Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter: April 1, 2015

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

April 1, 2015

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Board of Directors’ Updates

President

Spring is on the calendar! I am looking forward to being able to look out the front windows without stretching to see over the pails on snow collected by Rico who continuously  shoveled off our roof. I am positive everyone has a “Snow” story to share. As we look ahead to some warm days, know that our SDRA Association has a complete and hard working board of directors and committees.  I am pleased to say that folks filled vacancies and all are working hard. With the addition of some new members, new ideas are being shared. Our SDRA By- Laws are being revised, and this will help to make clearer the rules that govern SDRA. Thank you, Janice, for heading up this extremely important committee.  A vote will be taken at the Annual Meeting in June regarding changes to the By-Laws. In the coming months, there is much to do: clean up at the dam, repairing the gate, organizing the lake management plan, writing  grants, preparing for the boat inspection program, and much more.  There is always plenty to get involved in here on our lake. If everyone would do something- all would be great. In the weeks and months ahead, there will be times when we all don’t agree on something, but we must remember: majority rules as we all strive for the best for our environment.  Get involved-many hands make light work! — Judy Colaluca

Secretary

The Board of Directors (BOD) continues to meet regularly, though our snowy February interrupted the monthly meeting schedule. At the January meeting the BOD approved filling the vacant Board positions with two excellent SDRA members. Lynne Kohanski, who formerly served as SDRA secretary, graciously offered to serve in the Vice President position. Eric LaRiveire, who has been a SDRA member for 3+ years, expressed an interest in becoming more involved by serving as one of the Directors at Large. We are very grateful to Lynne and Eric for volunteering to fill these positions – Mary O’Keeffe

Treasurer

Our balance remains steady, with payments this quarter directed to Treasurer’s Honesty Bond, U.S. Post Office box renewal, and final annual payment to the Dam Master. We’ve also added three family members to the 2014-2015 membership list.

If you, too, realize that you’d like to vote at the next annual meeting but have forgotten to send in your membership dues of $50 per family, please feel free to mail a payment to SDRA, PO Box 284, Chepachet, RI 02814. Carolyn Fortuna

Boat Launch Greeter Program

We look forward to another active season for the Boat Launch Greeter-Voluntary Inspection Program. We typically get the list of scheduled tournaments from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) in early April. Targeting tournaments and other high-traffic periods allows us to maximize the efficiency of this important education and outreach program. Promoting proper boater hygiene is one of the key tools in the SDRA Lake Management toolbox. As noted in the December newsletter, last season we inspected over 100 boats, and about 20% were found to have plant material that may have been invasive.

At a public hearing scheduled for March 30th, the Rhode Island DEM considers proposed revisions to the RI freshwater fishing regulation. Included is a proposal to modify to the requirements for obtaining a tournament permit. A permit is currently required for groups of 3 boats/6 people or more. The proposal would increase this size to 10 or more boats. If approved, this change could make our work at the boat launch more challenging, since we would not have advance notice of the smaller groups.

If you would like to learn more about the Boat Launch Greeter program, or if you are interested in volunteering, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to contact me at sdra.secretary@cox.net or (401) 865-2619. — Mary O’Keeffe

Dam Master

We closed the old slide gate on February 1, and, as of March 16, the lake came up two feet. During the week of March 15, we put all the boards back in the old gatehouse. Our goal is to have the lake back up to level by the beginning of fishing season in April.   — Dave Morin

Drawdown

Drawdown continues to be a useful tool in our battle with milfoil. During a September 2014 fish survey, Allan Libby, Principal Fisheries Biologist from the RI Division of Fish & Wildlife, remarked, “Your weed control program seems to be working. There are virtually no weeds in the drawdown zone.” The drawdown team remains hopeful that below freezing weather prior to deep snowfall in 2015 will help keep shallower areas of the lake clean by freezing and drying any exposed milfoil. Dave and Danny Morin, Mike Benoit, and Rico Colaluca are key workers in the drawdown effort. They wrestle with heavy parts and collect data diligently throughout the drawdown, and are deserving of our recognition. On February 7, the drawdown team discontinued drawdown efforts for the period, and closed the low water outlet gate. As we have done in the past, we expect to be reporting our results to RIDEM Director of Wetlands, Brian Moore, at some point during summer 2015. We are in preliminary discussion with Mr. Moore’s office about the potential for increasing the maximum drawdown depth by two inches. You are encouraged to review the results of the 2014-2015 drawdown at http://goo.gl/71p9S4 . — Judy Colaluca and Art Searle

Events Sponsored by SDRA

Annual Meeting:  Put the date of SDRA’s annual meeting on your calendar:  Wednesday, June 17, 2015 at the Glocester Town Hall.  We’ll start with a fellowship hour from 6-7 p.m., which is an opportunity to catch up after the long winter months with your neighbors.  At 7 p.m., we’ll begin our business meeting.  — The Board of Directors

Earth Day Clean-Up:  In conjunction with Earth Day, SDRA will conduct its bi-annual dam cleanup on Saturday, May 2, 2015 (tentative). Join a team of volunteers that day starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Colaluca Home, 61 Wood Road, for hot beverages and pastries.  At 9:30, we’ll meet at the dam with gloves, steel rakes, and trash bags to make the dam area pretty for the spring blooms —- as well as to meet our obligations to the town to maintain the area’s cleanliness for subsequent bush hog trimming.  — The Board of Directors

Fundraising

A State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Legislative grant application has been filed on behalf of Sand Dam Reservoir Association.  The $500 grant will assist SDRA to continue dam monitoring and networking with other lake associations around the State. — Carolyn Fortuna

Lake Management Plan

The committee has met and is doing research.  We have:

  • Reviewed past history
  • Research weevils
  • Research mats- check on the Monti Project
  • Review drawdown- with this year’s freeze there should be good success
  • Review gatehouse- tracks in which the gate slides have deteriorated to a point where the gate is difficult to align with the surface against which it seals. Angle irons to be added and situation fixed.
  • Checking with DEM on permitting process
  • Review weed pulling- and use of divers
  • Much interest in a Suction Harvester – checking into cost of building own
  • Continue boat inspection  – –Rico Colaluca

Northern Rhode Island Supporters of Open Spaces

This newly formed organization (NRISOS) promotes the preservation and management of open space in our local communities by raising funds and mobilizing volunteer support for area conservation groups. SDRA was invited to be part of a Winter Gathering and Fundraiser at Mulberry Vineyards in Chepachet on February 6th. Despite the winter chill, over 60 people — including representatives from 9 area conservation groups, including SDRA — were in attendance.  NRISOS raised funds that evening in support of their Small Grants Program, which provides ecology resources, educational events, and recreational activities that help connect Rhode Islanders with our region’s unique natural habitats. SDRA is targeted for assistance from NRISOS in 2015.  — Carolyn Fortuna

Save the Lakes

There are two events to put on your calendar:

  • Saturday, April 4, 2015, “Celebrate Freshwater” at the BassPro Shop, Patriots Place, Foxboro, MA, 10 AM to 4 PM. This is a great opportunity to gather information regarding “Best Practice” around freshwater. Also, learn how to filet a freshwater fish and acquire some new fishing tips  to catch the “Big One”. Judy Colaluca

 

  1. Thursday, April 30, 2015. Attend the STL Annual Meeting with DEM at Save The Bay Headquarters in Providence, 6:30 to 9 PM. This is an opportunity to talk directly to DEM Director Janet Coit and other officials. Come learn what is happening in our environment. —The Lake Management Committee

Sunshine Fund

We were saddened to say goodbye to our long-time lake association member and advocate, Vivian Searle.  Vivian was a staunch supporter of lake protection and is particularly remembered for her leadership of the Jet Ski Ad Hoc Committee. Our thoughts go out to Frank, his children, and our Board Member, Art.—-Carolyn Fortuna

Website and Education

The URL for our SDRA website is http://sanddamreservoir.com.  An article on Bald Eagle sightings on our reservoir was posted on our website on February 7, 2015.  We also disseminated an article from Watershed Watch, URI: Extreme Winter to Affect RI Water Quality.  If you’d like to follow our website and receive updates, click the website address and enter your email in the field titled, “Follow Blog via email.”  We’ve also added a Search function to the website, if you’re trying to locate a particular bit of information.— Carolyn Fortuna

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