2024 Buzzards Bay Coalition Guardian Awardees

Stormy skies cleared just in time for the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s 36th Annual Meeting, held May 23rd at the Onset Bay Center (OBC). More than 100 members gathered on the OBC terrace for conversation and cheer, enjoying clear views of a placid Onset Bay over to Wickets Island and beyond.

The highlight of the evening, however, took place when guests moved into the Center’s McFadden Hall for the evening’s program and the presentation of the 2024 Buzzards Bay Guardian Awards. Presented each year since the Coalition’s founding in 1987, the Guardian Awards are selected by the board of directors to those who “have demonstrated outstanding service in the clean-up, restoration, or protection of the Bay … a Buzzards Bay Guardian is an unsung hero who deserves public recognition, not only for what they have achieved but to inspire others to make a difference.”

The 2024 Guardian Awards were presented to Senator Michael J. Rodrigues of Westport; Henri Renauld, superintendent of the Town of Mattapoisett Water & Sewer Department; and Wenley Ferguson, restoration director at Save the Bay in Rhode Island. The Volunteer of the Year Award, selected by the Coalition’s staff, was presented to Noah Clayton.

Senator Rodrigues was honored for his staunch support of measures to introduce sewering along Westport’s Route 6 corridor, which would result in significant public health benefits and the reduction of nitrogen pollution in the Westport River. He secured $1 million in ARPA funds to design  the project and, despite political headwinds, remains the project’s leading advocate despite its defeat at the ballot box earlier this spring.

Renauld was cited for his longtime leadership in maintaining Mattapoisett’s water and sewer systems, thereby ensuring clean and accessible water for the town’s residents, and also for his role on the Mattapoisett River Valley Water Supply Protection Advisory Committee, through which he has made notable contributions to the protection of important watershed lands. In that latter role, and in partnership with the Coalition, Renauld has helped to advance some of the largest and most complex land protection projects in the Mattapoisett River Valley – including the 240-acre project completed last year that spanned three towns, two counties, and necessitated the cooperation of five separate towns and the Commonwealth.

Ferguson was feted for her generosity of time and wisdom to numerous projects around Buzzards Bay, including the Coalition’s pilot use of runneling as a salt marsh restoration technique. At the two sites where runneling has been introduced, there has been measurable revegetation, one of the project’s primary objectives. In addition to working diligently to advance projects in her own watershed, Ferguson enthusiastically helps other organizations – including the Coalition – build capacity.

Category: On the Land

Working to Save Buzzards Bay

The Buzzards Bay Coalition is a membership-supported organization dedicated to improving the health of the Buzzards Bay ecosystem for all through education, conservation, research, and advocacy.

We work to protect clean water on the Bay and on the land: