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Continuing Ed Scholarship Deadline is July 31st.

The Westport Fishermen’s Association recognizes the importance of ongoing support for college students and awards up to three continuing education $500 scholarships a year to students entering their sophomore, junior or senior year. Undergraduate students can receive an award for up to four years, and need not be prior year recipients to apply.  The application can be found here: WFA-ContinuingEducationScholarship

The WFA Continuing Scholarship awards will be announced in August and checks will be disbursed at that time.

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WFA 2017 Merit Scholarship Winner

 The Westport Fishermen’s Association is pleased to announce Connor Brown has received the WFA $650 Merit scholarship for 2017. This award is based on academic and civic excellence.

Connor is a 2017 graduate of Westport High School and he plans to attend the University of Rhode Island, majoring in biomedical engineering. In addition to being President of the National Honor Society, Connor challenged himself with numerous AP courses during his high school career. He is active in the community and a three sport athlete, as well as lifeguard at Horseneck State Beach.  In addition, he performed a field study on the Westport River for his senior biology project, testing for the amount of nitrates and phosphates present in the water.

The Board of Directors would like to extend their congratulations and wish Connor much success in the future. In addition, the WFA would also like to recognize and thank all of our generous members, sponsors and community friends who contribute to our scholarship fund throughout the year.

In addition to the merit scholarship to graduating high school students, the Westport Fishermen’s Association also awards continuing scholarships to support students throughout their college career. More information is available on the WFA website at http://westportriver.org/scholarship/

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EPA Inaction on Westport TMDLs Prompts Legal Action

The Buzzards Bay Coalition (BBC) and the Westport Fisherman’s Association (WFA) filed a 60-day Notice of their Intent to Sue U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and Acting Regional Administrator Deborah Szaro under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) for their failure of perform their nondiscretionary duty to approve or disapprove the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the Westport Rivers Estuary within the statutorily-mandated time period. The TMDL is a CWA-required cleanup plan designed to reduce nitrogen pollution and restore water quality in the rivers.

Read the full notice: PressRelease-WestportTMDLNoticetoSueEPA042717

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Spring 2017 Newsletter released

Our spring newsletter has been mailed to all current members and is now available online. Check out all the latest news and event information. We have the Road Race coming up and then a shipwreck exhibit at the Lifesaving Station this summer.

Advocacy updates, the latest new catch, information about river herring, and photos from the annual meeting are also featured, along with columns from Cap’n Cukie and WFA President Jack Reynolds.

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Salt Marsh Loss Report Released

In 2016 the Westport Fishermen’s Association sounded the alarm about rapid degradation of salt marsh islands, particularly those in the West Branch of the Westport River.  Salt marsh islands are a characteristic feature of both branches of the Westport Rivers. These productive coastal wetlands are important because they protect properties from storm surges, remove nutrients from the water and carbon from the atmosphere, and provide critical habitat for fish, shellfish, and shorebirds. In response, we teamed up with the Buzzards Bay Coalition, the Marine Biological Laboratory Ecosystems Center, and the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program to measure the rate of salt marsh loss and try to identify the causes.

The data are in and the news is not good at all. The Westport River is losing salt marsh islands at an accelerating rate and they are projected to entirely disappear within 60 years if nothing is done. Read the summary report here:  Saltmarsh_loss_report_FINAL

Additional detail is in the full report:  Westport Marsh Final Report_Mar2017

 

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Horseneck Beach Park Interpreter Position Open

Horseneck Beach SR – 2017 Seasonal Park Interpreter Job Posting

The state DCR has posted a seasonal job opening for Horseneck State Beach Park Interpreter for the summer of 2017 (June to Labor Day weekend). Duties include staffing the WFA’s Horseneck Point Lifesaving Station. Check out the job description above and contact Amy Wilmot at [email protected] for more information.

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Salt Marsh Study Underway

The Westport River salt marsh study is in full swing. One round of field sampling has been completed. To document the marsh losses that seem to be accelerating this

Molly Weiner on Bailey's Flat

Molly Weiner taking a core sample on Bailey’s Flat

summer, a volunteer will take drone aerial photographs of the specific test sites we have selected for comparison to historical satellite photos dating back to 1938.

Our intern, Molly Weiner, will be staying on a few extra weeks to do additional data analysis and interpretation, so we are looking to raise more funds to continue to pay her a stipend. Donations welcome! Online at www.westportriver.org/donate/ or by mail to WFA, PO Box 83, Westport Point, MA 02791.

Molly Weiner, intern, and Linda Deegan, Wood's Hole senior scientist examining marsh

Molly Weiner and Wood’s Hole senior scientist Linda Deegan examining marsh

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WFA Merit Scholarship Winners

The Westport Fishermen’s Association is pleased to announce two local recipients of the WFA Merit scholarship for 2016. Reaghan Tripp and Lily Gelinas have each been chosen to receive a $650.00 award for academic and civic excellence.

Reaghan is a 2016 graduate of Westport High School and she plans to attend Ohio State University. She is the daughter of Amy & Scott Tripp of Westport MA.  Reaghan is a National Honor Society member and ranked at the top of her class academically. She also played varsity soccer and basketball and is an active volunteerReaghan Tripp and mentor in her school, church and community. She is a member of STEEL (Students That Exemplify Extraordinary Leadership). Reaghan plans to major in public health with an environmental sciences track, so she can teach others that the key to healthier people is by creating a healthier environment.

Lily Gelinas is graduating from Bishop Stang High School in Dartmouth this year and wilLIly for WFAl start at Johnson & Wales University in the fall. Her parents are Jennifer and Steve Gelinas of Westport. Lily’s guidance counselor praised Lily’s diligence and effort in her honors track academic program, while participating in volleyball and winter track. She is a member of the National Honor Society and has participated in a wide array of community service projects. She has been a regular volunteer at Westport Fishermen’s Association events. In addition to studying Human Resources, Lily plans to minor in Environmental Sustainability.

The Board of Directors would like to extend their congratulations and wish Reaghan and Lily much success in the future. In addition, the WFA would also like to recognize and thank all of our generous members, sponsors and community friends who contribute to our scholarship fund throughout the year.

 

 

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Westport River Salt Marsh Study

Partners & Project Plan: 

The Westport Fishermen’s Association is partnering with the Buzzards Bay Coalition (BBC) to have the renowned Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) conduct a study this summer of the decline in salt marshes in the West Branch of the river. Dr. Linda Deegan will oversee the project. She is a senior scientist in the MBL Ecosystems Center. She has studied salt marsh loss in the Plum Island estuary.

The project will include developing a historical timeline of marsh loss and upland land use changes, comparing areas of creek widening and marsh loss with other more stable areas. In addition, the scientists will assess some potential causes, using image analysis compared to timing of coastal storms, rate of sea level rise, upland development, changes of sediment inputs and nutrient delivery. The study may also measure potential nutrient delivery in groundwater using well point sampling multiple times over the summer.  Finally, the study proposes to assess the structure and strength of the creek banks to evaluate their vulnerability to storms.

Help Fund the Study!

The WFA needs to raise up to $5,000 to fund a college student intern to conduct the field work and data collection. The MBL, BBC and WFA are all providing additional support, including laboratory analysis, staff support and site access. The Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program will assist with the historical imagery analysis. This study will quantify the problem and point toward some of the contributors to this alarming collapse of salt marshes, which in turn degrades the habitat for fish and shellfish in our river.

To support this project you can send a check to WFA, PO Box 83, Westport Point, MA 02791, marked for ‘salt marsh study” or make an online donation via PayPal at http://westportriver.org/donate/. 100% of donations will go toward the intern stipend for this study. Thank you!