Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter
The Suction Harvester Has Arrived!
We did it! After months of fundraising, grant writing, and membership drives, SDRA accumulated enough capital to purchase a Suction Harvester. Our Lake Management Committee did significant research and made recommendations to the SDRA Board. Together, we considered types of equipment, the level of our treasury, the costs associated with the expenditure, and the possible benefits. Ultimately, SDRA made the decision to go ahead and purchase a Suction Harvester from Aquacleaner.
A Suction Harvester is designed to suck up any type of solids that will pass through a hose. By manipulating a hose- — which takes a lot of practice and grace — a diver extracts unwanted plants and solids right from the rooting system, so they don’t grow back as fast. The machine is equipped with filtration that allows the water to pass through it, while capturing plants, rocks, sticks, leaves and assorted debris. This machine is an environmentally friendly means of dealing with an overwhelming problem.
Aquatic vegetation grows and dies each year, sending the skeleton of the plant to the lake’s bottom. There, the plants decompose and fragment. That increases the density of the plants in following seasons and adds to the buildup of organic sediment. Suction Harvesting slows this process down and, over repeated use, may halt the cycle. In contrast with chemical treatments or weed cutters, a Suction Harvester has the advantage of selectivity. If we want only the milfoil removed but want the lily pads to remain untouched, we can do so.
There are several criteria that must be assessed to determine the rate of progress (ROP) that we can achieve using the Aquacleaner Suction Harvester. These include:
- Type of plant: A plant’s rooting system dictates how fast we can remove this year’s plant. We’ll attempt to get both this year’s and last year’s plants out.
- The type of bottom – Soft, silted in bottoms like those in Smith & Sayles Reservoir make plant removal and its rooting system easier to extract than if we had hard bottoms like clay or sand. Those require more suction to get to the rooting system of the plant.
- The density of the plant: This means that we have to consider how many plants are in a given box as well as how tall they are. More Biomass requires more time to go through a given area.
- The Depth of the water: Deeper water slows the rate of progress due to the logistics of moving around while under water and the size of the plants involved.
- Other: Sometimes there is debris in the area that needs to be cleaned. Leaves, sticks, rocks, and larger items must be removed as part of a shoreline remediation and to maximize use of the lake.
If you’d like to use the Suction Harvester around your property, you must meet several criteria: 1) You must be a SDRA member in good standing. 2) You must be fully trained to use the Suction Harvester. 3) You must sign a liability waiver. Trainings are available for interested SDRA members. Please contact Rico Colaluca at 401-568-4267 to set up trainings.
As President of SDRA, I am excited and so pleased that so many SDRA Community members have come forward and want to use and support the Harvester. The weed pull on Saturday, August 13: Successful!! More than 25 members, of all ages, came to “WORK!” Everyone found something to do and did it well!! Art, who trailered the extracted weeds to his farm, stated that most of the weeds sucked up were milfoil with the roots. Perfect!! That is what we want to do– leave the native grasses in the lake to keep our lake natural. Good job, EVERYONE! A big thank you to the Finlaw Family for hosting lunch for a group of hungry SDRA Members! And after the weed pull, Mary organized a successful boat inspection at the boat ramp!! Mary’s work is keeping invasive weeds out of OUR lake. Presently, rules and procedures are being composed for the harvester. All ideas accepted. This is a work in progress.
Thank you everyone!!
The purchase of the Suction Harvester has clearly diminished our SDRA financial picture. So, too, are the regular late summer expenditures, which include our Save the Lakes membership dues, the dam master annual payment, liability insurance payment, and surety/dishonesty bond.
A robust membership drive, the GoFundMe campaign, and a late autumn fundraiser are in the planning stages. Please, if you can help to offset the costs of the Suction Harvester, please donate generously. It is a commitment to the future health of our lake.
If you have not yet done so, please remember to pay your 2016 dues ($50) to help support efforts to keep our lake beautiful and healthy.
Dues payments can be sent to:
SDRA, PO Box 284, Chepachet, RI 02814
Thanks, everybody, for contributing to the sustainable future for Smith & Sayles Reservoir.
Sand Dam Day
How wonderful it was to see many of you at our annual Sand Dam Day celebration! We enjoyed good company, great food, and a simply gorgeous setting on our beautiful lake.
William Carley and Laura Maguire demonstrated amazing Corn-Hole skills, and we were all wowed by our first look at the SDRA suction harvester! The Danvilles were gracious hosts. Thanks for opening up your home and lakefront to your Sand Dam Reservoir Association neighbors. It was great!
Millfoil is an extremely resiliant, opportunistic plant. I hauled about three cubic yards of milfoil from our August 6 weed pull to my compost pile. After four weeks of composting, I decided to examine the pile. The top few inches, baked by the sun, was thoroughly dried, and dead. But just underneath the sun baked surface, I discovered viable, growing milfoil. My discovery prompted me to suggest some words of caution for handling and disposing of milfoil. First, make sure that the milfoil is moved as far from any water body as is physically possible. Be cognizant of surface water flow in and around your disposal site. Ask, “Could any of this milfoil wash back into the pond during a heavy rain?” If so, you need another disposal site! Turning the pile to ensure complete drying will reduce the likelihood of any milfoil growing or escaping. Be careful with fragments. Milfoil segments left on a beach or shoreline are likely to find their way back to the water where they will continue to proliferate.
Removed from water, this milfoil plant continues to grow four weeks later.
President Judy Colaluca
Vice President Lynn Kohanski
Treasurer Carolyn Fortuna
Secretary Mary O’Keeffe
Directors: Marissa Danville, Eric Lariviere, Brian Sirois
Lake Management Team
Art Searle, Chairman
Please contact Officers or Lake Management Team with questions or comments