News & Events

River Center Family Days

Date: August 7
Location: WRWA’s River Center, 493 County Road
Time: 9 am-2 pm, register for 1 hour slots
Price: $10 per family

Description: Join WRWA for our Family Days tours, where guests will be able to view the educational aspects of the river center. Features include; aquariums with local flora and fauna, a virtual reality sand table, a large-scale painting of the Westport River Watershed, a microscope, and a pollinator garden.

Email riverenter@wrwa.com to book a visit! There is a maximum of 8 people per group. 

 

WRWA’s Summer Gala

Date: Saturday, August 14th, 2021
Location: 77 Brayton Point Road, Westport, MA
Time: 4 pm-7 pm
Price: Tickets $100 per person for members and $120 per person at the door and for nonmembers

The Westport River Watershed Alliance will hold its annual Summer Gala on Saturday, August 14th, from 4-7 p.m. at 77 Brayton Point Road in Westport, MA, overlooking beautiful Richmond Pond.

There will be live music by Joe Mulholland Trio featuring saxophonist Stan Strickland, lots of great food, an open bar, as well as a silent auction of valuable and unique items.  Auction items will be available for viewing in advance at www.westportwatershed.org.   Tickets are $100 per person for members, $120 per person at the door and for non-members.    

Don’t miss Westport’s best party!  This is WRWA’s most important fund-raiser of the year, and support helps fund valuable science and education initiatives. 

 

Gala Tickets

 
 

River Rats

Dates:  August 17, 18, 19
Time: 10AM to 11AM
Location: Baby Beach on Cherry and Webb Lane (Parking Pass Required)
Cost: $10 members/ $12 nonmembers

Join WRWA this summer at the beach, for children ages 3-6. Each session will feature an hour at the beach during which participants will listen for shore birds, use nets to catch fish and crabs and explore the sand for hidden creatures. Hands-on investigations, activities, games and crafts will help participants learn about animals at the beach.

River Rats

River Center Opening

WRWA’s River Center Commemorative Booklet. This booklet is a chronicle of the construction and renovation project, transforming the old Head Garage to the new River Center, with a brief history of the building dating back to the early 18th century.

2020 Summer Internships

Become one of our WRWA summer interns!

The Westport River Watershed Alliance is seeking two qualified candidates to fill a seasonal, summer internship position.  Preference given to current UMass Dartmouth or BCC students for this grant funded internship sponsored by Baycoast Bank.  The position is 30 hrs/week at a rate of $12.75hr, from early June until mid 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 here.

WRWA Seeking Volunteers for River Day in June, Organizing Meeting February 2, 2013

To celebrate Rivers Month and the summer solstice in June the Westport River Watershed Alliance is hosting their annual River Day festival on Saturday June 22 and new this year a bike ride on Saturday June 8. WRWA is looking for volunteers to help with either event. We invite you to join us for the first volunteer meeting at the Watershed Alliance’s office located at 1151 Main Rd. in Westport on Saturday, February 2nd from 9am to 10:30am. Refreshments will be provided.

River Day is WRWA’s family friend-raiser where the public can enjoy children’s activities, learn from interesting exhibitors, hear fun entertainment and appreciate the beauty of our river and watershed. On June 8th volunteers are needed for the bike ride registration and ride-related tasks. On June 22nd at River Day 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 Landing and new this year the bicycle ride where riders will circumnavigate the watershed. 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 Appeals Conservation Commission’s Decision

On Friday, December 28, 2012, the Westport River Watershed Alliance (WRWA) requested that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issue a Superseding Order of Resource Area Delineation based on the wetland boundaries accepted by the Westport Conservation Commissions in response to an Abbreviated Notice of Resource Area Delineation at the Prestige Auto Mart property at 1058 State Road, Westport, MA (DEP File # 80-2029). 

WRWA is appealing the Westport Conservation Commission approved Order of Resource Area Delineation.  WRWA believes the order did not adequately address filled wetlands on the property.  Fill has been placed on the property in the past, and the location of filled wetlands has a bearing on proposed activities on the site and the application of state wetland laws and regulations.

Matt Patrick, the WRWA’s Executive Director, said, “The Prestige Auto project sets a bad precedent for this area which recharges Bread and Cheese Brook, a major tributary to the East Branch of the Westport River.  The Mass Estuaries Report attributes 33% of the East Branch’s total nitrogen to sub watershed 3.  Eventually, the tax payer is going to get a bill for cleaning up the River so we don’t want the nitrogen pollution to get any worse than it is already.  Any development in this area will get a great deal of scrutiny from us.”

Lisabeth White, WRWA’s Director of Advocacy, in a letter to the town of Westport’s Planning Board, Conservation Commission and Board of Health, added, “…there already exists numerous flooding and stormwater problems in that vicinity along Rt. 6 due to lack of adequate stormwater controls. Property on Bower Avenue in particular has been severely impacted by storm waters entering and flooding the property, including the house.”

Local Students Help with Dune Restoration Project

November 5, 2012

Five local schools fromFall River,Westport, and Dartmouth have participated in a field study exploring the dunes at Cherry & Webb Beach in partnership with the Westport River Watershed Alliance.  The field study was part of the Dune Restoration Project, which was run for the twelfth time this year.

Students learned about the unique plants of the dune ecosystem and planted approximately 2,000 American beach grass seedlings in an ongoing effort to restore an eroded section of the dunes.  Participants were able to observe the results of the work classes did in year’s past.  More than half the plants survived and have grown and taken root in the sand.  The beach grass planting builds on a dune restoration effort that was begun by local Westport resident Mr. Ben Guy over 30 years ago.

The students traveled to four different teaching stations led by Watershed Alliance staff and volunteers, where they learned about dune ecology and the unique plants found there.  The goal of the project is to not only teach students natural science, but also to build a sense of stewardship among the students for the special natural communities found inWestport.   

The Dune Restoration Project is part of the Westport River Watershed Alliance’s (WRWA) Watershed Education Program (WEP).  Classes from Pre- K through High School participate in the WEP program.  Each year students learn about different aspects of their watershed.  The Westport River Watershed Alliance provides the program as a compliment to the science curriculum each grade is covering for the year. It provides a hands-on way for students to not only learn science, but also about the habitats that are in their own backyards. 

Funding for the Dune Restoration Project was made possible from a Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  B-WET is an environmental education program that promotes locally relevant, experiential learning in the K-12 environment.  Special thanks are also extended to foundations that support our WEP program:  Helen Ellis Charitable Trust, Van Sloun Family Foundation, Elizabeth Atwood Lawrence Trust, and BayCoast Bank.

WRWA’s mission is to restore, protect, celebrate, and sustain the natural resources of the WestportRiverand its watershed which encompasses six towns:  Dartmouth, Fall River, Freetown, and Westportin Massachusetts, and Little Compton and Tiverton in Rhode Island.  WRWA accomplishes its goal of protecting the watershed through education, advocacy, community outreach and direct investment in watershed improvement projects.   For further information on WRWA, please contact the office staff at (508) 636-3016 or visit www.westportwatershed.org.

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Westport River Watershed Alliance Receives Cultural Council Grant

Westport– The Westport River Watershed Alliance has been awarded a matching grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC).  Public funding such as MCC’s plays a vital role for organizations as it allows the organization to leverage new money and also educate the public about the Commonwealth’s commitment to supporting the arts, humanities and interpretive sciences throughout the state.  Westport River Watershed Alliance  is grateful for the funds made available again this year.

Since first receiving the MCC Organizational Support Grant twelve years ago, WRWA has been able to expand its award-winning Watershed Education Program that serves over 3,000 students, publish its bi-monthly newsletter RIVER NEWS, and host river activities.   

MCC’s mission is to promote excellence, education, access and diversity in the arts, humanities and interpretive sciences in order to improve the quality of life for allMassachusettsresidents and to contribute to the economic vitality of our communities. The not-for-profit cultural industry has a multi- billion dollar economic impact in the state and supports every community.    

WRWA’s mission is to restore, protect, celebrate, and sustain the natural resources of the WestportRiverand its watershed which encompasses six towns: Dartmouth, Fall River, Freetown, and Westportin Massachusetts, and Little Compton and Tiverton in Rhode Island. WRWA accomplishes its mission through education, advocacy, and community outreach. To receive a report or further information call the office at 508 636-3016 or visit www.wrwa.com.

A Most Memorable Evening

Sassafras Point was the lovely setting for the Westport River Watershed Alliance’s summer gala on August 11th. 

This event happens with teams of committed volunteers and dedicated staff.  Our success comes from members and guests attendance and participation in our event. The silent auction and raffle is enhanced by generous contributions from local businesses and members who donated superb auction items.  Most fun of all is the inspired bidding!

Many thanks to all who helped make this year’s annual event another outstanding success.  To Doug Reed and Will Makris for loaning their lovely meadow on the upper banks of the East Branch of the River; to the many hard working committees and volunteers for their time and energies; to our members and local businesses that donated superb auction items.  Special gratitude to Wilhelmina’s Catering, the services of Perfect Pour and music by Blues Berry Jam; to our generous food contributors: Chris Schlesinger, Coastal Roasters, Formaggio Kitchen, Green Gal Catering, Milk & Honey Bazaar, Spindrift Soda, Steve Johnson from Rendezvous; Ten Cousins, The Back Eddy, The Bayside Restaurant, and Wicked Kickin’ Savory Cheesecakes; to Sylvan Nursery for their composting services. 

Special thanks to Corporate Sponsors for their year-round support:   ABC Rent-A-Tent, BayCoast Bank, Bittersweet Farm Restaurant, Elegant Restrooms of Rent-A-Jon, Fiduciary Trust Company International, Lees Market, Lees Oil Service, Mechanics Cooperative Bank. Their generosity supports WRWA’s mission and the many projects that protect theWestportRiver’s 100 square-mile watershed.

BayCoast Bank, supports WRWA’s Summer intern program with $10,000 contribution

July 30, 2012

BayCoast Bank, formerly Citizens~Union Savings Bank, has contributed the sum of $10,000 to the Westport River Watershed Alliance (WRWA) to support the organization’s summer internship program.

Since its inception in 1976, WRWA has grown from 15 members to more than 2000. Numerous projects have been developed over the years that promote education for all ages, perform scientific research and advocacy for environmental issues, and celebrate the watershed. Currently, WRWA’s major programs are: the Watershed Education Program in local schools, water quality monitoring,  and watershed improvement projects. WRWA is seen as a leader in the environmental grassroots movement inNew England.

The WRWA hires students from local colleges to assist with its education and monitoring programs.
BayCoast Bank’s investment allows for the WRWA to bring two interns aboard for the summer: Ami Araujo and Katie Daffinee, both students at the Biology Department at UMass Dartmouth. Ami Araujo is a 2012 graduate of the school, who holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and who will pursue a Master’s Degree in Marine Biology this fall at her alma mater.

Katie Daffinee is also a recent graduate of UMass Dartmouth, who hopes to work in the microbiology field in order to help uncover the mysteries of the ocean and conserve its extremely important habitats.

BayCoast Bank recently opened its newest branch inWestport at 787 Main Road. BayCoast Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Nicholas Christ said, “We look forward to being an integral part of theWestportcommunity, and the WRWA does great work forWestportand the region. We are happy to be able to help in this cause; helping students to learn about new and interesting employment opportunities by working in the field has always been a high priority of ours.”

WRWA Executive Director Matt Patrick thanked BayCoast for its generous contribution, adding, “It helps us do two things: educate children and provide work experience for two very promising graduates from our local state university who are interested in pursuing careers that will benefit the environment.”

About BayCoast Bank

BayCoast Bank, formerly Citizens~Union Savings Bank, is a mutually-owned savings bank which was chartered in 1851.Currently, the Bank serves  southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, with locations in Fall River, Fairhaven,  New Bedford, North Dighton, Seekonk, Somerset, Swansea, Westport,   and Tiverton, RI.  BayCoast Bank offers a wide range of financial services including investment management, trust services, and insurance and brokerage services to consumers and businesses.  Its affiliates include BayCoast Financial Services, offering stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities and college savings plans; and Partners Insurance Group, LLC, an independent agency representing several insurance companies that provide automobile, home, life and business coverage. Nicholas Christ is the Bank’s President and Chief Executive Officer. Main headquarters are at 30 Bedford Street, Fall River, MA02721. For additional information on the Bank or its services, please visit www.BayCoastBank.com or call 508-678-7641.

Westport River Watershed Alliance Announces Partnership with 1% for the Planet

May 22, 2012

The Westport River Watershed Alliance is a new nonprofit partner of 1% for the Planet, an alliance of over 1,380 member companies in 43 countries that give one percent of revenues to environmental causes.

WRWA is now eligible to receive donations from 1% member companies, placing them among a diverse, global network of environmental organizations.  1% member businesses fuel this non-profit network through their annual contributions, which totaled over $22 million in 2010.  Partnership with 1% greatly expands the potential pool of funding to which WRWA can look to for support.

The newly approved WRWA works to restore, protect and sustain the natural resources of the Westport River and its watershed.

Over 2,300 non-profits worldwide are included in the 1% network, and over $70 million has been funneled to its nonprofit partners to date.  “The intent of 1% for the Planet is to help fund these diverse environmental organizations so that collectively they can be a more powerful force in solving the world’s problems,” Yvon Chouinard, founder of 1% for the Planet.

WRWA’s executive director, Matt Patrick, spoke enthusiastically about joining 1% for the Planet, “It’s an honor to be a part of this effort to fund the good works of the many environmental organizations throughout the world.  We look forward to working with them to make our corner of the world a better place.”

 About 1% for the Planet

Started in 2002 by Yvon Chouinard, founder and owner of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, owner of Blue Ribbon Flies, 1% for the Planet is a growing global movement of over 1,350 member companies in 43 countries that donate one percent of their sales to environmental organizations worldwide. Each day, more than one new business joins the 1% for the Planet movement. As a network, the 1% community has become a frontrunner in funding the work of environmental groups around the world. To learn more go to: www.onepercentfortheplanet.org  

New Focus for Westport River Watershed Alliance

October 31, 2011

New Focus for Westport River Watershed Alliance

The Westport River Watershed Alliance will focus more of its time and resources on protecting and restoring the Westport River watershed.  With a unanimous budget vote from the board of directors, the organization is concentrating on being the watchdog of the Westport River watershed.

Executive Director, Matt Patrick, said, “Not many people are aware of our everyday activities on behalf of the river and its watershed but it is quite substantial.”  Patrick went on to say that while reading through the history of the organization he was impressed with all the work they have done and all the work currently in progress.  “We don’t even get paid for most of this work and it would never happen without us.” 

When asked for some examples, Patrick responded, “There’s the River Road project on the upper West Branch of the River where shellfish beds have been closed for years because of high coliform bacteria counts.  We spent about $10,000 in staff time to produce the testing and write a grant for the Town of Westport.  The town won the grant for $20,000 to design a system to catch the road runoff before it goes into the river.  The Westport River Watershed Alliance did not get anything from the grant.”

Patrick went on to say that while education programs will continue, they will be scaled back in proportion to the financial support that is available.  The new executive director made a point of saying, “Extensive polling of our members showed that they want us to do more to protect the watershed. We are going to focus our resources more intently on what people want us to do.”

Patrick gave more examples, “The town needed help with an application for a mandatory state Municipal Separate Storm System permit that had lapsed while the town was between town managers, so they called us and we were happy to do it.  Another Town project, where Sam Tripp Brook runs under Drift Road, was initially rejected by the Conservation Commission and rightfully so.  The new interim Town Administrator, Jack Healey, called our staff scientists to get their advice.  These are just some of the daily occurrences that keep our office busy.”

WRWA’s mission is to restore, protect, celebrate, and sustain the natural resources of the Westport River and its watershed which encompasses six towns:  Dartmouth, Fall River, Freetown, and Westport in Massachusetts, and Little Compton and Tiverton in Rhode Island.  WRWA accomplishes its goal of protecting the watershed through education, advocacy, and community outreach.   For further information on WRWA, please contact the office staff at (508) 636-3016 or visit www.westportwatershed.org.

 

WRWA Tackles Chronic Pollution of the Upper West Branch of the River

September 28, 2012

The Board of Directors of the Westport River Watershed Alliance voted last night to make a significant investment in determining the problems that have closed shellfish beds in the upper half of the West Branch of theWestportRiversince 2009. The Board voted to enter into a contract with the Horsley Witten Group, who are recognized experts in the field of stormwater runoff. Board President, Sally Ann Ledbetter was pleased with the vote saying, “Thanks to generous contributions to our Watershed Improvement Fund, we are able to make this important contribution toward identifying and seeking remedies for River contamination. The project will also have a positive economic impact onWestportand the surrounding communities.”

Horsley Witten will prepare a computer modeling analysis of land uses and pathogen or bacteria sources in the area. The analysis will rely on the EPA’s Protocol for Developing Pathogen total maximum daily loads (TMDLs).

Executive Director, Matt Patrick, said, “We have been doing this piecemeal for a couple of years now. Finding one source of the bacteria will not be enough to open up the entire area closed to shellfishing. It’s time to look at all potential sources of pollution. When we have the complete diagnosis, we will be able to engage the community to create a plan to comprehensively solve this chronic problem.”

The Westport River Watershed Alliance is a nonprofit, environmental education and advocacy group formed in 1976 to protect and conserve the natural resources of theWestportRiverand its 100 square mile watershed. The watershed encompasses land in the towns ofWestport,Dartmouth,Fall River,Freetown, Tiverton and Little Compton.