At the meeting, Coalition President Mark Rasmussen highlighted several major accomplishments from 2015, including the opening of The Sawmill on the Acushnet River, the completion of a project to protect over 400 acres on Nasketucket Bay, and the installation of nitrogen-reducing septic systems at homes around West Falmouth Harbor. The Annual Meeting also featured a members’ reception, where Coalition members, board, and staff got to know one another and shared their favorite places on Buzzards Bay.
But the real celebration at the Annual Meeting was the presentation of the Guardian Awards, the highest honor given by the Coalition. Buzzards Bay Guardians have demonstrated outstanding service in the cleanup, restoration, or protection of the Bay. Most importantly, Buzzards Bay Guardians are unsung heroes who deserve public recognition, not only for what they have achieved but to inspire others to make a difference.
This year, the Coalition presented three Guardian awards to individuals who have worked tirelessly to stop nitrogen pollution, clean up marine debris, and protect habitat for rare native sea-run brook trout.
Horace Field of Mattapoisett received a Guardian Award for his unwavering advocacy on the cleanup of Styrofoam pollution from a salt marsh along Brandt Island Cove. It was Field who discovered that a local marina’s foam dock floats were deteriorating, sending chunks of Styrofoam into the salt marsh. Field alerted the Coalition and the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission about the Styrofoam littering the salt marsh, and advocated for its cleanup for two years until the marina replaced the floats last year.
For his quarter-century of dedication to protecting “salter” brook trout habitat in southeastern Massachusetts, the Coalition awarded Steve Hurley with its second Guardian Award of the night. Hurley, a fisheries manager with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, has been integral to land conservation efforts along salter streams like Red Brook in Wareham, the Quashnet River in Falmouth, and most recently on Angeline Brook in Westport.
Finally, the Coalition awarded a Guardian Award to Guy Campinha, director of the Wareham Water Pollution Control Facility. Under Campinha’s leadership, Wareham’s wastewater treatment plant has become a leader in the effort to reduce nitrogen pollution in Buzzards Bay, removing upwards of 90% of nitrogen from the town’s wastewater. No other community on the Bay is doing more right now to cut nitrogen to the Bay than Wareham – and Campinha is playing a major role in the town’s efforts.
In addition to the Guardian Awards, the Coalition also recognized Kevin Childs as Volunteer of the Year. For the past 15 years, Childs has donated his massage therapy services for swimmers who complete the Buzzards Bay Swim. Five years ago, he also signed on to volunteer at the Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride in the same capacity for cyclists at the finish line.