Dear Alliance Members and Friends:
Deborah Weaver, Executive Director
There is so much happening this summer! We recently held our "Celebration of Oysters" event at Riptide Oysters at Westport Point, and sixty guests enjoyed a beautiful afternoon on the River. Our thanks to Kerian and Kristin Fennelly for hosting the event and for taking the time to describe what oyster farming is all about and how it benefits the River.
Weekly water monitoring of the River is underway, with results published each week on our web page. Our Summer Coastal Ecology Programs are mostly full now, with just a few openings for the younger children. The Salt Marsh Study is continuing, with scientists performing more experiments to refine the data from year one, to help us determine with certainty what is causing the salt marshes in the Westport River to deteriorate.
We still have tickets for our annual
Summer Concert at the Vineyard
, which South Coast Today has called
"one of eight must-see concerts of the summer."
This annual concert, this year called "Blues & Bluegrass," has sold out in each of the previous three years, so don't wait if you want to see Roomful of Blues and Twisted Pine at the beautiful Westport Rivers Vineyard. Reservations are coming in for our
, which will return to the beautiful Charlton Estate on the Harbor on August 10. Details for these events can be found in this newsletter.
Our River Center construction project is going very well, and we hope to be finished in August, and to celebrate with an Open House in September.
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
We are in the home stretch! The utilities are all installed and ready to go, the foam insulation has been blown into the walls and roof, and the interior walls and ceilings are going up. Next steps will include installing the two stairways, the elevator, and
the composing toilets.
The original flooring is still intact on the second floor, and it will be sanded and finished. Interior finish work, including wainscoting and built in desks and shelving, will be built by board member Charley Appleton with yellow pine lumber removed from the old attic.
The first floor will serve as a space for public events, WRWA gatherings, and educational programs, and will feature aquariums displaying the many types of creatures that live in the Westport River.
We have almost met our fundraising goal, and would appreciate your help to get us there! To date, over 250 friends have made gifts, and your gift - in any amount, large or small- will make a difference. Please be a part of this exciting and meaningful project by making a tax-deductible donation to WRWA ∙ PO Box 3427 ∙ Westport, MA 02790. We are grateful for every gift, no matter the size.
The building is scheduled for completion in August, and we are planning for our Open House celebration in September.
Major 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
Is the River Clean Enough for Swimming?
For Answers Check Our Website Weekly
WRWA has been sampling the River to test for fecal coliform bacteria since 1991; monitoring for the presence of bacteria pollution. Bacteria do not generally damage the ecosystem, but can make people sick when they eat tainted seafood, or swim in contaminated water. They are also a marker to identify the possible presence of other pathogens that come from the same fecal sources. (Bacteria in the River comes from human wastewater and domestic and wild animal waste). You can visit our website weekly to see water testing results for the Westport River. Go to:
Water quality testing results for local public beaches can be found on the state's website:
The laboratory tests are done by the City of New Bedford Health Department Lab. WRWA's collection and analysis of samples has been utilized by the town and state agencies to document bacterial contamination in the river. WRWA's data is not used to open and close shellfish areas, this sampling is done by the
State Division of Marine Fisheries
Many of the most common pollutants come from two sources: humans and animals. Human fecal matter in water bodies constitutes the greatest public health threat because humans are reservoirs for many bacteria, parasites, and viruses that are dangerous to other humans and can cause a variety of illnesses.
Bacteria/pathogen pollution is transported to the river primarily by rainfall and resultant runoff. The amount, duration, intensity, and time span between rain events are factors that influence fecal coliform levels in the river.
Cockeast Pond Oysters
Make Their Way to East Branch
In mid-June, students from the Coastal Systems Program at UMASS Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) removed the biggest oysters from Cockeast Pond (1.5-2").
The oysters were grown in Cockeast Pond, as part of a project funded by a grant from the US EPA Southeast New England Program for Coastal Watershed Restoration (SNEP). WRWA is a partner in this study which is quantifying the effects of oysters on nitrogen cycling in the pond. Once the oysters reach market size they must be removed from the pond, which is closed to shellfishing. These oysters were transplanted to a contaminated relay site in the Westport River (near Hix Bridge) by Chris Leonard, Westport Director of Marine Services and his volunteers. Over 200,000 oysters were donated to the Town and transplanted.
The oysters are being relocated to areas of the River that have historically had large oyster beds.
Oysters can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day. An oyster reef can shelter hundreds of other species, so they dramatically add to biodiversity. Oysters also sequester nitrogen, thus providing ecosystem services in so many ways. The project funded by the SNEP grant has provided a multitude of research opportunities as well as ecological and economic benefits, using locally grown oysters as the tool.
Harbormaster Chris Leonard pours the young oysters into the River near Hix Bridge.
Pictured here with Shellfish Advisory Board Chair John Borden and volunteer Jay White.
Salt Marsh Degradation Study Continues
Roberta Carvalho, Science Director
This summer WRWA will again partner with researchers from the University of Connecticut and Providence College to further experimentally test several potential factors that could be affecting salt marsh loss in the Westport River. This will be the second year of the salt marsh study.
The study will be comprised of several components including finishing the biological testing and lab work on the salt marsh grass/sites from last year, performing analysis on roughly 80 core samples taken last year and new samples that will be taken this year, looking at sedimentation deposition rates and several other parameters. We hope to provide updates on their ongoing work.
|Patrick Ewanchuk, of Providence College, takes core samples of marsh in the Westport River.
Registration is Open for Two
Summer Coastal Ecology Programs
Most of our summer programs are full now, but we still have a few openings for Coastal Explorers and River Rats.
*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,
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.
A Beautiful Day to Celebrate Oysters
Sixty oyster enthusiasts joined WRWA on June 8 for a "Celebration of Oysters," hosted by Kerian & Kristin Fennelly at Westport Sea Farms on Westport Point. Guests learned how oysters promote the health of the river while enjoying some freshly harvested oysters.
60 guests enjoyed a beautiful afternoon at the Point.
Riptide Oysters provided 400 Beach Plum, Riptide, Spindrift and Taber Point oysters. Beer and wine were provided by Westport Rivers Winery and Buzzards Bay Brewery.
Westport Sea Farms posted on Facebook: "Thank you to the Westport River Watershed Alliance. Your mission is our mission. Let's continue to protect and enjoy our river.
Thank you to everyone who came and enjoyed such a friendly event. We look forward to next year."
Win This 11' Paddle Board
Tickets will be on sale at the Summer Concert July 13
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.