their experiments and observations regarding salt marsh degradation in the Westport River at our annual meeting on March 17.  

It's time again for our annual calendar photo contest!  The deadline for submissions is May 1st - details are in this newsletter.

Our Commonwealth Corps educators are helping Shelli enhance our school education programs.

Looking ahead, we will be hosting our twice-annual electronics recycling days in April and will be scouring the beach for trash and debris for our spring beach clean-up.  We look forward to our fourth annual summer concert at Westport Rivers in July, "Blues & Bluegrass,"  featuring Roomful of Blues and Twisted Pine.  Tickets are on sale now.

Thanks for all  your support, and look for details on all of our events in our monthly River News

Best wishes,
   River Center Construction Update

Demolition workers removing all the old shingles from the building.

The past few weeks of our River Center construction project have included demolition, masonry, and installation of drains for roof storm water runoff.

Fortunately, the ground has not seen deep frost. Ins spite of several days well below freezing and occasional snow, work has proceeded with little interruption.

The demolition team removed sheetrock and insulation from the first floor ceiling, before turning to removal of exterior shingles and windows.  

Excavators dug and installed drains designed to direct roof run-off to a system that will slow its pathway to the River. With no functioning gutters or downspouts for years, the building shed water that has run freely into the River, causing erosion and large puddles along the way.

Masons resized the  front entrance, adding granite to match existing facade that dates back to the early 1800's.

A demolition team removed all wooden shingles and old windows. New cedar shingles will be installed over insulation panels.

Carbon-fiber material, stronger than steel, has been epoxied to the corners of the first floor concrete block walls to increase stability against high winds and extreme flooding. After pouring a concrete floor, contractors will begin work on the interior framing and insulation. 

Activities upcoming:  Removing the roof structure, installing structural steel, framing and shingling the new roof and dormers, installing new windows and pouring the first level concrete slab floor.

We will keep you updated as the project progresses. Thank you for all your support and encouragement!

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. 
Oars & Paddles Show is Open

Preview the art show at www.westportwatershed.org

The Brushes and Brews Art Event is Full

Salt Marsh Study Scientists Will Present at
WRWA Annual Meeting March 17

Please join us for our Annual Meeting on Sunday, March 17, 2019 at the Bittersweet Restaurant,
438 Main Road, Westport. Brunch begins at 11:00 a.m., followed by our business meeting at noon. 

Our guest speakers will be Patrick Ewanchuk, PhD, and Catherine Matassa, PhD., the two environmental scientists currently conducting our study on Salt Marsh Degradation in the  
Westport River.

There is a  $25 fee for brunch, to be paid in advance or at the door. Please R SVP on line  or by calling our office at 508-636-3016 so that we can give  the restaurant a head count for brunch.

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.

Photo taken in 2018 shows salt marsh degradation near the Harbor

Ospreys Get A New Home on Richmond Pond

Children helped build osprey nest platforms at River Day last year
One of the children's activities at the Westport River Watershed Alliance Riv e r Day last year was  constructing Osprey Nest Platforms. This was in response to the toll that the previous winter storms had taken on the many platforms in the Westport River, as reported by the staff at Mass Audubon's Allens Pond Sanctuary. 

The platforms were designed by Westport residents Dick Manchester and Charley Appleton, and constructed by them with help from volunteers. Some of the children who helped out eagerly signed their names to the wooden structures.

Subsequently, the Borden family of Westport purchased one of the finished platforms at the WRWA's annual Summer Gala, and then asked where the unit could be put where the birds could make a new home.

Westport Land Conservation Trust installed the new nest platform on their newly conserved wildlife sanctuary.

WRWA contacted the Westport Land Conservation Trust (WLCT), who knew just the right place. They installed the platform at their newly conserved wildlife sanctuary near Richmond Pond, and just in time for the ospreys' annual return to the River early in March.

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 BayCoast Bank to fund this position with preference given to  students at  Bristol Community College  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:

Call for entries!
 2020 WRWA Calendar Photo Contest
WRWA announces 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 outreach@wrwa.com.

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 www.westportwatershed.org.

Questions about criteria and image submissions can be emailed to Steve Connors at outreach@wrwa.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.

The Coastal Explorers Ages 7-9. 
*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
$180 for WRWA members, $220 for non-members.

River Edventures - Ages 9-11.
*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
$200 for members and $240 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 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  $370 for members and $410 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
$10 members, $12 Non-members.

Register online at: www.westportwatershed.org/education/summer-programs/   or call 508-636-3016.

SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE through the Gay Gillespie Summer Scholarship Fund  -
contact Shelli - wep@wrwa.com

See the full brochure on our web page.

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.
Corporate Sponsors

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

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