WRWA, working together for clean water since 1976.
River News - March 2016
WRWA Annual Meeting Featured
Climate Change Talk by Dr. Heather Goldstone

The Westport River Watershed Alliance held its annual meeting on Sunday, March 13. Over 70 people joined us at Bittersweet Farm for brunch, a business meeting,
and an interesting and important presentation by Heather Goldstone.

Dr. Goldstone is science correspondent for WCAI and WGBH Radio, and host of Living Lab, a weekly, live interview show about science and culture. Her presentation on the effects of climate change on New England coastal communities can be viewed here https://youtu.be/wKpFd0E9XVI

WRWA presented the annual Volunteer Award to Dick Manchester, for his daily observations
of bird activity in the West Branch which has helped determine the sources of bacteria
pollution in that part of the River. His definitive data allows WRWA to better understand
the reasons for shellfish bed closures.
From left_ WRWA President Tom Schmitt_ Arthur H. Parker_ Dr. Heather Goldstone_ WRWA Executive Director Deborah Weaver and Dr. Ricardo L. Sanchez.
Arthur H. Parker and Ricardo L. Sanchez, MD were elected to the WRWA Board of Directors.  Mr. Parker is a long-time resident of Westport and Barrington, R.I., and has spent much of his career at the investment firm Standish, Ayer and Wood in Boston.
Dr. Sanchez is a Westport resident and is an emergency physician and radiologist with affiliations at  Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island and North Shore Medical Center-Union Hospital.
WRWA is very pleased to welcome both new members to the Board of Directors.

Packed house at the Shattuck Gallery for Buoy the Winter Blues

Our third annual "BUOY THE WINTER BLUES" took place the week of February 27 - March 5. This was our best attended event yet, and the art work was extraordinary.

Fifty-five regional artists outdid themselves this year with imaginative designs. For a list of the artists and photos of their art, visit: http://westportwatershed.org/wrwa/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/BUOY_WEB3116.pdf
Our thanks to Bill and Dedee Shattuck, for their generous donation of the beautiful
gallery space for our show. Great jazz music was provided by the John Stein Quartet.
Wine and beer were provided by Westport Rivers and Buzzards Bay, and Blue Martinis
by CV Liquors.

You can see photos of the Buoys on our Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/WestportRiverWatershedAlliance/

Guitarist John Stein with his band

Bill Shattuck_ Gay Gillespie and Dedee Shattuck at the Buoy Reception
Artists create a landscape painting at Brushes and Brews
Fifteen aspiring artists came out to enjoy some beer with an art lesson from Barbara Healy and Pam Clarkson. Saturday evening, February 27 at the Dedee Shattuck Gallery. Beer and wine were provided by Buzzards Bay Brewing and Westport Rivers.

WRWA Anniversary Concert With Tom Rush July 16
Please come to our 40th Anniversary celebration concert on July 16, with Tom Rush at the Westport Rivers Vineyard, co-presented with the Narrows Center for the Arts and sponsored in part by Lafrance Hospitality and Andy Paige Style.

Concert Information:
Saturday, July 16, 6-8 p.m.
Gates open at 5:00.
Rain Date: July 17.

Matt Nokoa performs with Tom Rush. Don't wait! This concert is expected to sell out.
River Center Update
The River Center is slowly becoming a reality.  We are making progress with our permitting, and have hired David Emilita to help speed that along.  Horsley and Witten have been hired to design the septic and greywater systems.
On Saturday, March 26, we are hosting an informational meeting at 10 a.m. at our Main Road Headquarters - please join us to learn more.
We have several important hearings coming up, with the Historic Commission on April 4th, and Zoning Board of Appeals on May 4th.
More information, including beautiful artist's renderings of the building and grounds, will be updated on our web page soon.  www.westportwatershed.org.

Thank you Lees Market
Save us your Lees Receipts!
Lees Market has generously continued their support of local non-profit agencies by donating a percentage of sales back to the community. The Watershed Alliance
has received over $50,000 from this program since 1989.
Please save up your market receipts and drop them off at 1151 Main Road, or mail to WRWA. PO Box 3427, Westport 02790.
Scholarship Funds Available for Local Students

The Westport River Watershed Alliance is pleased to offer a $1,000 scholarship opportunity
for graduating seniors in the Westport River watershed: Fall River, Dartmouth, Freetown, Westport, Little Compton, and Tiverton. The award was made possible by the generosity of the late Margot C. Boote and Bill Heath in memory of his parents Ruth and Bill Heath.

The merit award applications are available on the WRWA website: http://westportwatershed.org/2015/03/wrwa-scholarship-applications-due-april-1/ 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, 2016. 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.

Electronics Recycling April 20
Earth Day Events Upcoming in April:

Electronics Recycling April 20

WRWA will host another in a series of Electronics Recycling drop off events on Wednesday, April 20, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. IndieCycle of Rhode Island will be filling their trucks again, accepting the following items:

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.

Not accepted: light bulbs, furniture or any hazardous materials such as paint and broken TV tubes.

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 their website at www.indiecycle.com for more information.

Beach Clean Up April 23

Help WRWA and do something meaningful this Earth Day by coming out for our Earth Day beach clean-up at Town Beach at Cherry and Webb.  Each spring, we remove plastic bags and bottles, cans, fishing materials, and other debris from the beach, with the help of volunteers.

This year's clean up day is Saturday, April 23.  Meet us at the Town Beach parking area at 10 a.m.  We provide gloves, plastic bags and other materials.  To sign up, contact Steve at [email protected], or call us at 508-636-3016.  Groups and individuals are welcome!
Registration is open for WRWA's Summer Coastal Ecology Program

The Westport River Watershed Alliance is again offering a fun, hands on summer science program for kids ages 3-16.

River Rats - ages 3-6 (accompanied by an adult)
Wednesdays (at Gooseberry) July 6 & August 17
Thursdays (Cherry & Webb Beach) July 7 and August 18
10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Each session will feature an hour at the beach. Hands-on investigations, activities, games and crafts will help participants learn about animals at the beach.
Cost: $8 members, &10 nonmembers.

The Coastal Explorers Program - Ages 7-9.
Monday- Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Weeks of July 11-15 & July 25-29.
Children discover marine life, create eco-crafts, learn about coastal habitats and enjoy games on the beach. The program fee is $160 for WRWA members and $200 for non-members.

River Edventures - Ages 9-11.
Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Weeks of July 18-22 and August 8-12.
This program delves 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 cost for River Edventures is $180 for members and $220 for non-members.

Watershed Explorers- Ages 12-16.
Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.,
Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Week of August 1-5.
In this program, participants 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. The fee is $360 for members and $400 for non-members. Register online at: http://westportwatershed.org/education/summer-programs/ or call 508-636-3016 for more information.
ecoRI News Providing Valuable Environmental News in RI and Southeast Mass

Launched in 2009 by husband-and-wife team Frank Carini and Joanna Detz, ecoRI News-which is based in Providence, R.I.-is a digital publication dedicated to covering environmental and social justice issues in southern New England.

Born of a perceived lack of reporting on these issues, ecoRI News has quickly become the go-to environmental news source for lawmakers, policymakers, educators, scientists, activists and citizens alike.

"The region is facing so many big challenges related to climate change, food security and land use," said Detz, who is ecoRI News' executive director. "It is our role as journalists to give people the information they need to become better stewards of the environment and to hold policymakers accountable for the decisions they make." ecoRI News also has a public outreach arm which conducts educational presentations at schools and businesses about environmental issues. In 2012, the organization gave more than 100 presentations to a total of 3,500 school children about how to reduce waste at home by recycling and composting.

Now in its sixth year, ecoRI News has a staff of three full-time reporters and three freelance writers. Incorporated as a noprofit organization, ecoRI News' primary sources of funding are: reader donations, local foundations and local businesses that advertise on the website. ecoRI News seeks to continue to grow the audience for its signature publication-a free weekly e-newsletter-which goes out to 12,500 subscribers every Tuesday.

To subscribe to get the latest ecoRI News headlines delivered to your inbox, visit
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ecorinews
Twitter: @ecoRInews
Instagram: ecoRInews
It's Back! WRWA Photo Contest

The Watershed Alliance will revive the traditional photo contest for the 2017 Calendar. We will be looking for landscape and nature photos that show the unique beauty and diversity of the Westport River Watershed. Photos from all seasons are being sought.

To submit an image send your color digital images of nature in the watershed (i.e. the river, streams, wildlife, plants, etc.) to WRWA.
  • Please limit 10 pictures per person.
  • Pictures should be submitted as JPGs.
  • Image size should be no smaller than 10 x 8 inches (pixel dimensions 3000 x 2400).
  • Image resolution should be 300 dpi or greater.
  • File size should be 1MB or greater.
  • Deadline for image submission is May 1, 2016.
Each image should be given a title by the artist. Please name the image file to match the image title. The artist should also include their name, so that they can be credited in the calendar.
Questions about criteria and image submissions can be emailed to Steve Connors at
[email protected] or call 508-636-3016. By sending in your pictures you are allowing
WRWA to use your pictures to inspire the appreciation and celebration of Westport's natural resources.
Independent judges, including Bruce Burdett, editor of the Westport Shorelines, Phil Devitt, editor of the Dartmouth Chronicle, and WRWA members Wendy Goldberg and Phil Burling will select the 13 best photos (one for the cover). Send us your best watershed photo!
Spring Peeper Frog
Vernal Pools
Shannon Choquette, Commonwealth Corps Service Member

As a part of WRWA's Watershed Education Program, all first grade students in Westport Community Schools learn about vernal pools and the unique habitat they provide in our watershed. Vernal pools are very important for certain species, such as wood frogs and salamanders which lay their eggs in vernal pools, and fairy shrimp, a freshwater crustacean, which is found only in vernal pools. A defining characteristic of these bodies of water is that they dry periodically, and as a consequence fish cannot inhabit them. The lack of fish and other predators creates a safe haven for developing amphibian eggs and fairy shrimp. In Westport, there are thirteen certified vernal pools, and many more uncertified!
The transition from winter to spring is an exciting time for vernal pools. On the first warm and rainy evening of spring, often referred to as the "Big Night", salamanders and wood frogs leave their winter hibernation dens and the adults return to the same vernal pool from which they hatched in order to find a mate. Depending on the vernal pool, hundreds or thousands of frogs can gather at the same place for this massive event. At the end of the evening, the adult amphibians return to land and leave their eggs unprotected.

You may ask yourself, why are vernal pools and the animal species they support important? Local vernal pools provide an important feeding ground for many bird and small mammal populations, and therefore help to support animal diversity of the local ecosystem. Aside from being a major source of food, amphibians like frogs and salamanders are known to be indicators of environmental problems, such as pollution or chemical runoff into local water bodies. Since they breathe and absorb water through their skin, amphibians are highly susceptible to absorbing toxins from the environment.

This year, take a moment to discover one of the vernal pools in Westport. Before visiting a vernal pool, make sure that it is accessible to the public, such as the pool that is located in the Westport Land Conservation Trust's Old Harbor Wildlife Refuge property on Old Harbor Rd.
Corporate Sponsors

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F.L. Tripp and Sons
Lees Oil Service

Westport River Watershed Alliance | 508-636-3016 | http://westportwatershed.org

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