Sand Dam Reservoir Association
September 25, 2013
Glocester Senior Center, 7:00
Planning meeting (board, committee heads, and SDRA members invited to attend)
SDRA members present: Ron Baker, Janice Baker, Bert Bedard, Bob Bedard, Judy Colaluca, Rico Colaluca, Carolyn Fortuna, Ernie Heon, Ernie LaFazia, David Morin, Mary O’Keeffe, Art Searle, Elaine Theriault, and Ray Theriault
President Ray Theriault began with comments relative to the purpose of tonight’s meeting.
- Promotion of different ideas
- Concerns of SDRA members
Ray suggested that we follow the agenda from the 6/26/13 meeting
I. Lake management plan
- Ray identified key elements of lake management plan
- Have lake analyzed every year by professionals
- Analysis of weeds, analysis of funds
- Have lake analyzed every year by professionals
Mary O’Keeffe mentioned potential conflict of interest in having Aquatic Control Technologies (ACT) perform the analysis since ACT performs the chemical treatments
- Ray mentioned that decision about analysis needs to take limited SDRA budget into account.
- Ray asked: We know our lake – do we need to pay someone to perform the analysis?
- Ernie LaFazia mentioned ESS for analysis. Ray responded that ESS is a very expensive option.
- Art Searle asked what the $400 SDRA paid to ACT got us – Ray replied the weed analysis. Art said that DEM requires an annual report to support our lake management plan. Ray asked if we are the only lake that DEM requires to do analysis for the drawdown. Art confirmed that DEM requires analysis for drawdown, and Ray argued that this is not fair if other lakes don’t need the analysis. Art said that DEM permitting requires a report – it was due last June.
- Judy Colaluca noted that DEM doesn’t currently have person doing permitting.
- Discussion of whether or not ACT provided written or verbal report of analysis that our lake didn’t need treatment this year
- Ernie LaFazia and Ray noted that we are having problems with ACT. They did not provide reports as promised. They didn’t return phone calls. Extreme measures had to be taken to get report and to get refund of $ given at beginning of summer.
- Question was raised about whether or not other lakes are having problems with ACT. Can we identify other options for analysis. Judy said she could get this information.
- Ray said that he would provide a letter to Art documenting the ACT analysis for 2013 so that we’d have what we need for DEM to perform our drawdown.
- Ernie LaFazia was told by ACT that analysis would be provided within a week. He emailed ACT 11-12 times, called multiple times, and ACT never provided the analysis.
- Janice Baker asked about option for assessments less than annually.
- Ernie LaFazia noted that our drawdown is to 54 inches now, which is why we need the analysis for DEM
- Art Searle noted that we are in the 1st year of a 5 year requirement for analysis. Ray noted that some lakes (e.g., Keech) don’t need/get DEM permitting for drawdown.
- Judy noted that depth is compromised given that weeds are serving as compost and people are bringing in sand – this has implications for lake quality.
- Ernie LaFazia said that based on his secchi disk water quality monitoring, lake clarity has never been better – others present noted that the lake seems to be less pristine that previous years.
- Elaine Theriault suggested appealing the DEM requirement for annual testing.
- Art Searle noted that lake clarity is affected by inflow from Keech, and that the south end is cloudier as a result from the inflow.
- Janice Baker asked the Lake Management Plan committee to come together to do groundwork so that we are prepared to have a meaningful discussion come spring.
- Drawdown/Dam/Spillway report:
Dave Morin said that drawdown will begin on Saturday, Oct 12th
- Mary will send an email around to inform residents that drawdown will begin on Oct 12th . Residents will be asked to make sure that boats are out in advance and inform neighbors of the drawdown.
- Two inches per day is the recommendation. Thus it will be about 27 days for 54 inch drawdown.
- Chemical/Water Testing report:
Ernie LaFazia noted that no chemical treatments were performed this year.
- ACT was supposed to do a second analysis this year, but this has not yet been completed
- Ernie says lake is cleanest he’s seen it since 1993.
- Ray asked if we could save money if we took samples to a testing laboratory directly rather than going through the URI Watershed Watch. The general consensus was that it would be more costly for SDRA to do the testing.
- We are billed $400 per year for water testing by URI watershed watch. An anonymous resident paid the $400 bill last year.
- Elaine recommends that this $400 gift be noted in the treasurer’s report so that if the URI watershed Watch bill is not paid anonymously in future years SDRA is aware and responsible. Ernie LaFazia will follow-up to make sure that the bill is sent to SDRA.
- Thanks to Ernie LaFazia we have received a grant from the state to help defer costs of water testing.
- Ernie is looking for a volunteer so that he can step down as the primary SDRA water monitor. He’d like to retire from this duty. Deb and Miles Silva help, but he could use more support.
- Boat ramp inspections:
- The boat greeter program has gone well this year. Mary estimated that we were able to perform inspections for more than half of all fishing tournaments during the summer 2013 season.
- At last tournament on 9/19/13 representatives from Governor Chafee, Senator Whitehouse, and Representative Langevin’s office visited to observe the program “in action” – at the invitation of Judy Colaluca in her role as STL president.
- Mary has spoken with Mr. Moscarelli, science teacher at Ponaganset, and will work to coordinate a school visit to encourage high-school students to volunteer at the boat ramp.
- Dave Morin mentioned the boyscouts, and Judy confirmed that she had contacted local boyscout leaders to encourage participation in the voluntary boat launch inspection program.
- Carolyn Fortuna mentioned that, while visiting friends in Maine, she learned about a lake that got a small grant to pay high-school students to work the boat launch. She suggested we pursue that for our lake.
- Bob Bedard suggested that RI fisherman might be willing to help with this. Judy confirmed that STL can coordinate with local fishing organizations.
- Carolyn mentioned that funding may be available through environmental education and sustainability sources. We may be able to can dovetail this with AP Environmental Science instructor (Moscarelli) at Ponaganset High School.
- Carolyn Fortuna reported that the last few years have been devoted to establishing our web presence.
- 2012 focus was on documenting the wildlife on the lake. Carolyn mentioned website documentation of the return of wildlife coinciding with the water level increasing in the spring.
- Carolyn noted that many people view the SDRA education website, not just local residents.
- Ray asked about ease of access. SDRA members would like to be able to Google ‘Sand Dam Reservoir Association’ in order to get to the website. Establishing a user-friendly domain name is a desirable next step.
- Carolyn mentioned the wordpress mechanism. Ray said that an easy access site is a priority. There was discussion of what the domain name should be, and consensus was that it should include Sand Dam Reservoir Association. Rico said that a domain name shouldn’t cost more than $10-20 per year. Carolyn agreed to investigate the cost of getting a domain name.
- Carolyn distributed an overview of items represented on a website and asked members to consider what pages we should have to get started.
- Art said that Carolyn can apply a domain name for a Google site – he said that he would show Carolyn how to apply for a domain name off an existing Google site – Carolyn was under the impression that couldn’t be done. Art said that he had done it and would show her how.
- Carolyn emphasized that the executive board would need to provide content for the website so that her voice is not the only presence on the website.
- Keech Pond report
- Ernie Heon reported that Keech Pond plans to dump water on October 14th.
- Dave Morin provided Keech opening and closing dates from last year and discussed the impact on water levels of our lake. He noted that Keech Association President John Holmes is a model of effective communication.
- Hydroelectric report
- Rico and Judy Colaluca have been attending all hydroelectric planning meetings. SDRA has not committed to anything. Ray confirmed that SDRA needs to approve any hydroelectric plan for Smith and Sayles. A number of sites are being evaluated for the hydroelectric station.
- Ray reported that we’ve got about $16,000 in budget. Last year we made $2,500 from Don White fundraiser. Assembly theater is good venue (343 seating capacity). Ray would like to bring in Erika Van Pelt ( local singer who was on American Idol). Bert Bedard has a family/friend who has a relationship with Van Pelt and said she’d give Ray contact info.
- Ray wants to raise the bar and bring in a more high profile performer to potentially raise more money.
- Ernie LaFazia invited those present to inform him of members of the SDRA community who would benefit from a sunshine intervention.
- Save the Lakes:
- Judy Colaluca continues her important efforts on behalf of freshwater resources in the state. As mentioned earlier, she invited VIPs from the Governor, Senator Whitehouse, and Representative Langevin’s office to observe the boat launch inspection program. She continues to pursue various avenues to increase awareness and support for the protection of freshwater resources.
- Sand Dam Day:
- Ray noted that the request for volunteers to host Sand Dam Day should go out prior to the annual meeting.
- Mary agreed to send out a request for volunteers, as well as a request for nominees for board positions, well in advance of the annual meeting.
- New Business:
- Ray noted that there are many rumors circulating about the fate of the O’Donnell property. These include a 50+ unit, over 55y/o condo community, or alternatively a plan for 3 residences. Ernie LaFazia said that he had contacts at Lusi construction and would try to get reliable information regarding plans for the property. Ray said that we should be concerned that nobody is looking into protecting the interests of the SDRA when planning to develop the property.
Meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.