Letter: 2010 all over again: Now its oysters, not phragmites

Letter: 2010 all over again: Now its oysters, not phragmites


To the editor:

We have lived on the West Branch of the Westport River for over 35 years located six tenths of a mile south of Hix Bridge on the west shore. Since boating has been my primary vocation/avocation throughout my entire life, I feel I know/understand the flow of the water as well as anyone. 130,000 sea miles plus at least 1,000 outings on the river in all sorts of craft and well over 100 under the bridge headed north. I have never hit an obstacle while passing under the bridge through any of the six passages.

I have seen no restrictions of flow of consequence other than the fact that the land above and below the bridge is wider than the bridge span of 280 feet so squeeze is a factor. Nothing shows from the old bridge remnants.

Additional facts:

• The first bridge built in the 1800s had a flow restriction in excess of 50 percent because of the huge bridge support structures.

• The second bridge built after the ’38 Hurricane with ten columns had a flow restriction factor of 19 percent.

• The current bridge has only five columns and a flow restriction factor of only 7 percent.

• If you watch the surface undulations caused by the tide flow north and south they are identical. This further shows that there are no restrictions other than those mentioned above.

• If you watch for the change of tide direction (high vs. low) there is a prolonged slack tide time between the two. This again shows that the flow is quite normal and not aggravated by underwater obstacles.

Most important of all is that the oyster population at our pier and dock 35 years ago was considerable. Using a scale of 1 to 100 it was a 100 and now at best is a 5 and those there today are puny, thin and sad looking.

So, to spend $1 million to correct a situation that is not relevant is heresy at best. The facts/observations simply do not support it.

I consider myself an ardent tree hugger but I do make considerable effort to know the tree in complete detail before I do my hugging. Suggest you all do the same.

Sham Hunt




  1. Sham,
    I also live on the river not far from you and I can assure you they are there. You live on the East Branch not the West Branch, I do not want to confuse the readers. Lets hop in your boat and I will help you blow your lower unit when I bounce it off the old granite. There was a big report done that addresses this issue. IT is not the end all solution, but it is a piece of the puzzle.
    The more flow you have the better flushing action which as a tree hugger you should want. The river is fairly stagnant past Hix Bridge, anything would be an improvement.