The 12-minute film made by Westport native Chloe Cummings Mangold digs into the ways in which nitrogen pollution has diminished water quality in the Westport River and is undermining the health of coastal habitats and the shellfish species that are central to the town’s identity, past and present.
“I grew up on the Westport River, and I’m a longtime resident,” said Mangold, who works in film and television production. “My family has a dock on the river, and we grew up kayaking, sailing, quahogging, swimming, crabbing. I live in California now, but I’m drawn to return here, and I come back every summer.”
The documentary includes commentary from Coalition President Mark Rasmussen, and follows Westport Harbormaster Chris Leonard and fisherman John Borden in their travels on the river, pointing out the impact of nitrogen pollution and the main source of the problem—residential septic systems.
“I wanted to make the science understandable to the average viewer, so that any resident in Westport, or anywhere else in the Buzzards Bay region for that matter, could watch it and say, ‘Now, I understand why it’s happening and why it’s so important to upgrade septic systems and take other steps as soon as possible.’”