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
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.
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
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.
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 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 and Wood’s Hole senior scientist Linda Deegan examining marsh
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 volunteer 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 will 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.
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!
Don’t forget to reserve your oyster stew dinner tickets! The Westport Fishermen’s Association is hosting its Oyster Stew Dinner and Annual Meeting on February 9th at St. John the Baptist Church, 945 Main Rd., Westport.
Doors open at 6 PM and stew will be served at 6:30. Reservations for the dinner are $15 each and can be made online at http://westportriver.org/oyster-stew-dinner/ or by check mailed to WFA, PO Box 83, Westport Pt, MA 02791. Deadline for reservation is February 5, 2016.
The evening’s featured speakers from Trout Unlimited will give an update on local sea- run brook trout streams and recent protection efforts in Westport. Sea-run brook trout are becoming even rarer along the Massachusetts coast, especially with the recent loss of Cape Cod’s Santuit River population.
Westport is still a haven for the trout, but the risks are many. Come find out about the threats to their survival and what is being done to protect them. The presentation, which will begin around 7:30 after a short WFA business meeting, is free and open to the public.