Westport River Watershed Alliance
September, 2021
Dear Members and Friends:
We were so happy to be able to resume most of our summer activities this year, albeit with slightly fewer participants; and we look forward to fall, with many activities planned.

A big thank you to all our friends and members who attended our successful Concert at the Vineyard in July and our fabulous Summer Gala in August. It was such a pleasure to see so many of you after not being able to do so last year.

We are grateful that our summer education programs were full of eager young students over the past weeks. Our summer interns Kassidy and Michaelah, 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 two Open Saturdays planned for September 18 and 25. We also have partnered with Team COW (Clean Our Westport), who are conducting a Town-wide clean up on September 18. The Town of Westport is holding a hazardous materials drop off on October 2, and we hope to see more details of that in the days to come. Our annual fall beach clean up is scheduled for October 9, and we are partnering with IndieCycle to resume our popular electronics recycling event on Wednesday, October 20.

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 will see a summary of the data in this newsletter.

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,

2021 - Rainy Summer Results in Higher Bacterial Counts Due to Stormwater Runoff
Roberta Carvalho, Science Director

The WRWA has been sampling water quality at 19 sites along the Westport River and contributing streams for Rivers for more than 20 years to evaluate the health of the rivers. We test the Westport River weekly from June-August. Bacteria levels can change by the day; each week’s results refer only to conditions the morning on which the samples were taken. We monitor a type of bacteria used for swimming and shellfishing standards, which have specific concentrations of bacteria that are considered safe for humans, reported in cfu or colony forming units. This summer areas in the upper East Branch failed standards for recreational contact many times (see chart).

Bacteria levels are typically elevated during wet weather events, a good precaution to take includes avoiding swimming right after a heavy rain. During dry weather, bacteria levels are typically low and the River is usually considered safe for swimming. A fecal coliform test is used to determine whether water has been contaminated with fecal matter. The presence of fecal coliform indicates the possible presence of organisms that can cause illness. The EPA has set acceptable limits for fecal coliform in water based upon the use of the water. For example, drinking water cannot contain any fecal coliform but water for swimming may contain up to 200 fecal coliform colonies/ 100 ml.

How do fecal coliforms get into rivers, streams and lakes? Large amounts of fecal coliform are released in the waste of animals and can be washed into streams by runoff from rain. Paved areas contribute to fecal coliform contamination when wastes from dogs, cats, raccoons, and other animals are carried into storm drains, streams, rivers and lakes during storms.

Over the years bacteria counts have diminished in the rivers due to Title V septic improvements and improved treatment and minimization of stormwater runoff – all of which the WRWA has advocated for using these data to make the case for reducing pollution sources. Thank you to the dedicated volunteers who helped with this program and the Baywatchers Program done in partnership with the Buzzards Bay Coalition.
River Center Open Two
Saturdays in September

The Westport River Watershed Alliance will be holding two Family Days at its River Center education room on Saturday, September 18 and Saturday, September 25, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Join WRWA educator Bailey for a tour of the aquarium tanks at 9 a.m., or come for one-hour presentations starting at 10 a.m. to view the Center’s other attractions and activities - including seining in the River, viewing aquatic specimens with the high-powered microscope, and using the virtual reality sand table.

One hour sessions limited to eight people; the fee is $10 per family. To sign up contact Bailey Sweet at: rivercenter@wrwa.com, or call 508-636-3016 x 1003.
The River Center is located at 493 Old County Road, Westport MA 02790.
Four Clean-Up and Recycling Events Coming Up
COW (Clean Our Westport) Roadside Trash Pick-Up on Saturday, September 18

Volunteers to meet at 9 a.m. at the old
Westport High School
Bags and pickers will be provided,
Volunteers will be assigned a neighborhood

Last Spring, Martin Costa, owner of the Westport Campground, organized a town-wide cleanup of Westport streets. A new organization - C.O.W. (Clean our Westport) - was formed and is now affiliated with WRWA. Over 150 people came out on that spring day and collected hundreds of pounds of litter. 

Now it is time for the fall clean-up, to take place on Saturday, September 18.
To sign up, contact Martin Costa at martincosta@charter.net.
Town of Westport Hazardous Household Waste Collection
The Town of Westport will be holding a hazardous household waste collection event on October 2. This event will be for Westport residents only and will require pre-registration.

The Town will be posting more information soon on its web page. WRWA will post the details as we receive them from the Town of Westport.
Annual Fall Beach Clean Up at Cherry & Webb 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 9, from 10 a.m. to noon.

All participants are asked register in advance, to allow WRWA to manage the number of volunteers. Masks are encouraged for all participants. The 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 outreach@wrwa.com or call 508-636-3016 to volunteer.
Electronics Recycling
The Westport River Watershed Alliance will host the very popular Electronics Recycling collection day on Wednesday, October 20, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Town Hall parking lot at 816 Main Road in Westport. After an 18-month Covid hiatus, we are proud 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, 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 outreach@wrwa.com or call 508-636-3016.
A Most Unusual Gift

In the summer of 2021 WRWA met a member who has a very interesting story to tell. Connie lost her mother Ruth Lacy Decker over ten years ago, and the five children inherited her extensive doll collection.  This was not just any doll collection:  her mother collected dolls her entire life and bought many on her travels abroad.  The collection numbered about eighty dolls.  Some of these had their original boxes with outfits and all the detailing that only a doll collector would appreciate.  Several large boxes cradling the dolls ended up in the attic of Connie’s house. 

Connie pondered this legacy for some time, and after polling her siblings and nieces and nephews (no one was interested in the dolls), she found a doll expert and broker who would do some restoration work and then sell the collection at two world-wide auction sales in the spring and fall of 2021. The May auction was a success—everything sold.

Connie and her siblings contemplated what organization should be the beneficiary of the sales, and after consultation, they selected WRWA for the donation.  Connie’s parents owned a home on River Road for over forty years, they loved Westport, and family gatherings, which began in Westport in the early 70’s, continue every summer. 

We will learn more about the value of the entire collection this fall, and we thank the Decker family for sharing its legacy with the Alliance.  You never know what people might give to you and how well they remember their time in Westport and all the memories that they share.

If you would like to see the collection, it will be auctioned by Alderfer Auction Company Oct 5 & 6. The web addresswww.alderferauction.com.
View a slideshow from
WRWA's Summer Gala

Check out this video slideshow of snapshots from our recent Summer Gala! Thank you to all our benefactors, patrons and sponsors for their support, and to our many members and friends who attended the beautiful outdoor event.
We love our volunteers! WRWA recently celebrated the generous efforts of our many volunteers at our annual appreciation party. Thank you to all of you - we could not do all we do without your help!
Please save us your Lees Receipts!
The Watershed Alliance is pleased to be a Lees Community Partner. Please save up your market receipts and either drop them off at
493 Old County Road, or mail to PO Box 3427, Westport, MA 02790
Thank you!
Thank You to our 2021 Corporate Sponsors