Westport River Watershed Alliance
River News - June, 2015
Celebrating the Westport River
Steve  Connors, Community Engagement Manager  


A Big thank you to all the sponsors and volunteers who helped make River Day so much fun.  This year's River Day festival was a big success, with the most attendees in recent memory. The weather was fine, and many hundreds of people came out to help us celebrate our beautiful Westport River.


Our thanks go out to Whaling City Transit, for providing shuttle service from the Middle School to the Head. Many people took advantage of the ample free parking, and hopped on the bus for the quick ride to the festival.

The Head was filled with music, food, and fun activities for kids and adults alike. We extend our thanks to the very talented Westport High School Jazz Band, the engaging folk duo Atwater-Donnelly, and the ever-entertaining Spindle Rock River Rats for providing the sound track for the day.


We want to give special acknowledgement to the many volunteers who helped the kids build their wee boats, make stilts, and create colorful fish print t-shirts. The May Pole dance, face painting and other on-going games provided smiles to all who attended River Day.


The highlights of the day included a captivating talk and demonstration of live birds of prey, as well as the awarding of ribbons for the winners of the annual poster contest for Westport Elementary School students. The Westport Historical Society hosted a walking tour of the historic Head of Westport, which ended up at the Head Garage, where WRWA volunteers gave tours of the building which will soon become the River Center - future headquarters and science center for the Watershed Alliance. Thanks to all that helped or attended. 

Electronics Recycle June 24 at WRWA 

For those who missed out...our last recycle day filled 2 trucks. We are thrilled to again have Indie Cycle LLC provide an Electronics Recycling event at WRWA's office.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015   9 AM - 11 am 
Westport River Watershed Alliance

1151 Main Road

Westport, MA


A $10 DISPOSAL FEE APPLIES for all TVs & Monitors, mini-fridges, air conditioners, dehumidifiers and other coolant containing appliances.


ITEMS ACCEPTED AT NO CHARGE: Computers, laptops, PDA's, cell phones, mice, keyboards, printers, toner cartridges, CD/DVD players, radios, network equipment, wires, stereos, speakers, telephones, VHS tapes, microwaves, small household appliances, and batteries of any size, type or shape.


ITEMS NOT ACCEPTPED: light bulbs, furniture or any hazardous materials such as paint and broken TV tubes.


The trucks have limited capacity, so make sure to get to our headquarters at 1151 Main Road early in the morning. Volunteers needed to help load the trucks and direct traffic! Call or email Steve at [email protected] to help out.


Indie Cycle, LLC, has a zero landfill policy. We 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 our website at www.indiecycle.com for more information.


Indie Cycle's motto is : ZERO LANDFILL - ZERO TAX DOLLARS and "Everyday is Earth Day With Indie Cycle"

Save Your Lees Market Receipts

  Lees Martket

Lees Market gives 1% of the receipt total to the community charities.  If you shop at Lees, please save your slips for us, the proceeds goes toward all our programs and projects that protect the River.  Lees Market grocery receipts can be dropped off at our office.  Thank you for helping and shopping at Lees!
WRWA has two $100 scholarships for our Summer Programs
Shelli Costa, Education Director

The Westport River Watershed Alliance is offering two $100 scholarships to attend our Summer Programs for kids ages 7-15. In WRWA's Summer Programs children discover marine life, create eco-crafts, learn about coastal habitats and enjoy games on the beach. Coastal Explorers (ages 7-9) runs Monday through Friday and is offered the weeks of July 6 and/or July 20. In WRWA's River Edventures program (ages 9-11) kids delve deeper into understanding our environment by learning about food chains and the creatures that make up our local ecosystem. The program runs on two different weeks: July 13 August 3. For older participants the Watershed Explorers (ages 12-15) learn about the ecology of the Westport River and spend three days kayaking on the Westport River; it runs Monday through Friday during the week of July 27.


To apply for the partial scholarships send an email to [email protected] to receive an application form. For more information about WRWA's eco-tastic Summer Programs please visit the WRWA website: http://westportwatershed.org/education/summer-programs/ 

Is the River Clean Enough for Swimming - Check Our Website Weekly

Roberta Carvalho, Science Director


Volunteers Kiri Peirce and Ron Price help with sampling. 

WRWA has been sampling the River to test for fecal coliform bacteria since 1991; monitoring for the presence of bacteria pollution. Bacteria do not generally damage the ecosystem, but can make people sick when they eat tainted seafood, or  swim in contaminated water. They are also a marker to identify the possible presence of other pathogens that come from the same fecal sources. Bacteria in the River comes from human wastewater and domestic and wild animal waste


You can visit our website weekly to see water testing results for the Westport River.Go to this link:  http://westportwatershed.org/river-info/water-resources/ 


The laboratory tests are done by the City of New Bedford Health Department Lab. WRWA's collection and analysis of samples has been utilized by the town and state agencies to document bacterial contamination in the river. WRWA's data is not used to open and close shellfish areas, this sampling is done by the State Division of Marine Fisheries.


Water quality testing results for local public beaches can be found on the state's website:



Bacteria/pathogen pollution is transported to the river primarily by rainfall and resultant runoff. The amount, duration, intensity, and time span between rain events are factors that influence fecal coliform levels in the river. Rainfall is responsible for washing fecal coliform into the river. The amount of rainfall directly affects the amount of fecal coliform in the river. During periods of drought, fecal coliform counts in the river tend to drop significantly. When there is prolonged or large amounts of rain, the effect on fecal coliform is two-fold. First the increase in rainfall simply adds more fecal coliform to the river. Second, the rain decreases the salinity in the estuary, making it more favorable for bacterial growth. Temperature affects fecal coliform growth only when it is extremely cold. In January and February, bacterial growth is inhibited as a result of the cold water temperatures. In the months of May through December, temperature does not seem to play a role in limiting or fostering bacterial growth. During this period the amount of rainfall is the most important factor.


Looking back at the last twenty years of WRWA's monitoring, conditions are greatly improving. These improvements have allowed state shellfish regulators to change the segments for the opening of conditional closures shellfish beds. This increases the availability of shellfish harvest potential.

WRWA Gala August 8 - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Get your tickets now for our annual Gala, to be held on Saturday, August 8th, from 5-8 p.m. at Quansett Farm on Horseneck Road, with sweeping views of Allens Pond, Buzzard's Bay and the Elizabeth Islands. This year's theme is A Midsummer Night's Dream, and this setting will surely make dreams come true.


Live music, open bar, silent and live auctions - Tickets $85 in advance, $100 at the door. Don't miss it!  


Invitations are going out soon - or buy your tickets online (link below), or call WRWA to reserve. This is our most important fund-raiser of the year, and your support helps us will all our important science and education initiatives. Hope to see you in August!


To make your reservations today visit our website: http://westportwatershed.org/news-events/summer-gala/ 
Rambling River Rides

This summer, WRWA is offering some fun and scenic guided bike rides around the Westport River. Our first ride will be a family ride on Saturday, July 11, starting in Adamsville at 9:30 a.m. The approximately 8-mile route will include stops to view osprey nests and the herring run, then a stop for a walk at the Knubble and snacks further along the way.


This event is free for WRWA members, with a suggested donation of $20 per person. Join the WRWA and the whole family rides for free! Space is limited to 20 people. Helmets required! Reserve your spot by July 1st.


Call the WRWA office at 508-636-3016 or email Steve at [email protected].


Look to River News for updates on additional River Rides to be offered in August and September.

Members Only Open House at WRWA's Future River Center

We will be hosting a tour of the Head Garage, our future home and River Center, on Thursday, July 16 from 4-6 p.m.

This is a members only event, with wine and cheese, and with displays, drawings and other plans for our new headquarters and science center. Please come have a look!  RSVP by July 13 at 508-636-3016, or email Steve at [email protected].
Celebrating MCC Award and More
Gay Gillespie, Development Director 
Photo l-r Rep. Matt Muratore, Anita Walker MCC Director, Marty Jones MassDevelopment, State Senator Vinny deMacedo

Plymouth's Center for the Arts was the scene of a grant reception with State legislators who presented a replica of check for $4.5 million to Anita Walker, Director of the MA Cultural Council and Marty Jones, President and CEO of MassDevelopment. The check represents the total amount of funds awarded to organizations, large and small, to enrich and support arts and culture in our region.


WRWA is thrilled to be the recipient of some of these funds. A MA Cultural Council Facilities Fund grant for $450,000 will support the restoration and adaptation of the historic Head Garage to be our new River Center. This prestigious grant requires a 1:1 match which will get the project even closer to its $1.8 million goal.


Many thanks to our Legislators State Senator Michael Rodrigues and Representative Paul Schmid who enthusiastically support the Cultural Council budget. This year's MCC budget is proposed to increase to $14 million but awaits final approval by conference committee before being signed by Governor Baker.


On another note, WRWA is pleased to announce the receipt of two large grants. An unsolicited grant for general operating support for $25,000 was given by the MeLampy Lawrence Trust and a generous $10,000 grant from the Oliver S. and Jennie R. Donaldson Trust was given to support WRWA's new River Center project.

Many Thanks to Our Corporate Supporters



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Lees Oil


(508) 636-8866