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February 2013
River News
WRWA's e-newsletter to keep you informed.

Annual Meeting and Awards

The Westport River Watershed Alliance invites you to attend our Annual Meeting


Saturday, March 16, 2013

2:00 P.M. 

Westport Grange Hall

931 Main Road, Westport, MA


Guest Speaker: Scott Horsley


Topic: "Upper West Branch Challenges and Possible Remedies"


Scott Horsley is President and CEO at Horsley & Witten, Inc., a consulting firm which works throughout the U.S. and abroad for both public and private clients on water resources science and management projects. His areas of interest and research include delineation methods for critical water resources protection areas, carrying capacity analysis of watersheds, and innovative water management strategies. Scott currently serves as a principal instructor for a nationwide series of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) training workshops on watershed management. He received the Environmental Innovator Award from EPA for his work in constructed wetlands and stormwater treatment.

Upcoming Events

This year in recognition of National Rivers' Month, the Westport River Watershed Alliance is hosting two events in June.


Ride the Watershed
June 8, 2013

Bike Ride on Sat. June 8th where riders will circumnavigate the Westport River watershed (approximately 42 miles), taking them through the northern forest lands of the Bioreserve to the coastal beauty of both branches of the Westport River. The ride will begin and end at the Buzzards Bay Brewery, 98 Horseneck Rd.


  • Riders should register on-line to save time and to guarantee a free t-shirt.
  • WRWA members $40 (day of $50); nonmembers $50 (day of $60).

  • Children, under 12 accompanied by an adult, can ride free.  A shorter course of about 20 miles will be available..

  • A free tee shirt and snacks are provided for all riders before and after the ride.

River Day Festival
June 22, 2013

On Sat. June 22 a full day of River Day festivities will take place at the Head of Westport Landing. Activities are numerous and offer fun for all ages.


  • Annual 2 mile kayak and canoe paddle from Hix Bridge Landing to the Head of Westport Landing takes off at 10:00.  
  • Register on-line to save time and to guarantee a free t-shirt.  
  • Paddle registration: WRWA members $40 (day of $50); nonmembers $50 (day of $60).  
  • Westport Historical Society walking tours of the historic Head neighborhood and exhibits in the Bell Schoolhouse Exhibits celebrating Westport's farming and fishing heritage
  • Green businesses demonstrating energy options (solar/wind), wastewater solutions, and sustainable practices for everyday living
  • Children's games - stilt making, fish printing, "wee boat" building, old fashion hoop rolling, face painting, and much more
  • Entertainment and food
  • Photo contest with winners' photos on display


Mark you calendars and celebrate our watershed and the Westport River - resources for current and future generations. If you would like to volunteer to help or have a table as a green business - email Gay Gillespie (g.gillespie@wrwa.com). 


River Day Photo Contest
WRWA is sponsoring a photo contest and is seeking photographers who love the river and the natural world. All entries will be judged and on display at WRWA's River Day Festival, Sat. June 22 at the Head of Westport Landing. Prizes will be awarded for the following categories: Adult, and Junior (grades 1-12).

All entries must be submitted in hardcopy and digital format to WRWA. Email JPG format images to: water@wrwa.com by June 1, 2013.  Each entry must also be printed and matted as 8x10 and mailed or dropped off at the WRWA office with ATTN: PHOTO CONTEST to 1151 Main Rd., PO Box 3427 Westport 02790 on or before June 1, 2013.

Each photo entry must be ready for display; printed and matted as 8x10,and labeled on the back with a photo title, name of the contestant, address, phone number, email and entry category.While reasonable care will be taken, WRWA will not be responsible for lost, stolen or damaged photographs. Contestants may pick up their photographs at River Day or at the office before July 1, 2013.

With permission of the photographer, WRWA reserves the right to use photographs in any published materials - we will credit photographers whenever possible.


WRWA Appeal of Prestige Auto Delivers a Positive Outcome
Matt Patrick, Executive Director

Remember in the last newsletter that WRWA appealed the Con Com's decision on Prestige Auto Mart's application to the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection, (DEP). Well, it's turned out favorably for the watershed. Betsy White, WRWA's Director of Advocacy, gave me an excellent report regarding the proceedings at the Prestige Auto Mart project at the last Planning Board Meeting January 29th


In her report Betsy said, "The SITEC project engineer, Mr. Gioiosa, told the Board that he had a conversation with WRWA, and his client is willing to consider many of the suggestions that were offered. 

  • His client is willing to reduce the footprint of the project and put in a denitrifying septic system for wastewater management;
  • His client is willing to consider putting about 45 acres of land into a Conservation Restriction. He must consult with his bank to see if this is feasible; and
  • Mr. Gioiosa was able to incorporate some Low Impact Development (LID) elements, such as vegetated swales, into the new site plan.

Mr. Gioiosa gave credit to WRWA for many of the changes. It was very encouraging to have an Engineering Firm work with the Planning Board, the abutters, and WRWA to address and minimize concerns regarding the project. The Planning Board seemed very receptive to the changes, as did the abutters who attended the meeting."


We thank Mr. Steve Gioiosa for visiting our office to talk about the project. We had a constructive conversation about what the developer could do to make it a better project.  Ron Knapp, WRWA's Board of Health observer and last year's winner of our Environmental Volunteer of the Year Award, Betsy and myself discussed details of the project with Mr. Gioiosa at the meeting.  John Rockwell of the Buzzards Bay Estuary Project was essential to helping us understand the basis for the appeal and Tara Martin, the Con Com's Agent, played an important role in making this a better project. 

Hopefully, the Prestige project will set an example for how development should happen in the Westport River Watershed.  While the final results are not in yet, it is safe to say that WRWA has set a positive precedent for good development in Westport River Watershed.


Help for Broken Septic Systems

The Town of Westport recently announced the kickoff of the Community Septic Management Program. The program provides homeowners with 2 percent financing with terms between 5 to 20 years to replace or repair their septic systems. The money is borrowed by the Town from the State Revolving Loan fund at zero interest. Several families have applied all ready.

Some of our members may remember that WRWA helped advocate for acceptance of the Community Septic Management Program (CSMP) at the 2012 Spring Town meeting. We did so because we knew it would make it more affordable for people to update their septic systems to Title 5 requirements. Composting toilets and denitrifying septic systems, which are better for removing nitrogen that causes problems with our salt water estuaries, also qualify for financing through the program.

The Board of Health (BOH) will evaluate projects to determine eligibility. The BOH must fail the existing system before it can loan money to the homeowner. Priority will be given to septic systems that are in the water table, systems there are located on small lots and systems that are located near environmentally sensitive areas.

Family income will be considered but all applicant information will be confidential. Applications can be found on the Town's website (click this link for application materials) or you can go to the BOH office to pick them up. We will be able to print them out at our office.

Legislation to Help Clean Up Our Estuaries.
Matt Patrick, Executive Director

Thanks to the initiative of WRWA Board Member Jim Whitin and our new Advocacy Committee Member, Bill Pardee, WRWA was able to work with Representative Paul Schmid to get three important bills filed. We will try to let you know about the hearing dates after they are announced. Below is a short description of the three bills.


HD 3271, An Act relative to buffer zones on land under the agricultural restriction program, allows farmers to implement pollution mitigation projects within 200 feet of a water body in a nitrogen sensitive embayment watershed on land that is currently in an Agricultural Preservation Restriction program (APR). Right now, farmers that have an APR must keep all the land in production which makes it impossible to install storm water collection systems, vegetated swales or buffer strips of native plants to protect rivers, lakes or streams. This bill will eliminate that problem.


HD3171, An Act Relative to the Community Septic Management Program (CSMP), Right now your current septic system must be declared "failed" by the board of health to qualify for the CSMP 2% loan program. If this bill passes, it will enable applicants who want to upgrade their septic system to a denitrifying septic system or composting toilet, without the existing septic system or cesspool being designated as "failed."The bill will also make small developers eligible for the CSMP low interest loans to install new denitrifying septic systems up to ten thousand gallons or composting toilets.


HD 2369, An Act relative to nitrogen impaired embayments, will enable municipalities to implement requirements for denitrifying septic systems or composting toilets in a watershed designated as impaired by the State.


Please thank the Representative when you see him and congratulate him on being named the Vice Chairman of the Joint Committee on Natural Resources.


Scholarship Funds for Local Students
The Westport River Watershed Alliance is pleased to offer two scholarship opportunities for graduating seniors in the Westport River watershed: Fall River, Dartmouth, Freetown, Westport, Little Compton, and Tiverton. 
One award, a $500 scholarship, was made possible by the generosity of the late Margot C. Boote who was active in education and the environment. The second award, $500, was initiated by Bill Heath in memory of his parents Ruth and Bill Heath.
The merit award applications are available on the WRWA website HERE or by calling the WRWA office at 508-636-3016.  Guidance departments in local high schools have applications on file. All applications are due in the office no later than April 1, 2013. The Alliance has a proud record of environmental stewardship and has expressed over the years its concern to carry on this tradition. The merit awards offer an opportunity to honor students who have demonstrated their interest in protecting the watershed environment.
Well Water Testing Made Easy
If you're looking for a way to test your well water, the Westport Board of Health helps make the process easier


You can pick up a free bottle from the Board of Health 508-636-1015 at (856 Main Road) with directions on how and when to collect a sample. Then you collect your sample on a Tuesday and drop it off at the Board of Health Office.  The water testing company Analytical Balance (www.h2otest.net) will pick up your sample and test the water back at their facility in Middleboro. These tests are for homeowners information only. They can not be used for required  or regulated water tests, you would need someone to come to your home to collect the sample for those tests.


Here's a brief summary of water tests offered and their prices:


Potability Analysis: $110.00

Includes: Total coliform bacteria, conductivity, turbidity, pH, alkalinity, hardness, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese, sulfate, chloride, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, lead and copper.


Volatile Organic Compounds: $130.00 Includes: Analysis for volatile organic compounds only.


Title V: $55.00 Includes: Total coliform bacteria, ammonia, and nitrate.


Title V with VOC: $185.00


Bacteria only: $25.00 Includes:  Analysis for total coliform bacteria.


Lead and Copper: $30.00


Arsenic: $15.00

Kevlar Adirondack Guide Boat For Sale

Thanks to a generous donor, we have a gorgeous Adirondack Guide boat for sale and it would make a great acquisition for the summer. These boats are great for rowing and very stable. The boat is complete with oars and beautiful caned seats. It's dark forest green. Our boat retails new for $4,300. We are looking for the best offer.


So make us an offer we can't refuse. Call 508-636-3016 or email g.gillespie@wrwa.com.

Fish Counting Volunteers Needed
The Westport Fish Commissioners need volunteers to help in observing the herring runs in Westport in March and April. They would like to make observations at CockEast Pond, Sam Tripp Brook, Adamsville Pond, and Forge Pond.
Please email Peter Kastner, Westport Fish Commissioner, (peterskastner@me.com) to express your interest in volunteering.
Volunteers Needed

The Westport River Watershed Alliance is celebrating Rivers Month and the summer solstice in June and we need volunteers. WRWA invites you to attend a volunteer meeting at the Watershed Alliance's office located at 1151 Main Rd. in Westport on Saturday, March 2nd from 9am to 10:30am.


On Saturday, June 8th volunteers are needed for the first Watershed Bike Ride with registration and ride-related tasks. On Saturday, June 22nd WRWA is hosting its annual River Day Festival at the Head Landing and volunteers are needed for set-up and take-down, children's activities that include fish printing, stilt building, mini boat building, and food. Volunteers are also needed to help with registration for the non-competitive family paddle that leaves from the Hix Bridge


Both events offer volunteers a fun-filled day and the reward of supporting an organization whose mission is to protect the natural resources of the river and watershed.

WRWA to Sponsor Wilderness First Aid Class

Wilderness First Aid Course

March 2 & 3, 2013 


Cost: $150

Location: Bristol County Agricultural High School


The Westport River Watershed Alliance and Bristol County Agricultural High School are hosting a Wilderness First Aid Course this winter. The course is a must for anyone traveling in the wilderness, from the outdoor enthusiast to the trip leader. This wilderness emergency medical course will be coordinated in partnership with SOLO Wilderness Medicine, leaders in the field of rescue and emergency medicine both in the US and abroad. Participants completing the course will receive a certification in Wilderness First Aid. Register online here or call the office to register with a credit card over the phone, 508-636-3016.

Thanks to Our Supporters
Come Visit Us
Westport River Watershed Alliance
1151 Main Road, Westport, MA 508.636.3016