Here's what's happening at WRWA this month
Dear WRWA Members and Friends:

For more than 42 years the WRWA has championed our River's health and that of the 100 square mile watershed that surrounds it. This has been our sole focus for all these years. We ask you to support our Annual Fund Drive so we can continue this important work. This magnificent but fragile estuary is a key element of Westport's character, one that fosters a broad array of recreational activity, drives our local economy and enriches our lives.  Whether visiting or living here, you know the pleasures of boating, swimming, walking and observing nature, and can appreciate the fragility of our environment.

Why give to the WRWA?

To Protect Water Quality WRWA's core mission is to protect and improve the River's quality.  Clean
water supports a habitat that is home to many aquatic species and plants that flourish here.

To Promote Stewardship:  The WRWA shows how by making simple changes in behavior we can improve River quality and reverse its degradation.

To Educate our Youth:  WRWA's award-winning programs help children appreciate the Watershed and how we humans affect its health.  They will inherit this treasure; they are its next stewards.  We are committed to assuring that they appreciate this sense of wonder for our River and the natural world.

To Spread the Word:  The WRWA encourages everyone to enjoy the River so they, too, will be inspired by its beauty and join in our effort to protect and preserve it for future generations.

The WRWA is the "voice of the river"- monitoring its health, leading restoration efforts, encouraging children to love the natural world, and collaborating with government leaders to ensure that sound science guides decisions made about watershed protection. We ask for your support so we may continue this important work.

Thank you for contributing. We really appreciate your support.
Deborah Weaver, Executive Director
Coastsweep Beach Clean Up

Thirty volunteers came out for our annual Coastsweep event on September 22, collecting trash and debris from the Cherry & Webb beach area. Special thanks to all the students from Westport High School, and the Westport Brownie Troop for their participation.

Friends and Supporters Gather to Show Appreciation
To Gay Gillespie for 30 Years of Dedication  
Announcing Gay Gillespie Summer Scholarship Fund 
Ninety friends, family members and WRWA supporters got together for a very special occasion on September 23rd, as they surprised long-time WRWA director and advocate Gay Gillespie with an enthusiastic "thank you" party for her over thirty years of dedicated service.  
In Gay's honor, and for her insightful launching of the Watershed Education Program in 1991, a scholarship fund is being created to allow more young students to benefit from our Summer Education Program. The week-long programs take place throughout the summer months for students ages 4-16, allowing children hands-on learning about the River's ecology while having fun.

Gay Gillespie with WRWA President Tom Schmitt and Executive Director Deborah Weaver
photo by Jonh Bullard 
Gay's long history with the Watershed Alliance began with volunteering in the 1980's.  In the early 1990's, she began working in more of an administrative role and established the very successful and significant Watershed Education Program (WEP), which continues to today.  She served as executive director for over a decade, overseeing the daily operations of the organization while sharing her passion for the River, advocating for practices to keep the water from becoming polluted.
More recently, Gay has been instrumental in making the new River Center at the Head of Westport a reality, acting as campaign director and assisting in the process of design for the new WRWA headquarters.
We are glad that Gay is still active in WRWA, and are thankful for all she has done to keep us viable and relevant!
Donations to the Gay Gillespie Summer Scholarship Fund can be sent to WRWA at PO Box 3427, Westport, MA  02790.  Please indicate GG Scholarship Fund in the memo line of your check.

Hike to Boiling Spring November 3rd  

The Westport River Watershed Alliance will host a watershed walk in the Boiling Spring area of Fall River on Saturday, November 3rd at 9 a.m . WRWA Executive Director Deborah Weaver will team up with Green Futures members Everett Castro, Roger Garant and Barry French to lead the walk through conservation land in the northernmost area of the Westport River watershed.

The Boiling Spring got its name for the manner in which the underground waters bubble up to the surface. The resulting stream is a tributary of the Westport River. These areas of protected land make a real difference for the watershed, with the natural, undeveloped terrain keeping the waters free of pollution.

Parking for the Boiling Spring walk will be on Quanapoag Road near the Rod & Gun Club of New Bedford in Fall River .   Precise directions are posted on the WRWA web page at . The walk will start promptly at 9 a.m., and appropriate dress and good hiking shoes are recommended. The walk is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is requested, by calling WRWA at 508-636-3016 or emailing

Thanks to our many volunteers who help out
throughout the year
Forty of our most loyal volunteers were feted at our recent Volunteer Appreciation Party in late September.  Our most important events and activities could not happen without all the dedicated and cheerful volunteers - from our Board Members and Committee Members, to those who make our annual events like River Day and the Summer Gala successful.  Thank you all!   

Electronics Recycling Day Brings in Tons of Equipment
We collected another 5,000 pounds of old, outdated electronic equipment at our recent Electronics Recycling Day on October 3.  Regional residents brought in old computers, monitors, televisions, radios, amplifiers and speakers, and more, to dispose of them in a way that keeps them out of the landfills.
The materials are brought to certified recyclers who extract the usable materials for re-use.

Great Shot!

This beautiful photo of a pair of oystercatchers was taken by nature photographer Amy Tripp of Westport. The birds were on a rock at Cory's Island near Westport Harbor.  Oystercatchers are often seen around Horseneck during the summer months.

They are large and noisy plover -like birds , with massive long orange or red bills used for smashing or prying open mollusks . The bill shape varies between species, according to the diet. Those birds with blade-like bill tips pry open or smash mollusk shells, and those with pointed bill tips tend to probe for annelid worms. The name O ystercatcher was coined by English naturalist Mark Catesby in 1731 as a common name for the North American species H. palliatus , described as eating oysters .


WRWA's Salt Marsh Study Needs Your Marsh Photos
WRWA has been working with university researchers on an experimental approach to identify the mechanisms driving Westport River marsh loss. Scientists from Brown University, Providence College, and UCONN are currently conducting a series of descriptive and manipulative experiments in both branches of the River, which are experiencing different rates of vegetation loss. Implementing sound conservation and management strategies require that we understand the underlying ecological processes that are and are not contributing to accelerated marsh loss in the Westport River.
The next stage of the study is to put the findings into a historical conservation context. Scientists will investigate the historical changes in coastal land development, shoreline hardening and channel dredging along both branches of the Westport River.  Historical reconstructions of both branches of the Westport River will be made using archived aerial photographs and historical images of shorelines provided by local citizens. If you have photos of the marshes taken over the last 40 years, please email them to and be sure to say where and when they were taken.
Click here for a description of the project.  We will keep you updated on the status of the study and publish the scientists' results and recommendations when completed.

The Westport River Watershed Alliance is Seeking One More
Candidate to Fill Part-time Commonwealth Corps Positions  

WRWA is seeking one more part-time Commonwealth Corps service member as Environmental Educator, to deliver Watershed Education Programs to children in grades PreK-12, and to launch additional outreach programs.  Commonwealth Corps members with the Westport River Watershed Alliance serve 10.5 months, 18-20 hours per week, and receive a bi-weekly stipend. The applicant should be a Massachusetts resident and have a desire to put their talents and ideas to use in the service of their community and the Commonwealth.
For the past three years Commonwealth Corps members have helped WRWA strengthen and expand its Watershed Education Program. The program teaches more than 2,000 local students about the importance of keeping the Westport River clean, and the healthy interrelationship of our waters, soils, plants, animals, and people. Service members also recruit high school volunteers and encourage family involvement in outreach programs.

Since its inception, more than 950 Commonwealth Corps members have served in the program throughout the state, providing over 600,000 hours of service in areas such as community development, health services, benefits screenings, afterschool or summer programs, and volunteer recruitment and management, and directly benefiting more than 595,000 students, families, and other clients.

The Commonwealth Corps members will serve for 10.5 months in a part-time capacity from August 15, 2018 through June 30, 2019.

 The Massachusetts Service Alliance (MSA), established in 1991, is a private nonprofit that serves as the state commission on community service and volunteerism, and supports programs like AmeriCorps and Commonwealth Corps that incorporate service and volunteerism as effective strategies to address the pressing needs in the Commonwealth.
For more information, or to apply for the position, please visit WRWA's website- or contactShelli Costa, Education Director, Westport River Watershed Alliance at .




2019 WRWA Photo Calendar Has Arrived!

The Westport River Watershed Alliance's new 2019 photo calendar is available now, featuring local tide graphs and photos of Westport scenes. This year's photos are the winners chosen from over 75 entries in WRWA's photo contest held this past spring. An independent group of volunteer judges viewed the photos and selected the winners in May.
The photographs, donated by area photographers, represent the most beautiful of Westport landscapes throughout the seasons, along with some remarkable wildlife shots.
"We had so many photos of beautiful scenes that are uniquely Westport, and some distinctive native wildlife shots for our photo contest," says Deborah Weaver, WRWA Executive Director. "This is one of the best collections of pictures yet for our 2019 calendar. Our thanks to all the talented photographers!"
The winning photos were provided by local photographers Tim Agnew, Rich Castenson, Lucy Chase, Rich Couse, Rick Eustis, Mark Goulding, Joanne Humphrey, Brianna McAvoy, Leslie Scanlon, and Greg Stone.
The calendars are on sale now at the WRWA headquarters at 1151 Main Road, online at , and locally at Lees Market, Partners Village Store and the Dedee Shattuck Gallery.

Submissions for the 2020 calendar will be sought in spring, 2019. 
For more information, call us at 508-636-3016 or email .
Cover of the 2019 WRWA Photo Calendar, "West Branch Serenity" by Rich Castenson.


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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