December, 2016 Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter


Officers’ Updates

President- Judy Colaluca

This is an exciting, crazy, reflective, and planning time of the year for all of us around Smith and Sayles Reservoir. What a beautiful community we have to reside in — we are so fortunate.  As we move forward, we have to reflect on the past and keep upgrading SDRA’s  goals to meet the needs as they arise to protect, improve, and preserve OUR lake.

OUR Suction Harvester – If you have not seen this amazing, useful, and gentle piece of equipment in action, just wait ‘til the spring of 2017! Teams will be set up in order to maximize the capability of the harvester. Working on the harvester is hard work- but extremely appreciated as, once the weeds are sucked up- they are gone- straight to a compost pile!!

OUR Boat Inspection Team – They are up and on the job early in the morning and after dark as needed. If not for their determination, two new weed species would have been introduced into our lake this past summer.

OUR Clean Up Days- All ages of the family were out cleaning up litter at the Spillway and Dam. This year we had 8 volunteers from our like-minded partner, Northwest Rhode Island Supporters of Open Spaces (NRISOS) joining us- wonderful! cleanup-group-photo

OUR goal is always to be aware of what is developing around our lake. For example, the Hopkins Property development proposal on New Road (i.e. the gravel bank) is presently suspended, and, when more information is available, it will be forwarded to you. Also, individual landowners need to be following best practises concerning composting and fertilizing their lawns so as not to be fostering the growth of the weeds. What we do as individuals impacts all!

Want more information concerning goals, activities???

cleanup-funJust contact any member of the Board.

I appreciate each and every one of you SDRA members—-

Happy holidays, Judy

Treasurer—  Carolyn Fortuna

Thanks to those of you who paid your dues at the 2016 SDRA Annual Meeting or at Sand Dam Day. We also have had a number of individuals who have paid since those events, bringing us to about 95% of our consistent membership numbers over the last three years. Your dues have helped us to begin the process of replenishing our treasury after the summer 2016 purchase of the Suction Harvester.

Moreover, with the convening of a newly formed Membership Committee consisting of Marissa Danville, Judy Colaluca, and me, we were able to identify about a dozen families on the lake who might like to become members of the Association. As a result, we have initiated a letter writing campaign to let these lake neighbors know about SDRA and the events we undertake on behalf of our mission to protect and nurture the lake environment. Our Association is involved with many activities of which non-members might not be aware. We’ll keep you posted how it goes. Also, if you know neighbors who might like to become a member of SDRA, please reach out to them. It is so important to be able to put a friendly face alongside an invitation.

May the new year bring you and your lake family great joy and solace. —- Carolyn

Board of Directors’ Reports

Having come from Oakland Beach, I was familiar with DEM being largely involved in anything to do with the bay and coves. I thought they would also be responsible for the lakes in Rhode Island. Oh, how I was mistaken. I never realized the management of the lake falls upon the residents. These past few years as a board member have made me aware of just what it takes to properly manage the lake, whether it’s through meetings, fundraisers, or good old fashioned manual labor. This isn’t a normal 9 to 5 job; it’s so much more because this is our home. We live on and around this lake, and we are all working tirelessly to preserve a healthy lake for our families and future generations. It takes a lot of time and effort and I’m proud to be a part of the SDRA team. —

Happy holidays to you and yours,

Marissa Danville

suction-harvester-workerAs many of you have heard by now, our Association was able to purchase our own weed harvester this past summer. This was the result of the hard work of many members, along with several fundraising events. This amazing piece of equipment allows us to safely remove invasive weeds from our lake without chemical means. However, this can only be effective with repetitive usage, fueled by hours of volunteer work. In the upcoming summer season, please consider donating some time so we can maximize the harvester’s potential by creating teams of volunteers to help eradicate this problem. The training only takes about an hour, and you will work alongside experienced friends and neighbors. Have a great winter, and I hope to see many of you when training resumes in the spring.

Best regards,

Eric Lariviere

Committee Reports

Grant Writing

We are so lucky to have received another opportunity to submit a State Legislative grant from Senator Fogarty’s office for the 2016-2017 year. I wrote the narrative, which helps to support our dam and water level monitoring and adjusting, during the month of November. This $500 credit to our treasury offers us a cushion as we turn to the new year.

— Carolyn Fortuna

Fund Drive

The holidays are upon us, and I’m sure we’re all thinking to ourselves, “What am I going to get that hard-to-buy-for person?” I’ve got it! How about a donation in their name? This year we are holding a fund drive beginning January 1, 2017 to help support the use of the Suction Harvester purchased over the summer. Here’s some of the fundraiser information.

SDRA has a New Suction Harvester!

And we need everyone to pitch in with help to support its use…

Bronze Level Contributions: $50 and under.

Silver Level Contributions: $51-$100

Gold Level Contributions: $101 +

Please make any payments to:

Sand Dam Reservoir Association

PO Box 284

Chepachet, RI 02814

Donations may also be made online through our GoFundMe go-fund-me-pagesite: https//

Any and all help is appreciated to ensure the best possible care is taken to preserve the lake for years to come. The purchase of the suction harvester was just the beginning. With everyone’s help, we can move towards eradicating Milfoil and any other invasive species that might try to enter our waters. Thank you everyone for all your help.

If you have any questions at all, please let me know at

Marissa Danville

Lake Management Plan

SDRA’s annual drawdown is well under way. Daily water level measurements are taken during the drawdown, and weekly oxygen levels are also taken. Our Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management issued permit allows our Association to drawdown 54 inches below normal lake level at a rate not to exceed two inches per day.


As you can see from the graph below, the lake is nearly four feet low, leaving about a foot left to draw down. Barring a large precipitation event, the lake level should be at our permitted maximum drawdown depth near mid-December. Once the lake is at its lowest level, think dry, sub-freezing weather! Greater milfoil mortality through a drawdown will result in reduced reliance on the Association’s new weed suction harvester.


In depth drawdown information is available at

—- Art Searle

Save the Lakes –  

Save The Lakes (STL) continues to work with lake associations to help in whatever area there is a need.  Much work is being done on the state level to inform state legislators of the needs of freshwater lakes, streams. and ponds. There are numerous activities being proposed for 2017.

For example, Save the Lakes hosts an annual information day at the Bass Pro Shop, is a presenter at the Land and Water Summit in March at URI alongside DEM, holds an informational forum with the opportunity for lake associations and individuals to talk directly with DEM Director Coit, and sponsors fishing tournaments and a poster contest for school children. This is a great way to meet folks from around the state. Join STL.

— Judy Colaluca


When was the last time you visited our Sand Dam Reservoir Association website? Maybe it was to learn the history of the Association. Or perhaps you wanted to attend one of the Boat Ramp Inspections and looked at the 2016 calendar of tournaments. If you needed a resource like the Association’s by-laws or the names of this year’s Board, you clicked on the Our Association page. Or you follow the progress of the Lake Management team through the website. You ever could have learned more about the Suction Harvester by using the website.

The SDRA website is a useful place for the Association to chronicle its work. You can also get our quarterly newsletters delivered to your email inbox, you know, if you subscribe to the website for updates. If you’d like to subscribe, go to the Welcome page, look to the right side just after “Recent Posts,” and fill in the field that allows you to Subscribe to this Blog. Voila! You’ll get updates fast and efficiently.

If you ever have a news item that you’d like us to feature in a newsletter or special blog post, please feel free to send along an idea to We’re always looking for contributing writers.  Have a safe holiday travel season.

— Carolyn Fortuna

Final Notes from our SDRA President

In closing, I would like to wish everyone a wonderful Holiday Season!!  And to sincerely say “Thank you” to each SDRA Board member, past and present, whom I have had the honor of working to benefit Smith and Sayles Reservoir community. To my neighbors on our lake, I wish you well and look forward to seeing everyone in and around our lake. Get involved- Many Hands make light work!


Best to ALL,


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