WRWA River News for March, 2017
River News - March, 2017
George Heufelder
WRWA Annual Meeting
March 26 at Bittersweet Farm Restaurant
George Heufelder will be guest speaker
Join The Westport River Watershed Alliance for its
Annual Meeting on Sunday, March 26 at
Bittersweet Farm, Main Road, Westport, MA.
A Brunch ($20 per person) starts at 11:30 a.m.
The free annual meeting will begin promptly at 12:30 p.m.
The Annual Meeting agenda includes:

♦ Reports on 2016 WRWA activities, initiatives ,
     accomplishments and finances,
♦ Introduction and election of new directors,
♦ Recognitions and presentation of annual awards,
♦ Annual Keynote address.

This year's guest speaker is GEORGE HEUFELDER, Director of the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center at Barnstable County's Department of Health and Environment. George was instrumental in founding the Test Center and initiating its first-of-a-kind electronic performance tracking service for alternative onsite septic systems. His research interests focus on elimination and abatement of nitrogen, phosphorus and contaminants of emerging concern (CEC) using on-site alternative systems technology.

To help us plan for head count and food preparation, please RSVP to outreach@wrwa.com, or call 508-636-3016 by 3/23. You may register to attend and pre-pay the $20 brunch fee on-line at http://westportwatershed.org/. You are also welcome to pay at the door March 26th.


Oars and Paddles Winter Art Show Was A Success 
Our fourth annual Winter Art Show took place during the week of February 25 - March 4 at the Dedee Shattuck Gallery in Westport. We had 45 entries from local artists who created a wonderful array of designs and inspired art work, transforming the oars with remarkable creativity. Thanks to all of you who attended and contributed. Special thanks to Dedee Shattuck Gallery for letting us use their beautiful space.

Full House for Brushes & Brews







Barbara Healy and Pam Clarkson
hosted a fun evening of painting,
pizza and beer at the
Dedee Shattuck Gallery February 25.


Thanks to the art instructors and
participants for a great time!







From left: WRWA President Tom Schmitt, WRWA Director Deborah Weaver, BayCoast Manager Gina Palmer, WRWA Development Director Gay Gillespie
BayCoast Bank Contributes $25,000 to WRWA
River Center Campaign

BayCoast Bank has presented the Westport River Watershed Alliance (WRWA) with a $25,000 grant in support of the River Center project. This grant is the first towards the bank's generous 3-year pledge of $75,000. "This gift from BayCoast will be publically recognized on the River Center's Outdoor Rear Deck where their name and logo will be visible. This is a lovely spot with an iconic view of the head of the river," says WRWA Executive Director Deborah Weaver. WRWA hopes to begin renovations on the old Head Garage later this year, to transform the neglected structure on the River into a new headquarters and educational resource center. BayCoast's generosity is stimulated by the Community Reinvestment Act that encourages banks to reinvest in their local communities.

The Watershed Alliance has been meeting with various Town boards and committees over the last two years to obtain all the permits necessary to make the alterations to the building and the riverfront property. The plans have been carefully crafted to help preserve and improve the site.

"Education continues to be one major focus of our community giving program. Partnering with WRWA in their campaign to create a new headquarters and educational center allows BayCoast Bank the opportunity to increase access to educational programs centered on our beautiful local environment and its continued preservation," explained Nicholas M. Christ, President and CEO of BayCoast Bank.

The Capital Campaign has been led by WRWA Development Director Gay Gillespie. "For years, BayCoast Bank has enthusiastically supported our two college interns who work with WRWA's Education Director presenting summer environmental education programs. Their additional commitment to the River Center project is fantastic especially knowing they believe in our mission and vision."

At this time WRWA is pleased to report that with BayCoast's generous grant, Community Preservation Funds, the prestigious MA Cultural Facilities Fund grant, private gifts and pledges we have raised $1,596,438 towards our $2,000,000 goal. With permits and construction documents almost completed, and a contractor selected, WRWA anticipates having a shovel in the ground in the fall, with a completion date of June 2018, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the 2018 River Day Festival.
Electronics Recycling Day ♦ Wednesday, April 19

WRWA will host another in a series of Electronics Recycling drop off events on Wednesday, April 19, 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, 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 household appliances.

Not accepted:   light bulbs, furniture or any hazardous materials such as paint and broken TV tubes.
For more information, give us a call at 508-636-3016.
The scene at one of last year's Electronics Recycling Days
Volunteer Baywatchers Needed for the Westport River 
by Roberta Carvalho

Every year we work with the Buzzards Bay Coaltion to test the Westport River's ecological health. This is done with the 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.  

Please contact Roberta Carvalho (water@wrwa.com) if you would like to help with testing. Training is in May and testing starts at the end of the month and runs through the summer. We need help testing at Westport Point, Cummings Lane and Charlton's Wharf. Once properly trained the Baywatcher will then monitor one site once a week for about 40 minutes, sometime between 6:00-9:00 A.M. from May through September. The site will be monitored for basic parameters such as 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/ 

Announcing 2018 Calendar Photo Contest
Deadline for image submission: May 1

WRWA announces the traditional photo contest for the 2018 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 on our website: 
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  

The Westport River Watershed Alliance is again offering a variety of fun, hands-on summer science program for kids ages 3-16.

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. 
: $10 members/ $12 nonmembers 
♦ 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.  
♦ Monday- Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  
♦ Weeks of July 10-14 & July July 24-28. 
Children discover marine life, create eco-crafts, learn about coastal habitats 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 17-21 and July 31-August4.
This program delves deeper into understanding our environment by learning about food chains and the creatures that make up our watershed ecosystem.  Participants will head out on WRWA's skiff to explore the Westport River.
The cost is $190 for members and $230 for non-members.   
Watershed Explorers - Ages 12-16. 
♦ Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
♦ Week of August 7-11. 
Participants learn about the ecology of the Westport River, visit coastal
habitats and spend three days paddling on the Westport River.  The kayaking/paddle
boarding portion of the program is led by certified instructors from Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures, and includes all equipment and instruction. 
The fee is $360 for members and $400 for non-members.

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

Summer Internships at WRWA
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: wep@wrwa.com.

Salt Marsh Deterioration
Video can be viewed on-line

Professor Mark Bertness of Brown University delivered a very interesting lecture on Salt Marsh Degradation on March 2nd. A complete video of the 90-minute talk can be viewed on-line at https://youtu.be/fWiKEwjp1cw .

Salt marshes on the Westport River are deteriorating. 
The Purple Marsh Crab might have something to do with it.

Do you have a lawn? 
Linking Lawns & Water Quality

Do you have a lawn and live in Southeast Massachusetts or Rhode Island? If so, please participate in an online survey about lawn care management and water quality! This survey is being conducted by researchers at the University of Rhode Island. The research, funded by the National Science Foundation, relies heavily on the participation of people like you-and they need your input!

Please take the time to  complete their survey before  March 31. You'll even receive $2 in Amazon credit for your participation! For questions or more information, please contact  Emi Uchida at URI's Department of Environment and Natural Resource Economics.
To access the click this link:   goo.gl/Jr5hBm
Creature Feature ♦ Rock Dove ( Columba livia )
Lauren Arruda, Commonwealth Corps Educator

The rock dove, or pigeon, is a small, plump-bodied bird that typically can be found wandering along city streets in large groups, picking food off the ground. As the name may suggest, the rock dove is closely related to another common species, the Mourning dove.

Introduced to America in the early 1600s, the rock dove has become a common feature in cities across the globe. This particular dove is well-known for its varying plumage, though most have a small patch of iridescent feathers on the throat. Despite being considered a pest species by many, rock doves are rather intelligent. They have incredible sense of direction, and can find their way home even if released from a long distance away. More incredibly, they can still find their way home, even if they were blindfolded on the way to the release site. Because of this special skill, rock doves have been used for a variety of purposes, including message delivery to US soldiers in the field during World Wars I and II.
Human-rock pigeon interaction may go as far back 5,000 years ago, as Egyptian hieroglyphics depict pigeons being used for various purposes. Charles Darwin also kept pigeons for many years, observing the differences in captive and wild pigeons to better understand evolution. Even today, some people still keep pigeons as pets, fascinated by their uncanny ability to always find their way home.


Community Shred Day

Are you buried in old paperwork?  Confused about how long to keep certain records? The Parish Life and Outreach Committees of St. Andrew by the Sea and the Congregational Church in Little Compton have a solution.


They will be sponsoring a community-wide SHRED DAY.  A truck will come, workers will load the old files into a chamber on the truck and shred them into confetti. 

When: Saturday, April 22 ♦ 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: St. Andrew's By the Sea parking lot
Cost:  Donation of $5.00 per box (size of a case of copy paper).


WRWA is publishing this information as a community service, and is not directly involved in this event. 

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

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