Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter
President- Judy Colaluca
Summer in Chepachet is a wonderful place. We are all so fortunate to live in this great environment. We share the experience of being neighbors on our beautiful body of water we call Smith and Sayles Reservoir. There are many reasons why folks decide to live here and join SDRA. Together we value and respect our by-laws and Mission Statement.
Sitting here looking out at the lake (a favorite spot of mine) brings much concern to me. There are many issues to address, and dealing with them is difficult. As I have stated in the past, chemicals will be applied sometime in mid-June (date to be yet announced by the Herbicide Committee). This year’s application of herbicide will be beneficial along with the other recommendations by ESS. There are plans to treat the lake in various ways. Chemicals do clean up our lake for the moment (season), yes, and make it appear the problem is solved. As with any type of treatment, there needs to be follow up – – suction harvesting, hand pulling, spot treatments, boat inspection to keep new weeds out, drawdown, education on buffer zones and the use of fertilizer, along with lake clean-ups. Without these follow up measures, the end result is not complete as occurred in the past. My family, as does yours, has much invested in our home and property, and it is essential that we work together to control our situation using all treatment angles (tools in the tool box).
This year we have been building relationships with the Glocester Town Council by bringing to their attention the litter problem. Our request for a sign to cover loads of trash being brought to the Transfer Station was accomplished. Thank you, Eric LaRiviere, for your efforts. And the Earth Day Clean Up grew from that effort. Also, members attending Zoning and Planning Board meetings have developed respectful working relationships with other town officials. Recently, Aaron Colaluca worked alongside John Holmes to improve Keech Dam. This develops communications with the Keech Pond Association.
Thank you ALL who are working on the lake outside the limits of the water. There are other activities where SDRA is represented — a big thank you to all. The end result is to get involved — everyone has a talent and can accomplish something! “Respect” by working together is key!
Special Recognition of a Sand Dam Reservoir Association Member
When a detail or current information is needed, a chart to put collected data on or someone to work hard on a designated project, Art Searle is the person to contact. Give Art a minute, and he has what is needed to accomplish a task! Art has been the leader of the Lake Management Team for several years. Many very important projects have been accomplished with him as a team player: drawdown, rebuilding the spillway, working cooperatively with DEM and the Town, clean ups, diving off the suction harvester, hand pulling weeds, immediately helping to stop the growth of phragmites… the list goes on. As Art steps down as Chair of the Lake Management Committee, we will always look to him as a model in the way he has been involved with and respected the goals of each lake management sub-committee. The Board is currently accepting self-nominations to fill the position of Lake Management Committee Chair.
In closing, when Art comes to help with a task, he is sure to bring members of his family to do some work, too. Much of the success of our recent fundraiser is due to the Searle Family. Thank you, Art, for all you do — and thank you, Searle Family, for your continuous support!
Vice President- Carolyn Fortuna
As I returned from Florida to our lush green New England countryside, I felt so fortunate. Here we are on a pristine lake, visited by migrating waterfowl, cooled by gentle breezes and tall deciduous trees, able to boat and fish and swim in the high season whenever we want. Ours is a rare and wonderful experience on Smith & Sayles Reservoir.
Of course, with unique opportunities comes great responsibility. In an era in which greenhouse gas emissions are changing our ecosystems with each new year, we must all balance our desire to maximize enjoyment of our lake with the sometimes tedious chores of maintaining its water quality. Lakes across the world are now dealing with the effects of temperature increases and extreme weather events. We know that invasive milfoil and, more recently, bladderwort have been introduced to Smith & Sayles Reservoir. At this moment in time, we must do everything within our means to reduce these invasives as well as to prevent additional species from taking hold.
So we, as a thriving lake community, must sometimes set aside a hot and sunny weekend afternoon to volunteer on the suction harvester or to hand-pull weeds. Soon, our Lakeside Buffer Community Collaboration, modeled on Maine’s statewide Lakesmart program, will begin, which means asking ourselves whether we want to volunteer to have our lake/ property interfaces analyzed to determine if we are introducing nutrients that nourish invasives. In fact, Solitude, the company that has been hired to administer herbicides on the lake this summer, featured this topic in their recent newsletter.
Moreover, we have one of the few successful boat greeter programs in Rhode Island. During bass tournaments, a team of SDRA volunteers gathers to help people who launch off the state boat ramp to understand how vegetative “hitchhikers” on their boats can transfer invasive species, one body of water to the other.
Our biggest program is clearly our annual drawdown, which is conducted with DEM oversight. Our Lake Management Committee is diligent, organized, and conscientious about the data collection and record keeping necessary to comply with DEM requirements. This team works daily throughout the bitterly cold winter months. Our longitudinal water testing study with URI gives SDRA a certain gravitas with DEM, as we have demonstrated year-to-year how dedicated our membership is in protecting the lake water quality. Regulating lake levels — that significant and often stressful process of raising and lowering the lake commensurate with weather events — is time consuming and even onerous.
Have you thought to help with any of these important activities? For example, the fundraising necessary for herbicide application is substantial, and that committee needs your help. By the way, if you or a neighbor have a dug well, the committee has informed the board that your well is at an approved distance from the chemical application.
Dedicated SDRA individuals often work quietly behind the scenes on these and many other SDRA activities, including maintaining our legal requirements and treasury. Please consider joining in at least one more SDRA activity. With a small community, we need all the help we can muster to accomplish our broad agenda. When we all step up, we can accomplish so much.
Secretary- Mary O’Keeffe
I am hoping to see many of you at our upcoming annual meeting, Wednesday, June 20th. Did you know that the date of the annual meeting is determined by the SDRA By-Laws (Article V, section 6)? You can always count on having the opportunity to see your SDRA friends and neighbors on the third Wednesday in June.
The annual meeting is an opportunity to build the SDRA community and organize efforts to protect and preserve our beautiful lake. There are many opportunities to get involved. We currently have 32 dues-paying members – wouldn’t it be wonderful to have 32 families actively engaged in our efforts? There really is something for everyone, from fundraising (herbicide and non-herbicide options available), community trash pick-ups, community weed-pulls, education and outreach efforts (e.g., LakeSmart Training, Voluntary Inspection/Boat Launch Greeter Program), working the suction harvester, to working on important committees (e.g., Lake Management, Education/Website). If you have an idea about how to make SDRA better, why not think about what you can do, personally, to make that change?
Bring your ideas and suggestions to the annual meeting. Consider standing for election for the Board position. As some of you know, my “day job” is as a Health Psychologist. Community connectedness and environmental engagement are two of the most powerful ways to promote physical and psychological well-being. Please join us – it will be good for us all.
SDRA Annual Meeting
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Glocester Senior Center
6 p.m. – 7 p.m. light refreshments (please bring an item if you can)
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. business meeting
As you will see in more detail below, the Bella’s Fundraiser was a success. Our treasury can now provide the necessary funds for the 2018 herbicide application as well as to continue to retain $5000 for Association annual operating expenses.
Please bring your checkbook to pay dues for the 2018-2019 year in order to vote at the annual meeting.
Director — Steve Hopkins
Having spent all my 83 summers on Sand Dam Reservoir, I have enjoyed it. It is sad to see the condition that it is in. The weeds prevent many of us from boating and swimming, and we are having a hard time getting rid of it. I’ve never seen it like this — never.
I am therefore committed to do all I can to improve the quality of the lake.
Boat Greeter Program – Mary O’Keeffe
This will be my 7th season coordinating the Voluntary Inspection/Boat Launch Greeter Program at the Smith & Sayles boat launch. We talk with boaters about the importance of proper boater hygiene in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species. We also show boaters how to inspect their boats and trailers to remove aquatic “hitchhikers.”
Evidence suggests that our efforts are worthwhile. Repeat visitors who know to expect us sometimes report being tardy for tournaments because they’ve taken the time to perform a thorough inspection and cleaning before arriving at the ramp – they don’t want to disappoint us with a dirty boat.
Tournament dates and corresponding volunteer shifts for 2018 include:
June 21st Thursday 4-5:30pm shift
July 10th Tuesday 4-5:30pm shift
July 15th Sunday 6-7:30am shift
August 2nd Thursday 4-5:30pm shift
August 7th Tuesday 4-5:30pm shift
August 26th Sunday 5-6:30am shift
Sept 9th Sunday 5-6:30am shift
Sept 20 Thursday 4-5:30pm shift
Sept 30 Sunday 6-7:30am shift
I will bring a volunteer sign-up sheet to the June 20th annual meeting.
Information about the program can be found at http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/water/quality/surface-water/aisresp.php#GREAT
If you are interested in helping with the Boat Greeter and Voluntary Inspection Program, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 568-2657. Thanks!
By-Laws – Janice Baker
The by-laws committee has one action item to come before the membership at the June 2018 annual meeting. As a precursor to restoring the tax exempt status of the SDRA, it is deemed necessary to amend the bylaws to conform to current IRS regulations which require a statement to the effect that, should the SDRA dissolve, all remaining assets would be used exclusively for the purposes stated in its mission.
Therefore, it will be recommended that Article I, Section 3 Mission, add a second paragraph as follows:
Should the SDRA dissolve, all remaining assets would be used exclusively for the purposes stated in its Mission.
Education and Website – Steve Hanley and Carolyn Fortuna
Our Sand Dam Reservoir Association website (sanddamreservoir.com) is a living, dynamic space. In preparation for the June 20, 2018 annual meeting, we’ve surveyed each page on the website and edited to reflect recent changes. Certainly, if you see any needed changes, please let us know by sending us the page link and the text that needs changing.
We use WordPress as our site editor, which requires special tutorials to learn. We always welcome anyone who’d like to write copy to submit for a post (news and events) or page (static information). Your help would be really appreciated!
Event Sponsored by SDRA— Judy Colaluca
Bargain Buyer, May 2018
Bella’s SDRA Annual Fundraiser, Year Two: April, 2018: Marissa Danville and Eric LaRiviere
The dining room was full, the food kept coming, the wine flowed generously, and the band played into the wee hours. The Silent Auction and the 50/50 raffle were even more popular than the previous year, if that could be possible. We are so grateful to Kevin Kitson for his wonderful sommelier skills — the crowd loved the wine selection!
Here is the breakout of the net proceeds from the 2018 Bella’s SDRA Annual Fundraiser:
- Total herbicide funds from Bella’s Wine Dinner = $4,465.80
- Total non-herbicide funds from Bella’s Wine Dinner = $959.20
We were all very pleased with the results of this fundraiser. Clearly, we have a community that cares about our lake — and enjoys an evening of fine dining and wines.
Non-Herbicide — Carolyn Fortuna
Our committee of dedicated individuals has produced two grants (“Lakeside Buffer Community Collaboration” for the Five Star Urban Waters Restoration Program and “Swale Ponds on Smith & Sayles Reservoir” for the RI Foundation) and is considering a third one. We learn a lot each time we collaborate on the grant writing.
Several obstacles need to be overcome each time we identify a possible grant:
- Finding common planning time across time zones and geographic regions
- Dedicating time to research and writing
- Organizing required filing materials, some of which seem to be designed for bigger organizations than SDRA
- Breathing deeply and being patient as we await grant result notification.
We always welcome new members to our committee, as your energy, time on task, and determination might just be the equation that we need to get a grant that makes a difference to the water quality on Smith & Sayles Reservoir. Thanks to current members Connie Worthington, Terry Tullis, Michael Carley, Judy Colaluca, Marissa Danville, and Sharon Heone.
Herbicide — Deb Silva
The herbicide treatment is scheduled for June 13. An inspection will be conducted 1 week prior to treatment. 46 acres will be treated with a DEM approved herbicide.
GoFundMe site–— Marissa and Dennis Danville
If you missed out donating during the Bella’s Fundraiser, or wish you had given more now that you understand the large amount of money it will take to apply herbicide treatments, please remember that the GoFundMe site is an easy way to donate to SDRA.
Keech Pond Liaison – Rico Colaluca
Keech Pond has been working on developing a drainage area to collect water runoff containing pollutants from roads, lawn fertilizers, and debris. This new system is working beautifully and is helping to keep our lake clean. John Holmes requested help on Keech Dam and Aaron Colaluca responded. Thank you, Aaron.
Lake Management Plan – Art Searle
It is no secret that our lake supports a thriving milfoil infestation. Anyone who has navigated or fished the lake recently has undoubtedly seen vast, disastrously thick milfoil patches just under the water’s surface. Throughout last fall, winter, and this spring, I’ve been itching to return to the areas we used our suction harvester to observe what, if any, effects our efforts had.
The areas on which we chose to focus were chosen by looking at the water’s surface for some of the densest, nastiest areas of growth. We literally went to the worst, thickest spots. Many locations where our suction harvester spent time last summer were documented using GPS. Sometimes we forgot to “pin” areas of concentration because teams were too eager to jump in and begin harvesting. When we did remember to mark and “pin” locations, we made them available in this live, interactive map (https://bit.ly/2LIGKEm).
Monday, I used GPS to return to the exact coordinates of previous work areas. I floated through and over large, growing milfoil patches to reach those areas. Upon entering the nearly 50 foot radius of each pinned spot, I noticed marked reduction and sometimes absence of growing milfoil. A few strands were sometimes visible within the documented area. Proof at last! It works! Our suction harvester can actually make a difference!
There is no way we are going to accomplish lake-wide control of milfoil exclusively with the suction harvester. However, we can be more convinced than ever of its viability. It remains a verified option for controlling smaller areas that other methods may miss. If you are interested in working with or observing the suction harvester, let Aaron, Rico, or Art know. We would be delighted to have you on board — once the water warms a bit more.
Last August, a growing stand of the invasive plant known as Phragmites was discovered near the southwest corner of the lake. A sample was delivered to RIDEM and confirmed to be the invasive variety. On September 2 2017, the stand was treated as prescribed by The University of Michigan researchers by removing the seed heads and applying a glyphosate based herbicide. Fewer than 16 ounces of Roundup were applied in a five gallon, water based solution. Observations made on 5/28/2018 showed no living Phragmites. However, the area should be closely observed for regrowth. According to environmental educators, “Phragmites will turn a pond into a field in no time.” If you would like help confirming suspected Phragmites growth, see a member of your lake management team.
Nomination and Elections – Rico Colaluca and Steve Hanley
The following position is up for election for SDRA:
- Director (3 year) position
If anyone would like to place her/ his name on the ballot for this position, please contact Steve Hanley (email@example.com) or Rico Colaluca (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Also, please let us know if you would like to serve on any committees. We will provide you with those chairs’ contact information and get you on all listserves.
Save the Lakes – Judy Colaluca
On June 27, 2018 STL will be hosting a “Lake and Watershed Roundtable” at the Johnston Senior Center, 1291 Hartford Avenue in Johnston, RI from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. More details to follow. Please join us in this annual event in conjunction with DEM and Watershed leaders.
See you at the Annual Meeting, Wednesday, June 20, to learn more about old and new issues occuring in and around Smith and Sayles Reservoir. Volunteers working together accomplish great things!