Westport River Watershed Alliance
River News - November, 2013
Thanks for taking the time to check out our newsletter. Please support the WRWA with a tax-deductible contribution. Your support makes our work possible. 
Watershed Issues
Matthew Patrick, Executive Director 


Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  We have plenty to be thankful for this year but I want to remind all of you that we can't continue to work on your behalf for the Watershed unless we have money in the bank.  Please contribute to our Annual Fund Drive to help us keep the Westport River Watershed clean.  Why should you contribute?  Check it out:

  • WRWA donates $100,000 in award winning environmental education programs to over 2,000 Westport students every year.
  • WRWA asked our legislators to file a line item in Massachusetts' Environmental Bond Bill for $377,500 to remove the granite blocks out from under Hix Bridge. The Army Corps of Engineers will provide a 60% match of $612,500. Thanks to our legislators, Senator Mike Rodrigues and Representative Paul Schmid, it is now part of the bill.
  • WRWA has used over $200,000 of its Watershed Improvement funds (WIF) to leverage about $2 million in watershed improvements.  These are projects that would not have happened without our advocacy as well as WIF funding.
  • The Massachusetts Estuaries Project report states that there is an 18% excess of nitrogen in the Westport River.  WRWA is working on alternatives to expensive sewering to help solve the problem affordably.
  • Did you know that WRWA volunteers have planted 6 raingardens at the Westport Middle School? The gardens are capturing and treating over 60% of the stormwater that was flowing unchecked down Old County Rd. from the Middle School Complex directly into the River at the Head.
  • WRWA has maintained one of the longest volunteer water quality monitoring programs in the Commonwealth. The program is important for evaluating the success of remediation projects.
  • Westport 5th graders have planted over 15,000 beach grass seedlings over the past 10 years! These plantings have stabilized eroded areas in the Town Beach dune system.


Don't Cap It, Clean It:  

WRWA Advocacy Director, Betsy represents us in the ongoing grass roots battle to have the MA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) deny the proposed project to cap the Cecil Smith landfill and instead require a comprehensive site assessment before any capping project is approved.  Two weeks ago, thirty individuals from numerous local organizations, including WRWA, visited the Boston office of DEP and spoke with Commissioner Ken Kimmell about their concerns and request for a more complete evaluation of the dump. This was an opportunity for South Coast residents to offer a show of public opposition against the landfill project, which is in the upper reaches of the Westport River and threatens the environmental quality of the area.  DEP is currently reviewing the project and will hopefully make their decision by the end of the year.


Hix Bridge:  The study for Hix Bridge is underway.  We installed oyster cages in October with the help of Dr. Ken Perez (who designed the study), former State Representative Steve D'Amico (our diver), and Gary Sherman (Westport Shellfish Constable) with his volunteers Deb Porr and Jack Skammels.  Kendall Tripp made and donated rope harnesses for the cages that made it easier to get them into the water and John Borden took us out in his boat to gather oysters for the experiment.  We will try to get Steve to come back this winter in his dry suit to take a look at the cages to make sure they are ok.  In a year we should see some differences in the size of the oysters at various levels  in the cages confirming our hypothesis that oysters grow better in higher flow areas out of the sediment.


Source of Coliform Bacteria in the West Branch:  We are applying for funding from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust to further investigate the potential sources of fecal coliform bacteria in the West Branch. Higher bacteria levels detected by the Division of Marine Fisheries has had large areas of the West Branch closed for shellfishing since 2009.  Hopefully, we will have some good news about more funding for this work by the end of the year.


Bread and Cheese Brook/Rte. 177:  I revisited the Route 177/Bread and Cheese Brook storm water run-off project to ensure there is enough room in the road layout to build a raingarden to intercept excess water that now flows directly into Bread and Cheese Brook.  The Bread and Cheese sub-watershed is a major source of nitrogen in the East Branch.


Head Garage:  Unless you were out of the country you know that our article for a home rule petition to the legislature granting the town the ability to lease out land under the Landing Commission for 30 years, passed without so much as a question.  We want to create an example of green building with eco-toilets, gray water treatment system, solar hot water system, photovoltaic panels, rain water retention system along with energy efficient construction practices in the space. People will be able to come and see the toilets...even use them if they are adventurous.  We have made friends of the neighbors and look forward to working out a traffic safety and parking plan for the area.  We are really excited about the possibilities.

Year End Giving
Please support WRWA with a  year-end tax deductible contribution. Congress has re-authorized legislation allowing you to make charitable gifts from your traditional or Roth IRA through December 31, 2013 without incurring federal income tax on the withdrawal. The IRA Charitable Rollover provides you with a wonderful opportunity to make a current gift from an asset that would otherwise be subject to several levels of taxation if it remained in your taxable estate. IRA gifts can satisfy your minimum required distribution and support a worthwhile cause at the same time.


You can also make WRWA one of the beneficiaries in your will. This is easily done and entails no loss of income to you during your lifetime.


WRWA Receives Grant for Town Rain Garden Plantings

Betsy White, Advocacy Director 

The WRWA was recently informed that their application for a grant from the Ronald Desrosiers Memorial Fund was chosen for a $750 grant award in the year 2013 round. This fund, also known as the Westport Citizens Betterment Fund, is supported by donations and, according to the Trustees "helps put resources back into the community".


Funding will go towards the planting of rain gardens which will help prevent erosion and polluted runoff at two stream crossings in Westport. This project will supplement the work that has been completed by the Town, either directly or indirectly, to repair stream crossings at two ecologically important sites: Sam Tripp Brook and Cockeast Pond. These stream crossings, which run under the roads, provide pathways for fish and animals to access habitat on either side of the road. This increases the diversity and number of species that utilize the area around the streams, adding to the richness of the Westport environment. The rain gardens will prevent pollution and erosion into the streams by taking up stormwater which currently runs into the streams, damaging the water quality and stream bed conditions.


WRWA would like to thank the Ronald Desrosiers Memorial Fund Trustees for their support of these projects as well as for their mission to help the community of Westport.

BayCoast Bank Watershed Sponsor
We want our members to know what our Corporate Sponsors are doing in the watershed community and BayCoast Bank is doing a lot! The following article written by Nicholas Christ, President and CEO, speaks volumes to the importance of volunteering and the unique program that BayCoast employees take part in. We are grateful to have BayCoast Bank as our Keynote Corporate Sponsor.

The Just Right Movement; A little kindness can go a long way

By Nicholas Christ


One of the core values of BayCoast Bank is to care about people. We care about our customers, our employees, and the people who make up the communities we serve. More importantly, we encourage each and every one of our employees to do the same. They are encouraged, and even expected, to care about the people around them whether they are co-workers, customers, neighbors or community members.  


Any of my employees can tell you that one of my favorite things to say is that caring about people isn't something you hang on a hook on your way out the door. It's something you take with you when you go home at night, when you spend time with your family, and during your weekend activities. It becomes a part of your identity, just as it is part of BayCoast Bank's identity.


I am continually impressed by the ways in which our employees give back to the community through their individual efforts to volunteer with local non-profits and raise funds for causes they feel strongly about, as well as their willingness to participate in bank-organized volunteer opportunities.


The newest of these opportunities is the Just Right Crew. Made up of BayCoast employees who have committed to perform acts of kindness throughout our local community, the Just Right Crew helps spread the message that caring for others is "just right."


Over the past several weeks, Crew members have delivered flowers to patients in nursing homes, spent time in animal shelters, paid for a family's dinner, and performed a variety of other good deeds to help brighten someone's day. And their good works aren't stopping there. The Crew continues to grow as more employees become involved.


In the long-run, it is our hope that the Just Right Crew will become a catalyst that spurs a community-wide movement of good deeds. We want to spread our "just right" message and encourage others to join us by caring about people and doing what's "just right."


We are all challenged by jam-packed work days, unrelenting evening schedules, and seemingly endless weekend "to do lists." But imagine if tucked between the day's first cup of coffee and final goodnight, you performed a quiet deed that makes someone's day.   Or imagine if you were the recipient of an act of kindness, particularly on a day that has you wondering why you got out of bed!


All acts of kindness -large or small - can make a difference in someone's life. It can be as simple as holding the door for the person walking in behind you, lending your neighbor a helping hand, or taking the time to share a few kind words.   Today may be your chance to help change the world - or your small part of it - for the better.



Nicholas Christ is the President and CEO of BayCoast Bank. More information on the Just Right Crew is available at www.justright.me.

Send Us Your Lees Market Receipts
Lees Martket
Lees Supports the community


Shop at Lees Market in Westport and bring or mail your receipts to WRWA. Lees will donate 1% of the total to WRWA!




Many Thanks to Our Corporate Supporters

Lees Martket
MCC Logo