Westport River Watershed Alliance
River News October 2020
Dear Members and Friends,
Making a film about the watershed was always a dream for the new River Center. By using drone footage, we have a “birds eye view” of the vast and diverse area that encompasses the over 100 square miles in the watershed. We want to help people understand what a watershed is, how precious ours is, and what we can all do to preserve these important estuaries.

In the many years of permitting and then renovating the building, we never lost sight of making this dream a reality. It wasn’t until June 2020 that I was introduced to a wonderful young filmmaker and FAA certified Drone pilot, Alex Haggert, who needed to complete a Capstone Project for his degree, and this film is the result of our collaboration and shared vision.

In response to COVID, WRWA has had to pivot many activities and approaches to make our education programs virtual. We are really proud of the creativity of staff and Board in presenting the WOW series (Wonders of the Watershed) which are available on our web site and are also used in area schools.
At the end of the film you will see a heartfelt dedication to a wonderful friend of the Alliance- a man who has shared his wisdom, curiosity and Philanthropy with our organization, and many others throughout New England. This film would not have been possible without his support. His death leaves a hole in our community, but we hope that this film will help you remember Gurdon Wattles and all that he has done in his long lifetime.

Soon you will be receiving correspondence for our Annual Fund Drive. This fundraiser is very important for us, particularly this year when we had to cancel all of our special events due to the pandemic. Please help us out by giving generously. We count on your support to keep working at our mission - working together to protect and preserve the Westport River Watershed now and for future generations.


Welcome New Commonwealth Corps Members

WRWA is pleased to announce it has been selected as one of sixteen Commonwealth Corps host site partners in the 2020-2021 program year. 

Administered by the Massachusetts Service Alliance (MSA), the Commonwealth Corps is a state-funded service internship program that engages Massachusetts residents of all ages and backgrounds in service to strengthen communities, address critical community needs, and increase volunteerism. Serving a 10.5-month term, Corps members provide direct service; build capacity; and recruit, organize, and mobilize additional volunteers, thus building a grassroots movement of volunteers dedicated to service. 

WRWA welcomes two members for this upcoming year of service: Chelsea Thiboutot from Rehoboth and Jennifer Burns from Attleboro. We are grateful that these two chose to do their year of service to the community by supporting the education programs at WRWA.

Great News! Westport Board of Health Considers a New Septic System Water Resource Protection Regulation

WRWA and the Town of Westport have invested significant time and money to understand the reasons for the long-term decline in water quality and healthy habitat of the Westport River. The conclusion from decades of water testing and many scientific studies is that the Westport River is degraded due to nitrogen pollution and it has failed to meet water quality standards for years. In addition, drinking water wells in many areas of Town are unsafe because of high nitrogen levels. The proposed regulation implements two recommendations from the 2020 Targeted Integrated Water Resource Management Plan to reduce nitrogen load into the groundwater and the Westport River and protect public health and the environment.

A virtual public hearing will be October 29, visit the Board of Health website for more information. https://www.westport-ma.com/board-health. The WRWA fully supports this regulation.

Our new Commonwealth Corps educators have helped create this interesting video of the dunes at Cherry and Webb Conservation area with our education director Shelli Costa. Check out what they found! This is part of our continuing video series, "The Wonders of the Watershed."
Shelli Costa presents an outdoor, distanced education program to Pre-K students at the Macomber School in October.
The Beauty of Westport
High Quality Photos
For Sale through WRWA

We have a beautiful collection of nature and landscape photos of the Westport River and Watershed for sale now! Donated by local photographers, these sales are helping to raise funds for WRWA during this challenging time.

Thinking about loved ones who would like to be reminded of the beauty of Westport? These photos make great gifts!

We have seasonal selections for sale at www.westportwatershed.org. 
Additional offerings can be viewed here. You can also view our larger catalog by contacting Steve at outreach@wrwa.com or call 508-636-3016 x 1003.

Prints can be ordered in various sizes, with optional mounting and framing.
Great Turnout for Beach Clean-Up
Thank you to the forty or more volunteers who came to help with the annual fall beach clean-up on October 10.

The wind was howling off the ocean but it was still a beautiful day on the beach. We collected many bags of trash and debris!
How Now, Brown Cow
By Richard Dey,
After a painting by Betsey MacDonald   
Whether the cow has walked to stand
in the river or it has risen ‘round 
the cow knee-deep, up to her udders, 
is hard to say, not that it matters,
for the prize cow, brown with spots  
wrinkled & white as sails on yachts,
stands in water as it stands on shore,
munching cord grass & marsh aster. 
In sunlight on the flat, dark river, 
she stands reflected as in a mirror,
her spots no longer shapeless or wide  
on either side of her brown hide,
but images the very shapes 
of what her body over-drapes 
and all around her in the tide 
stalk & slither, crawl & glide,
squeal & crackle: quahog, striper,
crabs hermit, horseshoe, blue & spider,
heron, sea-star, mussel, flatfish—
Now, brown cow, how outlandish!
Creature Feature
Monarch Butterfly 
by Commonwealth Corps Educator Jenny Burns

Danaus plexippus
The Monarch Butterfly begins its life cycle as a tiny egg laid among hundreds on a milkweed plant. The eggs then will hatch into larvae, also known as a caterpillar. The larvae will spend about two weeks filling their body with milkweed. Once those two weeks go by, the larvae will spin themselves into protective cases and stay there for about a week or two. Once the larvae have completed the last stage of metamorphosis, the butterfly will emerge out of the protective casing.

This butterfly will weigh up to about one half gram, have a wingspan of four inches, and will only live four to five weeks. Depending on what time of the year the monarch completes metamorphosis, the butterfly will either start reproducing or they will head south for warmer weather.

Monarch butterflies have a two-way migration pattern. In late summer or early fall, monarchs will travel south to Mexico and parts of California to escape the cold harsh weather. They can travel up to 2,800 miles when migrating. These little creatures can make such a long journey by navigating their way using the sun as a compass. They also make stops along the way to lay eggs and to huddle around trees in mountain forests where the climate is less extreme, allowing a better chance of survival.

WRWA 2021 Calendar is Here

The new WRWA photo calendar with tide lines is in stock here now! They are available through our web page, at the River Center, and at Partners Village Store.
Thank You to our 2020 Corporate Sponsors