Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter
At the 2017- 2018 Annual Meeting I had the pleasure of presenting Dave Morin with a plaque for his effort, dedication, long (and often cold) hours of service to Sand Dam Reservoir Association as Dam Master. Dave has always been an enthusiastic member of the SDRA Board, sharing his love, concerns, and ideas for our lake. Thank you, Dave, for all you have done.
Announcing Mike Benoit as our new Dam Master is my honor. In the past, Mike has worked many hours collecting data for the drawdown and assisting Dave at the dam. Thank you, Mike, for assuming this important job here on our lake.
The Lake Management Team has recommended to the SDRA Board to hire ESS Group to do a survey of our lake and make updated management recommendations. This will take place shortly. Their report will be shared with ALL SDRA members. The ESS Group did the original report in 2015. The ESS collected data from their 2017 report will now guide us in the direction SDRA should follow in the coming 2018 year. There will be a general membership meeting to discuss the findings. Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or concerns. Judycolaluca@aol.com
As I have stated numerous times, and is written in our management plan, ALL tools need to be utilized in the toolbox to manage our weed problem. Relying on only one method of controlling invasive weeds will not offer us lasting freedom from weeds. Invasive weeds are here, and we need to exercise ALL our options for best management. This is where all lakefront owners play an important role in controlling the weeds, as how they treat their property is extremely important to our community.
– Judy Colaluca
With the 2017-2018 Annual Meeting elections, Sand Dam Reservoir Association (SDRA) had a change in some officers and directors. But, because we work as a community, we’re helping each other to learn the role and responsibilities of our new positions.
I thank Marissa Danville and Brian Sirois for reaching out to our newest (and returning) board member, Steve Hopkins. I’ve been working with Eric Lariviere in his new role as treasurer. And I thank Judy Colaluca, who is always so generous with her time and guidance as I learn my own new position. We’re so lucky to have Judy lead the SDRA!
In the months to come, my role as Vice President will evolve, and I’ll take on tasks that support the other officers, the board, and committee chairs. I’ve been participating in the boat ramp greeter program, creating a literature review for the Lake Management Committee, investigating Maine’s LakeSmart program as a model for our own, joining in on suction harvester weed pull days, coordinating the Association newsletter, updating the website, and serving as SDRA liaison to the NRISoS. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if I can be of any assistance to you as one of our valued Association members.
— Carolyn Fortuna
Challenging times can bring out the best and the worst in people. An example of the former is seen in the response to Hurricane Harvey and support for victims. Signe Wilkinson illustrated this beautifully in a cartoon that ran in Sunday’s Providence Journal. Divergent political signs are underwater as a boat carries a diverse group of victims to safety.
Another example of the former can be seen in the actions of the SDRA Board. The SDRA Board members recognize the need for everyone to listen to all opinions, and the Board remains gracious and respectful when a variety of perspectives emerge.
The current SDRA Board is composed of elected representatives who, while sometimes holding very different views, work together in a spirit of mutual respect to protect and preserve the lake. They listen, plan, and respond. Numerous efforts are underway to respond to this season’s heavy weed growth. I feel privileged to work with such a hardworking and committed group of individuals.
– Mary O’Keeffe
Committee Chair Updates
Boat Greeter Program
If you’ve looked at ESS recommendations and the SDRA Lake Management Plan, you know that one important element of the plan is the voluntary inspection program. We work during fishing tournaments to educate boaters on the importance of cleaning their boats in order to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. We also show them how to inspect their boats for plant material, and we remove any plant material we find. Over the past few seasons, plant material has been found on about 20% of boats we inspect.
We have one remaining tournament this season, on Thursday, September 21st. What better way is there to end the season than with a nice group of volunteers to help with this education and outreach effort that is so important to our Lake Management Plan? We’ll meet at the Boat Launch at about 4:30p.m. and will be done in time for you to be home for supper (5:30-6ish).
I hope you will consider joining us for this important task. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email at email@example.com.
– Mary O’Keeffe
Events with SDRA — Weed Harvesting
Several sessions of weed harvesting have taken place since the lake warmed up in the early summer. We want to thank everyone who has given up his or her personal time to learn how to participate with the suction harvesting. Yes, it’s muddy work, but it is really rewarding to see the piles of milfoil being hauled off for composting at a farmer’s field.
One session was particularly well-attended. On Saturday, August 19, 2017, a group of 17 SDRA members and their families joined together to work on the suction harvester and to hand-harvest weeds. Here are some pictures from that day of community volunteerism.
Also, as you may know from a recent newsflash, suspicious weed growth in a small cove was confirmed through DEM as Invasive Phragmites. On September 2, a group of volunteers, including Art & Ken Searle, Judy & Rico Colaluca, Bill D’Agostino, Stephen Hanley, and Mary O’Keeffe, worked together in small boats and knee-deep muck. Seed tops were clipped, bagged, and removed for immediate incineration. An herbicide/surfactant mix was sprayed on the plants. After the plants die and dry, they will be incinerated in place (after the drawdown).
These plants are very invasive, with 80% of the plant mass growth under water. They should not be hand pulled, since doing so guarantees new, vigorous growth. This area of the lake will be monitored closely for the foreseeable future. Special thanks to Phyllis and Gene Pezzullo for allowing us onto their property to perform this important work, and Art for his keen eyes and quick planning!
Oh, to wave a magic wand and make milfoil disappear. Regrettably, managing milfoil is a much more complex, time consuming, long-term aggravation. One benefit milfoil has brought about, though, is renewed interest in our lake’s quality and swelling ranks of “Team Lake Management.” The increased involvement is a good thing, because milfoil is bigger than any single person’s, or small team’s abilities. Serving with people whose passion lies with sustainable, innovative solutions to milfoil’s major issues is quite rewarding. You are invited to join us and make your ideas, your research, and your voices heard as we determine the best courses of action for our unique circumstances. Our September 13 meeting is scheduled to start at 6:30pm at 61 Wood Road.
Actions the Lake Management Team are evaluating for possible recommendation to the SDRA Board include:
- Meeting with DEM for the purpose of requesting deeper drawdown depths.
- Virtual conference with directors of Lake Saint Catherine, located in VT. Lake Saint Catherine’s association is effectively (some Wells, VT residents have said, “Miraculously”) managing milfoil with an innovative technique known as Inversion Oxygenation. We want to know more about their success and how it might benefit our lake.
- Applying herbicide to milfoil.
- Hiring college interns or professional divers to perform diver assisted suction harvesting.
- Educating property owners about the detrimental effects of runoff, compost, and fertilizer on water quality and milfoil growth.
SDRA has wrestled with milfoil for a decade. It is readily apparent that no single approach is the sustainable, magic bullet we might wish for. We need a well stocked solutions box from which to draw. You are encouraged to join us as we seek, recommend, develop, and deploy those solutions.
— Art Searle
Save the Lakes – STL is currently working on developing ways to benefit all freshwater. Stop by the STL booth at the Green Festival in Burrillville on Saturday, September 9, 2017. The Green Festival offers family activities such as face painting, crafts, music, and bucket truck rides . Adults can learn about various methods of conservation from green vendors like SLT that will be participating in the Festival. Food trucks and the Burrillville Farmers Market will have fresh, local products for sale.
— Judy Colaluca
Final Notes from our President
In summary, WE all love OUR beautiful lake. Everyone has the right to express their own opinion with respect from others. Here on Smith and Sayles Reservoir there are many jobs that can be done- no job too small. There are actions that are currently be accomplished- get involved. Working alongside your water neighbors is a great experience and benefits all property owners!
My deepest thanks to all who have given and done so much for all of us here on Smith and Sayles Reservoir!!