Winter 2016 Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter


Winter Newsletter 2016:  

Looking Ahead to Spring and Summer


Board of Directors’ Updates


Today is a glorious morning— the lake appears to have diamonds sparkling as the waves ripple! Individually, each of us sees something different as we look at OUR lake. But, together, we are moving forward to do what is best for OUR lake.

The teamwork continues, and the membership is growing. I encourage you, if you are not involved, get involved.  There are many areas of concern, and your point of view needs to be heard. Join a committee, become active on the boat inspection team, help plan an event, do some lake research, write a grant, or build a buffer zone in front of your property to eliminate the runoff from your lawn into our lake. This year, there was not a “total” freeze on the lake to kill the milfoil. Therefore, it is more important than ever that you eliminate fertilizing as it “feeds” the weeds as you are “feeding”  your lawn. Please consider not applying nutrients! Thank you!!

Save the Date:  Wednesday, June 15, 2016 is the date for the SDRA Annual Meeting, which will take place at the Glocester Town Hall, Room 9. At the Annual Meeting this year, you will have the opportunity to share your thoughts and learn from your neighbors what is “happening” around the lake, in the lake, at the bottom of the lake, and the filling of the lake. The  2016 plans will be announced, and an election of officers will take place. Please see news under the Nominating Committee below if you’d like to become a SDRA Board member.  

As always, it is my pleasure to be a member of SDRA and work with others to accomplish its Mission!  Your neighbor,

Judy (

Secretary- Mary O’Keeffe

We look forward to spring and summer 2016 with an eye towards welcoming new members and welcoming back former members whose membership may have lapsed. If you have new neighbors, please encourage them to contact me ( or 568-2657) so that I can include them on our email/mail list to receive newsletters and important announcements.

Current members are encouraged to send updates of email or USPS mailing addresses. Former members may send dues checks ($50) to SDRA, PO Box 284, Chepachet, RI 02814 to renew membership and ensure continued delivery of SDRA newsletters and announcements.

Treasurer-  Carolyn Fortuna

The first quarter of 2016 has been quite stable financially for SDRA.  Due to a membership drive, we have maintained 100% of members over the past two years.  The most important tasks we designated for 2015 continue ahead for SDRA in 2016: to increase the balance in our treasury so that we can embark on as many sustainability endeavors as possible.  We want to protect and enrich our lake environment, and that, often, comes with associated financial costs.  

As treasurer, I address our financial needs, but I also have a corresponding responsibility to seek out grant possibilities.  A grant proposal with which we have much success is a RI Community Grant.   Due to the continued generosity of Senator Fogarty’s office, SDRA was the recipient of a 2015-2016 Community Grant in the amount of $500.  The proceeds from the Community Grant are directed to the important work our Dam Master does in controlling the lake levels and guiding dam maintenance.   We are always on the lookout for grant opportunities, so please don’t hesitate to forward a grant call for proposals our way, especially if you see a good fit  for SDRA and can help to guide the grant application process.

Another tangent of the SDRA Treasurer’s position is to initiate or collaborate in fundraisers. We are so lucky to have a team of individuals who put in lots of behind-the-scenes hours toward our fundraisers.  Right now, we have two active fundraisers underway… read below to learn more!


Carolyn 🙂 (

May SDRA Fundraiser at the Purple Cat Vineyard and Winery

11 Money Hill Road

Chepachet, RI 02814

Friday, May 20 from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Tickets: $20 in advance — $25 at the door

RSVP to: or or

Please join us for a wine tasting event on Friday, May 20th from 7 – 9 p.m. at the Purple Cat Vineyard and Winery on Money Hill Road in Chepachet.  If you haven’t been there yet, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Reminiscent of coffee houses of days gone by, with its multiple level seating, sofas, tall tables, and cedar post-and-beam decor, the Purple Cat Vineyard and Winery offers tastings of their wines in a relaxed setting.  And what better time is there than a late spring Friday night in May to gather with neighbors and friends and welcome the high season?

While there will be much more information to follow, we are planning, in addition to the wine tasting, a selection of complimentary appetizers, a 50/50 raffle, and a Silent Auction. Proceeds will help in our goals to reduce invasive milfoil in Smith & Sayles Reservoir.  If you’d like to participate in planning this fundraiser, we would appreciate donations to the Silent Auction and Appetizer tables, assisting in ticket sales, spreading the word through your friends and family network, and/ or offering a helping hand at the end of the night on the cleaning committee.  

Please let us know if you’re able to be part of this fun community-building event. — Marissa and Dennis Danville

To date we have raised $885 through our page, all of which will be used to reduce the invasive milfoil in our lake. This winter has been warmer than average and, thus, creates additional unforeseen challenges in controlling milfoil as the spring season draws upon us. In order for the drawdown to be effective, there needs to be a substantial layer of ice and frozen ground for an extended period of time. Please see the Drawdown news below for more specific information about this winter’s weather effects on our efforts to control invasive species.  No matter the weather, we need to be diligent and proactive in controlling the milfoil, and your contribution to the page helps us to hire divers and buy necessary to hand pull weeds, among other initiatives.

Please continue to share the GoFundMe page, as every dollar counts. Thank you to all of you who donated over the holidays.

Boat Greeter Program – Mary O’Keeffe

Volunteers from SDRA contributed nearly 100 hours of outreach and education to promote proper boater hygiene in order to prevent the spread of invasive species. A total of 44 boaters allowed us to perform complementary inspections at the boat launch (substantially fewer than the 100+boats we inspected during the 2014 season – low water levels led to the cancellation of a number of scheduled tournaments). Plant material was found on 25% of the inspected boats and trailers – while not all plant material was confirmed to be invasive, the high percentage of “dirty” boats reinforces the importance of educating boaters on the critical role of cleaning boats, trailers, and equipment between uses in order to prevent the spread of invasive aquatic species.

The 2016 fishing season gets underway April 1st. Soon we will receive a list of this year’s tournaments and schedule times to work the boat launch. We are always looking for new volunteers. On-the-job training is provided and you get to hang out at the boat launch, chat with boaters, and do good works all with the backdrop of our glorious lake. Dates and times will be posted in a future newsletter but if you think you might be interested, don’t wait! Send me an email ( or give me a call (568-2657) and I can send you the RI Boat Greeters’ Handbook to get you started.

Finally, please remember to enforce good boater hygiene for friends and family members who launch from your property, and be sure to practice it yourself. A very small plant fragment can contaminate an entire lake. To date, Smith & Sayles (aka Sand Dam) Reservoir’s only confirmed invasive aquatic species is variable milfoil (and we all know what a problem that is!). Nearby lakes have invasive plants including fanwort, bladderwort, spiny naiad, mudmat, curly leaf pondweed, parrot feather, water chestnut, Eurasian milfoil, and Brazilian elodea. Seven lakes and one river in the state are contaminated with Asian clams, and nearby CT and MA lakes have Zebra Mussels.

Practice and require these simple steps to help protect our beautiful lake:

  • Inspect and clean. Examine boats and trailers before and after any use. Carefully remove any mud, plant or animal material before transporting boats, recreational equipment, fishing gear or equipment.
  • Allow time to dry. Clean and dry anything that came in contact with the water (boat, trailers, recreational equipment, clothing, dogs, etc.)
  • Isolate and drain. Empty water from boat wells and motors far away from lakes and rivers.
  • Discard into trash. Dispose any unused bait into proper garbage receptacles; do not empty bait buckets into the water. Dispose of plant material far from water’s edge.
  • Prevent releases. Avoid disposing plants, fish or animals from aquariums or water gardens into local water bodies.


Drawdown – Judy Colaluca and Art Searle

The drawdown for the 2015-2016 winter is concluded. You may review our records about the drawdown at You may view a lake level visual at

Here is a by-the-numbers summary of the drawdown:

  • The Colaluca family made and recorded 105 lake level measurements.
  • Mike Benoit made and recorded dissolved oxygen levels.
  • Dave Morin made countless adjustments to the low level water outlet to moderate the lake level.
  • Our records indicate there were ten days where the average temperature for the day was at freezing or below and there was no snow or ice covering the exposed lake bed. Both conditions are important for killing milfoil. The chart below illustrates the lake level on the prime freezing days. While the most recent winter was nowhere near as brutal as the winter 2014-2015, we remain hopeful that our hard work results in reduced milfoil.

We recognize that drawdown is not the single, encompassing solution we might like. Yet, we believe in the effort and its proven success at controlling milfoil in the shallower regions of the lake. We hope to conduct another drawdown during the winter of 2016-2017

Keech Pond Liaison – Rico Colaluca

I  talked  with John Holmes at the beginning of February and discussed what Keech Pond has in the works for the coming season. He tells me they are going to study and examine their dam structure and look for any kind of holes which may have been made by little creatures and fill them back in. He informs me  these holes are their main concern as they will weaken the dam.

John also told me their gate is now fully open.

Lake Management Plan – Rico Colaluca

Our Lake Management plan is a revolving door and keeps moving forward with the help of the  lake management team. Please ask a member how you can help.

Nomination and Elections – Rico Colaluca and Steve Hanley

The Nominating Committee would like to hear from you if you have any suggestions prior to our Annual Meeting in June.  This is an opportunity to help your lake Association to grow, flourish, and thrive.  We will be requesting nominations from the floor at the Annual Meeting.  

If you would like to run for office or know someone who does, please inform Steve or Rico.   If you want to join the SDRA Board, please contact Steve Hanley ( or Rico Colaluca (

Save the LakesJudy Colaluca

On April 9th BassPro Shop at Patriots Place will be hosting the second Annual “Celebrate Your Love of Lakes” Day.  Join us for this fun event. This is great opportunity to meet and discuss what is happening on OUR lake with others who care deeply about freshwater. There will be professional  fishermen from neighboring Massachusetts  and Connecticut attending to share some fishing hints.  We hope to see you there and share in the fun.

Save The Lakes will be holding its Annual Meeting on April 28 at the Coventry Senior Center, 6:30 to 8:30 PM, at 50 Wood Street in Coventry. DEM will be discussing their plans for 2016, and Linda Green from the URI Watershed Watch will be presenting.  This will be an interesting and informative meeting. Please join us. Come join our community of lake advocates and learn along with us.  We’d be delighted to see you there.  

Social News

Congratulations to Sammy Hawkes and Ashley Hopkins, who were married in October, 2015.  They are also expecting their first child in July, 2016.  Moreover, best wishes go out to Marissa and Denny Manville, who will add a second child to their wonderful family in 2016.  

Carolyn Fortuna said goodbye to her dad, Andrew Fortuna, who died early in 2016 after suffering a stroke.  On April 2nd, Mrs “B” (Florence Beauregard) will turn 97 years old!  She is looking forward to warm sunny days to sit outside on the deck.  

If you have news that you’d like to share with your lake community, please contact Lynn Kohanski (

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