September 2015 Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

September, 2015

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Board of Directors’ Updates

President- Judy Colaluca

What a great summer it has been here on Smith and Sayles!!  All recreational endeavors around and in OUR lake are just wonderful this summer!!  One of my most favorite activities is to listen to my grandchildren laugh as they splash and play in the water. What fun they have!! All the “kids,” young and old, have something they enjoy doing in the lake. For example, catching the biggest fish, swimming the furthest or doing the craziest stunt on the tube, and more are reasons to work hard at keeping our lake in perfect condition.

The awarding of the grant for a suction harvester should be known soon and that will be just another tool for us to “Protect” our lake. The team effort on this lake is terrific- but we could always use more hands to lighten the load. If you want to be active, just let me know. Help is needed to:

  • 1) Assist the divers in weed pulling on September 19th — work on boats, cleaning up, financial donations;
  • 2) Boat Inspection Program– checking boats to make sure no other invasive weed is introduced into our lake;
  • 3) Planning educational workshops for landowners to improve their land without fostering weeds;
  • 4)  Grant searching and writing;
  • 5)  Planning a fall clean up on Chestnut Hill Road;
  • 6) Fund raising- be sure to reserve a ticket for our wine tasting at Mulberry Vineyards here in Chepachet and check out http://www.gofundme.com/SandDamRI —- and others as your ideas develop.

As the summer winds down -Enjoy the Lake!! Contact a member of the SDRA Board with your suggestions concerns, ideas, and your willingness to join your neighbors for the improvement of OUR lake.

On Saturday, August 29, Mary, Art, Rico, several STL members, and I went  to Hickory Hills Lake to watch a suction harvester in action! It was fascinating  and much easier to operate than I had thought. There will be more information coming on this machine.  

See you around the lake,

Judy   

Vice President – Lynn Kohanski

I hope everyone is enjoying their last few weeks of summer on the lake.  We have a lot of great ways to continue to help the lake thrive as Autumn quickly approaches.  How about getting a few close family and friends together to attend an SDRA-sponsored wine tasting at Mulberry Vineyard? This is a great event to socialize and support our SDRA lake community and also a great kick-off to the fall season.  

Also, thanks to the Danville’s for setting up an SDRA gofundme page.  This is another easy way to help us reach our goal of $30,000 to get a new suction harvester for the lake. Please share the link/page recently sent out.  Again, with all the wonderful things happening here,  I encourage everyone to get involved in any way they feel comfortable. I hope to see/meet you at one of our events.

Secretary- Mary O’Keeffe

The 2015 annual meeting was a great success, with 30 SDRA members and friends in attendance. New for this year’s meeting was a 6-7pm social hour to provide friends and neighbors with an opportunity to “catch up” before the meeting. Our President (Judy) and Treasurer (Carolyn) put out an excellent spread of hors d’oeuvres and desserts (with other SDRA members also contributing tasty snacks). Also, as part of this community building effort, Vice President (Lynn) brought a large map of the lake and members worked together to identify “who lives where.” This year’s meeting was held at Glocester Town Hall. The meeting space, internet access (for presentations), and kitchen facilities were excellent, and we hope to hold future SDRA annual meetings at Town Hall.

The formal meeting ran from 7-9pm. Officers and Standing Committees made their reports, and a motion to change the SDRA By-Laws was approved. The main substantive By-Laws changes were to impose a two-year term limit on SDRA officers and reduce the residency requirement from 3 years to 1 year for the Directors. These changes are designed to promote active involvement from a wider range of members. Special thanks was given to Janice Baker, Rico Colaluca, Carolyn Fortuna, Dave Morin, and Art Searle for their extensive committee work, and, of course, to Judy Colaluca for her outstanding leadership as SDRA president.

New business included  a report from Judy and Art on the ESS (Environmental Consulting and Engineering Services) survey results, discussion of the Mulberry Vineyards fundraising event (see notice later in the newsletter), and an invitation to Sand Dam Day, hosted this year by Carolyn Fortuna and Steve Hanley.

As you can see, we had a wonderfully productive and enjoyable time together. Be sure to mark your calendar for next year’s SDRA annual meeting which will be held Wednesday, June 15th.

Treasurer-  Carolyn Fortuna

Our SDRA Annual Meeting in June gave attendees a convenient way to pay their 2015-2016 dues.  Twenty-one families paid dues of $50 each, which boosted our bank balance considerably.  

If you paid dues during our Spring 2015 Membership Drive, thank you.  Your contribution allowed you to have a vote and voice at our Annual Meeting. Please remember: Our new fiscal year begins on July 1— after the Annual Meeting.  If you did not pay dues at the Annual Meeting or since, you may not be caught up for the new SDRA year.  If you have any questions as to your dues currency, please feel free to email me at c4tuna31@gmail.com. I’ll be happy to check the records and get back to you.  

I’ll be sending out membership letters and renewal forms over the next month as well. Please mail your dues to SDRA, PO Box 284, Chepachet, RI 02814.

Standing Committees

Boat Greeter Program – Mary O’Keeffe

The GREAT (Greeting Recreationalists to Empower and Train Boaters) Boat Greeter program has been active this summer, providing education and outreach to address the problem of invasive species. In addition to the focus on invasive species common in the area (e.g., variable milfoil, fanwort, inflated bladderwort, Asian clam), we’ve also been talking to boaters about Largemouth Bass Virus, which has been found this summer in Echo Lake and Olney Pond. LMBV is spread through water and can live for up to 7 days. This reinforces the critical importance of proper boater hygiene (especially cleaning live wells, bags, and equipment) in order to keep our lake and wildlife healthy.

We have two remaining tournament dates for the season, Thursday, September 17th (4 pm start time) and Sunday, September 20th (6am start time). We’d love to have you join us if you are interested in seeing us in action and/or getting some on-the-job training.

Dam Master – Dave Morin

It has been a very, very easy summer to maintain the water levels at our lake, as we’ve had no significant rains.  I’ve not had to go down on the water levels since the very beginning of the summer, in late May, when we had rains.  Since then, the normal amount of seepage has occurred to meet DEM requirements.

Over Columbus Day Weekend, we’ll begin drawing the water down.  We already have a head-start on it with the low rain levels this summer.  As the water goes down, we open up more.  Our ability to regulate the water levels also depends on Keach Pond’s plan to open up.  We try to start before they do, to compensate for having to get rid of their water.  Bertha Bedard is very helpful in letting us know when the water is flowing out of Keach. Eventually, we go over to the old dam and slide gate.  We play around with that until we get the level down to where we want it to be.  It all depends on the rain and snow that we get.  Hopefully, before the freeze, we’ll have it down to the 54” mark.

Drawdown – Judy Colaluca and Art Searle

The annual drawdown will begin October 10, 2015, during Columbus Day weekend. We expect to drawdown approximately 1 to 2 inches per day until we reach our permitted drawdown depth of 54 inches. RI DEM, ESS Group’s June 2015 report, and our own visual inspections of the lake indicate that the drawdown helps control the growth and spread of milfoil. It is apparent that there are fewer patches of milfoil and that the patches are less dense than they were during the summer of 2014. We expect to meet with Brian Moore, DEM’s Office of Water Resources Chief during the fall to present the results of last winter’s drawdown.

Once the drawdown begins, we will provide a link so that you can monitor aspects of the drawdown such as lake level and other environmental conditions. If you would like to participate by taking lake measurements of dissolved oxygen measurements, we would love to hear from you. Contact us at your convenience if you have additional questions.

Our Next SDRA Event: Wine Tasting at Mulberry Vineyards— Ashley Hopkins and Carolyn Fortuna

On Friday, September 25, 2015, from 6-9:00 p.m., SDRA will host a Wine Tasting at Mulberry Vineyards, 95 Pound Road, Chepachet.  Come join us as we attempt to raise funds to reduce invasive weeds on our lake.  Tickets are $15 each ahead of time and can be reserved through c4tuna31@gmail.com or ashleyhopkins8@live.com.  Tickets are $18 the night of the event. Appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages also will be served. Please share the flyer above and general announcement with family, friends, co-workers, and others who might be interested in a friendly night out for a really good cause. Think about it:  if each SDRA member sold 5 tickets, we’d have a strong showing of commitment for DEM. We’d demonstrate that we have local capacity and are ready to provide matching funding for our suction harvester grant application.

Help us to sustain our lake and to help other lake association to understand how environmentally sound approaches to lake management can make arise from innovation and teamwork. Come be part of our Mulberry Vineyards Fundraising event.  Thanks!

Other Fundraising– Marissa and Dennis Danville

The gofundme website is now up and running. We have already received several donations towards our goal of $30k for a suction harvester. Please share the following link with friends and family:

http://www.gofundme.com/SandDamRI

You can also share this on Facebook and twitter by visiting the site and clicking share or tweet, this is a great way to reach a large number of people quickly!!

Keech Pond Liaison – Rico Colaluca

I met with John Holmes recently and informed him of a need to start draining our lake before Keech Pond drains into our lake. He told me to call him when we begin to start draining our lake and he  will give us a few days before he begins to drain Keech Pond. I  stated we will start our drawdown on Columbus Day Weekend.

Lake Management Plan – Sam Hawkes

Divers Weed Pulling-— Saturday, September 19, 2015 is the date currently scheduled to have certified scuba divers return to the lake to pull invasive weeds this year. There will be 2 divers coming with full diving gear ready to work for the day. There is currently no cost associated with this activity; however, we will be providing the divers with a token of our gratitude (yet to be determined, although there’s talk of revisiting last year’s pizza party hit).

There are several activities and supplies that will need to be procured in preparation for the divers to make their time as efficient and effective as possible. Tow and haul boats, tarps, and volunteers will be greatly appreciated. This should be another great chance to build SDRA comradery! More details to come.

Water Testing — Myles and Deb Silva

Water testing this year has gone well. We have installed a new water test mooring at the north end to make our test results more repeatable. The water appears very clear with  visibility to three meters. The high  temperature as of yesterday is a warm 84 F.

Save the Lakes – Judy Colaluca

Save The Lakes was awarded a Resolution in the Senate Chambers at the RI State House this past June.  How exciting to know that RI state leaders are supporting actions that concern freshwater across our beautiful state. The cesspool bill past this term and that benefits all lakes and ponds. There will be more educational workshops in the coming months. Check out the wesite www.stlri.com

Website and Education – Steve Hanley and Carolyn Fortuna

If you couldn’t be attendance for our annual Sand Dam Day festivities, check out the article Steve wrote on the Sand Dam Reservoir Association website:  “Sand Dam Day 2015 A Smashing Success!”  

Are you part of the network of 215 individuals who follow our website?  If not, it’s easy to do! Go to our website at http://www.sanddamreservoir.com.  On the Home page, in the right hand margin, you’ll see the bold title invitation to Follow This Blog. Click on it and fill in the information requested. After that, every time we send out a notice of What’s Happening at SDRA, you will get an email with the update.  It’s really easy to stay in touch this way with SDRA.  

The website contains lots of pages of information about our Association and the lake itself.  You can find documents relating to our lake management plan, all the announcements and articles we’ve posted, a history of our Association, descriptions of the lake itself, and much more.  The website is a good resource, one that is always evolving and changing — with your help!  If you have something that you’d like to see included on our SDRA website, please send it along to schanley45@gmail.com or c4tuna31@gmail.com.

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