Westport River Watershed Alliance
September, 2022

OUR VISION: A healthy watershed where people, wildlife and the River thrive.
Dear Members and Friends:
We were so happy to resume our normal summer activities this year, and we look forward to fall, with many activities planned.

A big thank you to all our friends and members who attended our successful Livingston Taylor Concert at the Vineyard in July and our fabulous Summer Gala in August at Quansett Farm. It was such a pleasure to see so many of you come out to support WRWA and have a lot of fun at the same time!

We are grateful that our summer education programs were full of eager young students over the past weeks. Our summer interns Hannah and Kiara, under the skilled direction of Education Director Shelli Costa, were a huge help and a cheerful presence throughout.

As you will read in the articles below, we have hired Michaelah Vasconcellos as an environmental educator and River Center program coordinator. Michaelah's presence on our staff will enable us to effectively utilize our education center with meaningful programs and events.

We also partner with Team COW (Clean Our Westport), who are conducting a Town-wide clean up on September 24. Our annual fall beach clean up is scheduled for October 1, and we are partnering with IndieCycle to resume our popular electronics recycling event on Wednesday, October 12.

Science Director Roberta Carvalho and her water monitoring volunteers kept up their weekly activities, closely checking the water quality of the River and informing us all of their findings. You can find a summary on our web page.

Wishing you all good health as we hope to continue to recover from the Covid pandemic! We are looking forward to offering more programs and activities at the River Center in the months to come.

All the best,

Deborah
WRWA Finished 25th Season of
Popular Summer Science Programs!

Another great summer comes to a close on our 25th year of offering summer science programs.  This year most program weeks were full, reaching close to 100 participants ages 3-16. Participants had a chance to learn about how sand is formed, local crabs, dogfish, plankton, pollution that harms the river, how watersheds work , and more throughout the 7 weeks of summer program sessions. We had a wonderful time sharing what we know about the Westport River Watershed and enjoyed meeting all of our future stewards.
The Watershed Alliance was able to offer 10 full summer program scholarships through the Gay Gillespie Scholarship fund. These children from the Westport Elementary School were selected through an essay contest highlighting the things students would like to learn about the Westport River.
 
We would also like to thank the Westport Yacht Club for letting the summer programs use their indoor space during rainy days, and Osprey Sea Kayak for leading our kayaking/paddle boarding programs. Great job and thank you to BayCoast Bank for sponsoring our interns for the summer - Hanna Chamberlain & Kiara Cruz Gonzalez and our leaders in training: Andre Jusseaume, Ryder Jusseaume and Owen Costa. Hope to see everyone next summer!
Announcing the Winners in our 2023 Calendar Photo Contest

Thank you to the many talented local photographers who sent in a wide variety of lovely pictures taken in and around Westport for our annual calendar contest.

We presented the photos in a slide show video, and our members and friends helped choose the best ones for our 2023 calendar.

And the winners are:
January - After the Snows by Mary Anne Thadeu
February-Eagle at Sunrise at Watuppa Pond by Carolyn Edwards
March - River Silhouette by Betsy Szel
April - Blue Eyes by Amelia Tripp
May - Piping Plover by Andy Wilson
June - Goldenslippers by Greg Stone
July - Every Day is a Beach Day by Donna Hallal
August - Jump For Joy by Rich Castenson
September - Cotton Candy by JC Cummings
October -  Town Farm by Joanne Humphrey
November - Sunrise Surprise by John Poulton
December - Christmas Eve by Jill Kelsall
Cover Photo - Eye Sea You by Mary Pion (pictured above)

The 2023 Calendar will be available for purchase starting in October.
Welcome
Michaelah Vasconcellos
New WRWA Staff Member

Westport, MA -- WRWA is pleased to welcome new staff member Michaelah Vasconcellos as environmental educator and River Center program coordinator. Michaelah joins the organization with a wealth of experience and knowledge, having spent the last year with WRWA as a summer intern and TerraCorps service member. A Westport resident, she was inspired by WRWA's science curriculum in the Westport schools; and now she recently graduated cum laude from UMASS Dartmouth with a B.S. in Biology.

Michaelah’s hands-on experience with local wildlife during her time at WRWA and previously as a wildlife intern at Mass Audubon instilled in her a deep knowledge and appreciation of the local environment. She believes that these lessons learned will enable WRWA to more effectively engage with the public.

We are so excited to have Micahelah join us as a full time staffer after her year of service through TerraCorps! Her ability to communicate Science information with enthusiasm will inspire the many people who come to see us at the River Center. Having her on staff for tours, family activities and learning experiences will enhance our educational offerings to the public and the many visitors who come to Westport.” said Executive Director Deborah Weaver.

With Michaelah’s addition to the full-time staff, and the diminishing risk of Covid, WRWA is planning more frequent, interesting programs for the public at their River Center headquarters at the Head of Westport. For more information, visit www.westportwatershed.org.
Three Cheers for Westport’s Board of Health
Roberta Carvalho, Science Director

The Town of Westport’s Board of Health held a hearing on August 16 for a new septic regulation to consolidate and standardize current local septic system requirements. This regulation includes the use of nitrogen reducing septic systems (I/A – or innovative/alternative) for new construction or upgrades to properties that result in an increase in flow. It also phases out the use of cesspools. We commend the Board for developing and implementing regulations to limit the amount of nitrogen entering the river. Final approval of the regulation is still pending.

For many years, WRWA has joined with the Buzzards Bay Coalition to collect and share the data on nitrogen levels in the Westport River. Our water sampling program has been one of the longest running in the state, and has provided the DEP with long-term data to assess water quality and impairments. WRWA also performed the majority of the fieldwork for determining the TMDL and generated the community support necessary to fund the work. The term TMDL stands for the Total Maximum Daily Load of nitrogen that is allowable in our estuary. In 2017, the EPA approved the TMDL for the Westport River. The approval was long awaited by many environmental groups and concerned citizens. It sets the level to which we must reduce nitrogen inputs in order to restore the river to a healthy state. This TMDL was determined through years of scientific assessment and is specific to the Westport River.

We know that our current level of development and infrastructure is adding too much nitrogen to the river. The TMDL report shows that much of this nitrogen is coming from the Title 5 septic systems (often called onsite-wastewater treatment systems) within the watershed.

We applaud the Board of Health for considering both short term and long term goals with the eventual result that nitrogen from future growth must be limited, and nitrogen from existing sources must be reduced. Regionally, impacted embayments must be protected and restored through a combined strategy of managing growth, reducing fertilizer use, and promoting advanced onsite sewage treatment technologies capable of reducing nitrogen. WRWA is an active partner in this planning process.
Annual Fall Beach Clean Up at Cherry & Webb Town Beach

The Watershed Alliance is seeking volunteers to help with the annual fall beach cleanup at the Cherry & Webb conservation area. This year’s activity will take place on Saturday, October 1, from 10 a.m. to noon.

All participants are asked register in advance, to allow WRWA to manage the number of volunteers. The twice-annual beach cleanup activities are always enjoyable and productive!

Volunteers will gather at the Town Beach parking area on Cherry and Webb Lane. All ages are welcome, and gloves and bags will be provided.

Contact [email protected] or call 508-636-3016 to volunteer.
A Perfect Evening for
WRWA Summer Gala

WRWA’s annual Summer Gala took place at the expansive and verdant Quansett Farm, overlooking tranquil Allens Pond and sparkling Buzzards Bay.
Often referred to as “the best party in Westport,” the Gala was held on Saturday, August 13.

The event featured great food from The Westporter, live music by the Joe Mulholland Trio, open bar, and a remarkable and diverse silent auction. 

We are very grateful to the Armstrong family for allowing us to use their beautiful waterfront property for the Gala, and to the many volunteers who helped plan and execute the event.
Electronics Recycling
October 12

WRWA will host the very popular Electronics Recycling collection day on Wednesday, October 12, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Town Hall parking lot at 816 Main Road in Westport. We are pleased to once again partner with Indie Cycle to provide this service to the community. Indie Cycle accepts most electronic materials at no charge, with the exceptions listed below.
 
ITEMS ACCEPTED AT NO CHARGE: Computers, laptops, PDA's, cell phones, mice, keyboards, toner cartridges, CD/DVD players, radios, network equipment, wires, stereos, speakers, telephones, microwaves, small household appliances. Anything with a wire!

A $10 DISPOSAL FEE APPLIES: for all TVs & Monitors, some printers, mini-fridges, air conditioners, box speakers, dehumidifiers and other coolant containing appliances.
 
NOT ACCEPTED: light bulbs, furniture or any hazardous materials such as paint, rechargeable and single use batteries, and broken TV tubes.

Indie Cycle, LLC, has a zero landfill policy. They do not remarket any hard drives or data storage devices. 

All electronic materials are transferred to ORS a local, R2 certified recycler for processing.  

See their website at www.indiecycle.com for more information.
This event is open to residents of all neighboring towns, not just for those who live in Westport.
 
For more information on this recycling event, or to volunteer to help out that morning, contact WRWA at [email protected] or call 508-636-3016.
Thank You to our 2022 Corporate Sponsors