Westport River Watershed Alliance
River News November 2020
Dear Members and Friends,
I hope this edition of River News finds you and your family well. In honor of Thanksgiving, we wanted to take a moment to recognize some unusual acts of recent generosity that have benefitted the Alliance:

  • Thanks to the Board, and you our members, for your continued support and affirmation of the value of WRWA.

  • Thanks to all of the WRWA staff for the myriad creative and innovative ways that they have adapted to working in a COVID pandemic, maintaining and delivering our programs seamlessly.

  • Thanks to Pete Kastner, past President of the Board and wife, Kate, now living in Savannah, Georgia for the donation of the proceeds of the sale of their beautiful Norse Boat.

  • Thanks To Rob, of New England Clean Energy (our solar partner) who climbed out on the roof of the River Center to retrieve our weather station which needs repair.

  • Thanks to Mr. Silva and his class of Westport High students, for spending the day clearing out space for an extension of the Pollinator Garden in the rear of the River Center. Thanks also for coming out for our recent beach clean-up!

Hopefully you have received our letter 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.

We wish you all the best for your holiday season, and look forward to brighter days ahead.

Sincerely,

Deborah
Big Thanks to Tom Schmitt and Charley Appleton
for their service to WRWA

The Watershed Alliance recently held a large Zoom meeting to pay tribute to two former Board Members whose influence and tenacity really made the River Center project possible. Tom Schmitt and Charley Appleton would have been recognized at the spring annual meeting had Covid-19 not made that impossible.

We expressed our thanks through a virtual celebration, and also through a video with testimonials from some of our River Center collaborators and WRWA members. You can view the video here.

WRWA to Partner With BBC and Town of Westport
on Reduced Nitrogen Septic Study
WRWA is pleased to partner with the Buzzards Bay Coalition and the Town of Westport on a study of the feasibility of constructing shared nitrogen-reducing septic systems in two neighborhoods in Westport.
 
The proposal comes as the result of a multi-year study – the Targeted Integrated Water Resource Management Plan – developed by the Town of Westport to identify
ways to bring the Westport River into compliance with federal water quality standards for nitrogen. This plan identified "Cadman's Neck" and the “Let" as two
neighborhoods that might be able to utilize shared septic systems to both reduce the nitrogen levels in the river and help improve the quality of drinking water.
 
The study will focus on the feasibility of such systems in those two neighborhoods and the findings will help determine whether shared systems in general might be a feasible and cost-effective way to address high nitrogen levels in densely-populated areas in the watershed. BBC brings extensive knowledge to the project, having conducted multiple studies and demonstration projects in communities all along Buzzards Bay. WRWA is pleased to join in this important study and will lend financial, technical and communication/outreach assistance.
High School Students Help Expand Pollinator Garden

Mr. Silva and his Westport High School science class students came to the River Center recently to help prepare the site for our expanded pollinator garden.

The garden has a variety of native flowering plants, specifically chosen for their attractiveness to pollinating species of insects. To see a description of the plants, click here. When landscaping your own property, consider using native plants that support biodiversity and a healthy environment!
WRWA Loses a Champion
 
WRWA lost a champion on Sunday, November 8th. For over forty years, Russ Beede was dedicated to the organization and its mission to protect the River’s valuable assets.

Russ and his late wife Pat loved Westport, especially the River. Whenever the wind and tide were favorable to explore the unique islands and inlets in the West Branch, Russ would set sail in his red Beetle Cat; and if the tide was low you’d find him on the flats quahogging, fishing, birding, or just mucking about in his boat.

In 1988, he spearheaded WRWA’s Tributary Sign project. Russ knew that the watershed’s streams, brooks, rivers, and even gutters flowed eventually into the river, and felt it was important to recognize each water body with a sign identifying that particular waterway and its connection to the river. WRWA is grateful for the thirty-two years he committed to maintaining this important on-going effort. Russ’s financial knowledge and expertise also landed him on the WRWA board.
 
As his daughter Sue reported, “ Appropriately, Dad’s exit was marked by an earthquake deep below Buzzards Bay - a fitting salute to a man who majored in geology and loved the sea.”
 
We agree and salute you, Russ, into your next adventures.
Giving Tuesday is Coming Up!

Please check your inbox next Tuesday, December 1st. Among your many requests for donations will be one from the Westport River Watershed Alliance! This has been a difficult and challenging year for all non-profit organizations who are deserving of all the support they can receive.

The pandemic and economic disruption have adversely affected so many people, and we are all being asked to be as generous as possible this year. We at WRWA are optimistic that with the help of our friends and members, we can welcome in 2021 with confidence that our important programs and initiatives at the River Center will continue and grow.

Thank you!
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 selections for sale at www.westportwatershed.org. 



For questions or ordering specifics, contact Steve at outreach@wrwa.com or call 508-636-3016 x 1003.

Prints can be ordered in various sizes, with optional mounting and framing.
Thank you to the Kastners for boat donation
WRWA would like to thank Peter & Kate Kastner for donating the proceeds of the sale of their lovely Norse Boat.

Peter was a former Board member and now resides in South Carolina, but he hasn't forgotten his friends at the Alliance!

Big thanks for your generosity, Peter and Kate!
Creature Feature:
The Praying Mantis

by Commonwealth Corps Educator
Chelsea Thiboutot

You would never know it from their peaceful pose, but the praying mantis is an excellent exterminator. Over the last 100 years, many people in the area have unknowingly introduced nonnative mantis varieties to their yard as an attempt to naturally control pests in their garden. Even though the praying mantis is great at keeping unwanted pests out of the garden, there are unintended consequences for introducing these nonnative creatures to local ecosystems. 

The mantis does not discriminate between their prey. As readily as they will exterminate insect pests, they will also exterminate beneficial pollinators, some of which are on the decline. Bees and butterflies and even hummingbirds are all unintended targets of the mantis. Over time, the Chinese mantis has dominated Massachusetts. The closest native mantis is the Carolina mantis that mostly inhabits the south, but has been inhabiting southern parts of New England as the temperatures have steadily increased over the years. These non native mantises pose a threat to the native Carolina mantis. Not only do they have to compete for food sources, but the Carolina mantis can even fall prey to the larger invasive species.  

There are over 2,000 varieties of praying mantises, but the one that is most frequently sighted in New England is the Chinese mantis. The Chinese mantis is green and can easily camouflage itself in the garden. They are also the most frequently sighted mantis in the area, despite the fact that they are non-native to the Massachusetts area. The Chinese mantis is also the largest variety of mantis that is found among the 20 varieties of mantis in North America. The European mantis, another nonnative species found in Massachusetts, are also green, but the Chinese mantis can be recognized by the stripes on their head that are not present in the European mantises. 
 
Eggs for the invasive, non-native species can be found at garden stores, but should not be bought in order to give our native Carolina mantis a chance as they make their way up north.  One way that you can get involved with stopping the spread of the invasive Chinese mantis in your own backyard is to get rid of the egg casings when you encounter them, and protect the native Carolina mantis eggs if you ever do see them.  

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