December 2015 Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter


Hello from our SDRA President, Judy Colaluca

The seasons do change quickly here at Smith and Sayles! And with weather changes we find ourselves looking at our beautiful lake with different eyes. Around the lake folks are raking up leaves and covering outside furniture preparing for the winter weather.

The slow lowering of the lake is of extreme importance to us as we control the growth of invasive weeds by freezing the ground around the lake.  If  the lake freezes before a blanket of snow, much milfoil will be “killed off” and we will have fewer weeds next summer. A huge thank you goes to Dave, Art, Rico, Mike and others for their daily work of keeping the drawdown on track.  The drawdown is determined by the guidelines set by DEM.

As you work outside please consider best practises for our lake. If everyone does something our lake will continue to be a place of beauty. Please consider: 1) Eliminating the use of fertilizer, 2) Blowing leaves away from the lake, 3) Discontinuing composting next to the water’s edge, 4) Raking the leaves at the water’s edge rather than filling in with soil.  Just a few major suggestions as we continue to protect our lake.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I am extremely thankful for where I live and all the beauty that surrounds me. It has always been my pleasure to work with all of you and to serve as a caretaker on our lake. I look forward to 2016 as we work together.  Please feel free to contact me with any comments or ideas.

Enjoy the Holidays! I wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year.    

Updates from our Treasurer, Carolyn Fortuna

The first quarter of the 2015-2016 fiscal year was very strong for SDRA.

The late September fundraiser at Mulberry Vineyards netted over $1700, and the event had a secondary effect of raising awareness of SDRA’s efforts at sustainable harvesting of invasive milfoil and other species. A membership drive to remind 2014-2015 members to renew returned our total memberships to 29 families.  And — as you’ll see below — the Go Fund Me site is a consistent vehicle for producing revenue for SDRA.

These efforts more than offset our two insurance payments which came due:  1) liability; 2) dishonesty bond.  

Notes about the Drawdown from Judy Colaluca and Art Searle

The drawdown is underway! We hope the weather cooperates by freezing and drying the invasive milfoil weed. You may view a lake level visual at You may also view detailed information about the drawdown at

Upcoming Events Sponsored by SDRA from Judy Colaluca

On Saturday, December 5, SDRA will be holding a clean up at the Dam on Chestnut Hill Road. There will be coffee and “energy food” at 8:30 a.m. at 61 Wood Road before heading to the Dam. The clean up will last about 90 minutes and will be determined by the weather conditions. Please consider working alongside your neighbors. Children are welcome to help as they are tomorrow’s caretakers. Make sure you bring work gloves, rakes,(quahog rakes worked well last year), and hope for a nice day. See you at the Dam!!

Have you heard about Go Fund Me? from Marissa and Dennis Danville

The gofundme page to raise money for a suction harvester has been up for several months now and to date we have raised $770, which is a great accomplishment! Thank you for all your donations. With your help we will be able to rid our lake of invasive species.

Please continue to share the website with friends and family, as every dollar counts. Thank you!  

Looking back to our September Mulberry Vineyards Fundraiser, hosted by Ashley Hopkins Hawkes and Carolyn Fortuna

On a warm late September evening, over 100 people gathered at Mulberry Vineyards on Pound Road in Chepachet for a fundraiser to benefit Sand Dam Reservoir Association.  Guests mingled inside the converted barn of the historic Andrew Brown homestead and outside on the sloping lawns.  Two wine bars were set up, and guests sampled a riesling, cabernet sauvignon, and pinot noir. Aaron Colaluca ran a fabulously successful 50-50 raffle, and winner Terry Tullis generously donated the proceeds back to SDRA.  Later in the evening, co-owner David Wright offered a tour of the winemaking facilities.mulberry vineyards 2  Thanks to everyone who participated, whether it was to be in attendance or to send along a donation.  We appreciate how many guests contributed items for the delicious appetizer buffet, so that everyone had a sampling of good food.  

It was a wonderful night, and– who knows? — you may see a similar event in spring, 2016.  Keep checking your social media! And many thanks to Gina Colaluca for providing these pictures.

Keeping Up-to-Date with our Lake Management Plan from Rico Colaluca

The drawdown last winter was successful, and the same plan is being duplicated this year. There are plans being developed for improvements at the gatehouse and spillway.  Click the link in the title to this section to learn even more.

Our Networking through Northwest Rhode Island Supporters of Open Spaces (NRI SOS) from Carolyn Fortuna

Part of advocacy efforts conducted on behalf of SDRA over the past quarter has included participation in events sponsored by NRI SOS, which offers support to ten member organizations. We attended a book discussion of Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which outlined the positive effects of eating locally.  We hiked the Foster Land Trust property off Windsor Road as part of the “Reading the Forested Landscape” series. And we attended a Cider Tasting at Barden Orchards alongside representatives of several local sustainability organizations. One of those organizations was the Glocester Land Trust, and our networking that day produced an invitation to attend the next GLT meeting to speak about SDRA’s efforts to protect our lake habitat.  

Wish us luck on December 8 during our GLT presentation…

Thinking Ahead to Nomination and Elections from Steve Hanley and Rico Colaluca

We encourage you to become involved in the operation of your lake Association. Please let the Nominating Committee know if you’re interested in serving in the upcoming year as a committee head, board member, or officer.  Getting involved is fun and rewarding!

Checking in with Save the Lakes from Judy Colaluca

Save The Lakes continues to support and improve all lake associations across the state. There will be bills at the Legislature that will be of importance to all in the Spring. Information will be sent out as details emerge.


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