Westport River Watershed Alliance
River News - January, 2015
Thanks You for Making our End of Year Appeal a Success
Deborah Weaver, Executive Director fundraising_goal_met.gif
I would like to extend my thanks to the WRWA community for their warm welcome of me as the new Director. I hope to meet many of you at our upcoming events and activities. I invite you to come in and share a cup of tea, and share your stories. I am so impressed by the dedication of the  staff and Board members, I am honored to join you!
We want to take a moment to thank all our supporters and wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year! You make our work possible. Thank you! Your support will allow us to continue our work in 2015 and beyond.

We surpassed our Annual Fund Drive goal last year with $158,000 to support all operations here at WRWA.
Scholarship Funds Available 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 of $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: http://westportwatershed.org/news-events/2012-merit-scholarship/ 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, 2015. The Alliance has a proud record of environmental stewardship. The merit awards offer an opportunity to honor students who have demonstrated their interest in protecting the watershed environment.
Buoys @ the Brewery               
Gay Gillespie. Development Director


Mark your calendar today! You won't want to miss "Buoys at the Brewery" on Saturday March 7 at Buzzards Bay Brewing, 98 Horseneck Road, Westport. Over 50 area artists have decorated buoys in different mediums and will be silent auctioned at the event. The show opens at 11am Sat. morning and the auction closes at 6:30 pm.

Buoys can be viewed at www.westportwatershed.org beginning Feb. 7. If you are unable to attend the show and would like to place a bid, you can leave your bid with Gay at [email protected] or leave a message at 508-636-3016.

This event is a wonderful opportunity to see friends and beat the winter doldrums.

The Bread and Cheese Brook Study -
Why It Was Done and What We Learned
Betsy White, Advocacy Director

The results of the Bread and Cheese Brook study were recently given to the Town and supporting local organizations by the Coastal Systems Program (CSP) at the School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) at UMass-Dartmouth. This study was supported by Westport's Community Preservation Committee and in part by the Westport Fishermen's Association (WFA). WRWA provided help with sampling and outreach.

Bread and Cheese Brook in subwatershed 3.


In May of 2013, The Massachusetts Estuaries Project (MEP) report for the Westport River was submitted by the CSP to the Town of Westport, which revealed that the nitrogen levels in the River are 18% over the healthy limit for water quality, considered the restoration target. The report also identified the region in the northwest part of the watershed, referred to as Subwatershed #3 (see map), as the area which contributed the highest amount of nitrogen (58%) to the East Branch. This MEP data provided valuable information about general nitrogen sources and amounts in the watershed, and also furnished a starting point for looking closer at what and where the sources are. By pinpointing specific areas and sources, options for reducing the nitrogen loads can be more cost effective and have a larger impact on cleaning up the River. With this in mind, the Town and the WFA believed that supporting a study that took a more detailed look at loads in subwatershed #3 was a reasonable course of action.


Subwatershed #3 is the land area through which Bread and Cheese Brook runs. This brook feeds into the upper Westport River, which then feeds into the East Branch at the Head of Westport. The Bread and Cheese Brook study divided this subwatershed into smaller sections and collected water quality data specifically from those sections (see map). Water level gauges were put in the individual brook segments and samples were taken twice a month. The research was done over a 20 month period in order to take into account seasonal changes in water levels and increase the accuracy of the data.


Gauge/sample locations

The results of the Bread and Cheese Brook Study show that there are two specific areas in subwatershed #3 that are the most significant contributors of nitrogen into Bread and Cheese Brook: Between Old Bedford Road (WRWA 1) and Rt. 6 (WRWA 2), and between Rt. 6, Gifford Road (WRWA 4), and Rt. 177 (WRWA 3). These areas are also the most developed parts of the subwatershed on a per acre basis.


What We Learned


Recommendations presented by the CSP include managing nitrogen loads from septic systems and using the natural resources in the area, such as wetlands and ponds, to better absorb the nitrogen before it reaches the Westport River. These are two of potentially many options which the Town can consider before taking nitrogen load reduction actions. These actions will be necessary in order for the Town of Westport to meet the Westport River specific nutrient restoration targets established by the MEP. The Town will be able to measure the potential effectiveness of these options by working with the CSP to model scenarios using a tool developed by the MEP Technical Team.


By working together and tapping into the myriad of "human" resources that are available, the Town of Westport should be able to determine and develop the course or courses of action that will benefit the Westport River by reducing the nitrogen loads from Subwatershed #3 as well as throughout the watershed. After all, what benefits the River really does benefit the Town. Questions regarding this report can be directed to Betsy White at b[email protected] or 508-636-3016.

WRWA to Host Wilderness First Aid Course
Wilderness First Aid Course
March 28 & 29, 2015
Cost: $150
Location: WRWA Office 1151 Main Rd. Westport
The Westport River Watershed Alliance is 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. To reserve your spot - email Shelli Costa at [email protected]. A list of course equipment will be sent to you upon registration.
Condolences to the Gillespie Family

It is with great sadness that WRWA announces the death of Chip Gillespie, beloved husband of Gay and ardent WRWA supporter. He died peacefully in his home surrounded by family after a long battle with cancer. He will be sorely missed at River Day, where he volunteered with children's activities. He leaves us with the legacy of his design work for the logo of the Alliance. Chip was a monumental community leader; his commitment to the Westport Fisherman's Association and WHALE in New Bedford helped to transform those two agencies.

A memorial service will be held on Feb 21 at 2 pm at the Westport Point Church, 1912 Main Road.

"It won't seem the same here without Chip's enthusiastic passion for everything Westport and family. We have all lost a wonderful friend and advocate, someone that reminded us everyday how lucky we are to be living in Westport. Without a doubt we will still find his spirit in the southwest wind, sailing the river forever." - Jim Whitin

Local College Student Opportunity - Become a WRWA Summer Intern

WRWA is seeking two qualified candidates to fill a seasonal, summer internship position.  The applicant must be a current UMass Dartmouth or Bristol Community College student to apply for this grant funded internship sponsored by Baycoast Bank


The position is 30 hrs/week with a pay rate of $10 per hour, from early May until the end of August. The summer interns will work with school programs, field studies, and assist our water quality monitoring program on the Westport River.  For a full description click on the internship link: 

Sign Up Now for Our Popular Summer Coastal Ecology Program for Kids
Shelli Costa, Education Director
The Westport River Watershed Alliance is offering a fun, hands on summer science program for ages 3-16.  Children discover marine life, create eco-crafts, learn about coastal habitats and enjoy games on the beach in the Coastal Explorers program.  Coastal Explorers runs Monday through Friday, 9 am - 1 pm and is being offered the weeks of July 6th -10th and July20th -24th .  The program is open to children ages 7-9 and is $160 for members and $200 for non-members. 
River Edventures will delve deeper into understanding our environment by learning about food chains and the creatures that make up our watershed ecosystem.  Participants will head out on WRWA's skiff to explore the Westport River.  The River Edventures program is for ages 9-11 and runs Monday through Friday, 9am-1pm and is being offered July 13th -17th  and August 3rd -7th.  The cost for River Edventures is $180 for members and $220 for non-members.
In the Watershed Explorers program, learn about the ecology of the Westport River, visit coastal habitats and spend three days paddling on the Westport River.  The kayaking/paddle boarding portion of the program is led by certified instructors from Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures, and includes all equipment and instruction.  Watershed Explorers runs Monday through Thursday, 9 am - 2 pm and 9 am - 3 pm on Friday.  The program is being offered during the week of July 27th-31st .  Watershed Explorers is open to children ages 12-16 (age 11 with previous kayaking experience) and is $360 for members and $400 for non-members.
Register online at www.westportwatershed.org/education/summer-programs/ or call 508-636-3016 for more information.
Dune Walk March 7
Join WRWA Director Deborah Weaver for a vigorous dune walk before the Buoys @ the Brewery event on Sat March 7th. Meet at Cherry & Webb Beach at 11 am for a walk through the dunes and back along the beach, and then join the festivities at the Brewery on Horseneck Road.
We might get lucky and see a snowy owl! Please wear sturdy footwear and warm clothes. No fee required but please pre-register by March 5 at 508-636-3016. 
Many Thanks to Our Corporate Supporters



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(508) 636-8866