Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter | April, 2019

Officers’ Updates

President

Since the last newsletter, SDRA has been busy! No matter the season there is much happening  here on Smith and Sayles Reservoir.

Thank you, Mike Benoit, for controlling the water level in our lake; Art Searle for organizing the data collected by Rico Colaluca and Hunter Dionne on water levels; Janice Baker and the committee on rewriting the SDRA by-laws; Mary O’Keeffe for compiling the fishing tournament data; Carolyn Fortuna for the newsletter, website, grant writing, etc.; Marissa Danville and Eric LaRiviere for working on our fundraiser in May; and, the effort and time that the Board donates continually.  

There is always much occuring on our lake, and so many folks make it happen. 

This leads me to think about the SDRA next events. Glocester’s 2nd Annual Earth Day Celebration Clean-Up will take place on Saturday, April 27, 2019, 9am – 1:00pm.  Everyone needs to participate to make this a success! SDRA is a sponsor and organizer for this event. The poster for Earth Day Clean-Up is attached for you to put up on your refrigerator and to share with  friends and family. Cleaning up our lake and the land that surrounds it is important to everyone.

The next event for all to get involved in is a great “FUN” night, a time to enjoy being with friends and neighbors. On May 18, 2019, from Saturday, 5:30 — 8:30 p.m.+  Bella’s Restaurant will be the setting for SDRA’s 6-course dinner with accompanying fine wine tastings led by Kevin Kitson. The entertainment will be the “Black Tie Affair” — the evening event is not to be missed. You can also help by donating items to the Silent Auction. A Poster is attached below..

SDRA’s Annual Meeting is the third Wednesday in June. This is a very important meeting, as there will be a review of the by-laws, a “reflection of the past year,” and election of officers. This is your chance to get involved.

Also, a Board majority has selected the company Solitude to do a lake survey this year in case the need for DEM application for herbicide application arise.

SDRA keeps moving on!

Judy Colaluca

Vice President

Judy Colaluca and I represented SDRA at the annual URI conference for individuals affiliated with watershed associations and land trusts, called the Land and Water Conservation Summit,  on Saturday, May 9, 2019. It was fabulous! I wrote 2 articles about it: “Wildly Fluctuating Forecasts” & Flooding — A Common Theme Of Climate Change” and “Statewide Perspectives: Siting Renewable Energy Projects Takes Collaboration.” I also attended a workshop on rain gardens and was able to brainstorm possible solutions with the presenters about “Rhode Island Stormwater Solutions.” I recommend that more SDRA members plan to attend next March, as the information presented at these workshops helps to inform the decisions we make here on Smith and Sayles Reservoir.

— Carolyn Fortuna

Secretary

As illustrated in the reports above, we are very fortunate to have such dedicated and forward-thinking individuals in key SDRA leadership positions. As I complete my 6th and final year as SDRA secretary, I continue to be impressed and humbled by the efforts of all of those serving on the board.

As we look forward to the 2019 Annual Meeting, we have an opportunity to bring new voices into leadership positions. If there is a change you would like to see, stand for office and work to make that change happen.

I hope to see you at the April 27th Earth Day community clean-up. Last year’s event was productive and fun (with an informal competition to see what brand of beer drinkers seem most likely to toss their cans out the car window).

It is an excellent way to give back to our beautiful lake community by working together to keep her clean and healthy.

– Mary O’Keeffe

Treasurer

Our treasury has been stable this past quarter, with normal operating expenses totaling right around $60 and deposits from dues of $250 and the herbicide reserve fundraiser of $1,250. Thank you to everyone who paid their dues and, if you still need to pay yours, they can be sent to SDRA at PO Box 284, Chepachet, RI 02814.

The birds are chirping. It’s a beautiful season here on the lake watching the trees grow green and the perennials pop though the ground. Soon the lake will be in full bloom. I’m excited to see what this season will bring. Thank you for your support, and don’t forget to come out to our wine dinner on May 18th!

–Marissa Danville

Director’s Update

The SDRA continually works hard at improving our lake and community.  In order to fulfill this commitment, it takes time, money, and volunteers from our Association.

Please consider volunteering at our Community Clean Up day on Saturday, April 27th 9:00am-1:00pm. Each year we pick up hundreds of pounds of litter that surrounds our lake and neighborhoods.

Bella’s Restaurant in Glendale will once again host our Annual Dinner and Wine Tasting on May 18th. It has proven to be an exceptional evening of wine, food, and dance. For additional information, please see the poster below.

Hope to see you there.

–Eric LaRiviere

Committee Updates

By-Laws

SDRA hired an attorney to assist our Association in a number of areas, one of which was to review our current by-laws to help regain our non-profit status and suggest overall  improvements. Mr. D’Olvidio’s involvement was most welcome because our by-laws, to my knowledge, have never had an official, legal review since their inception. At this time, a committee is reviewing the attorney’s work, as well as several ideas that emerged from the Board and by-laws reviewers.  Our goal is to present recommendations for membership consideration and approval at the SDRA annual meeting in June.

– Janice Baker

Bella’s Wine Dinner

Our annual wine dinner is just around the corner. Join us at Bella Restaurant for a 6-course dinner and wine tasting Saturday, May 18th from 5:30 – 8:30!

This event sold out quickly the past 2 years so get your tickets now by contacting Judy (401) 486-8414 or Eric (401) 241-4851.

Vegetarian and gluten-free options available.

If you have something you would like to donate to the silent auction, please contact Marissa Danville at mjdanville@gmail.com or (401) 632-7780. This night is sure to be a blast. I look forward to seeing you all there!

– Marissa Danville and Eric LaRiviere

Annual Earth Day Cleanup

Membership Update

We revised last year’s membership postcard on Vistaprint to reflect the dues increase from $50 to $100 and ordered #50 at a cost of $22 plus postcard postage. Marissa updated the membership list to reflect recent dues paid. Carolyn  addressed and sent them out for mailing. Marissa will keep the remaining blank postcards for future use.

— Marissa Danville and Carolyn Fortuna

Boat Greeter Program

Now that another major lawsuit has successfully demonstrated that Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup causes cancer, it is clear that we must be more mindful about the use of toxic herbicides as an approach to control invasive species in Smith and Sayles reservoir. Specifically, in relation to Navigate 2-4 D, the herbicide used last summer on our lake:

According to several sources, this herbicide has moderate acute toxicity, is a potential groundwater contaminant, possible carcinogen and probable endocrine disruptor/estrogen mimic in certain amphibians and people. 2,4-D has been shown to reduce the rate of survival in ducks and waterfowl, is toxic to some fish and causes mortality in crayfish, many mussel species and certain insects and zooplankton”(Rebecca Nystrom, Professor of Biology (retired), Member of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance Science Advisory Committee, Jamestown Post-Journal, 2017).

In spring of 2012 I responded to a training announcement from Save the Lakes that read “Volunteer lake greeters are the first line of defense in stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species in Rhode Island fresh waters.” Since that time we have talked with hundreds of visitors to our beautiful lake, educating them about the problem of aquatic invasive species and helping them inspect their boats and remove “aquatic hitchhikers.” The SDRA Boat Greeter/Voluntary Inspection Program will be getting the list of 2019 fishing tournaments soon.

I hope you will consider joining us this season in this important, sustainable, education and outreach effort to help control the spread of invasive species in our lake.

– Mary O’Keeffe

Drawdown

Winter 2018-2019 was the year of the un-drawdown. There was simply too much precipitation to lower the water level beyond 47 inches lower than capacity. There were five days when the high temperature was at freezing or below and the lakebed exposed, but the lowest level was a mere 35 inches below capacity. See the included chart. The lake is currently refilling. The drawdown remains part of our lake management strategy and we intent to continue the practice next year.

— Art Searle

Education and Website

If you have not done so, please sign up to receive an email anytime we post a notice on our website through blog posts. Go to this home page and enroll in the right column. It’s really easy! I’ve been posting notices of meetings, for example, which are open to all members. If you are signed up to receive blog posts, you’ll get a copy of these notices as well as other information that is disseminated on behalf of the Association.

— Carolyn Fortuna

Herbicide Fundraising

The Herbicides Committee is pleased to report that a major fundraising drive this year has achieved approximately $5000 in payments and pledges!  These dollars will be added to the funds already earmarked for herbicides application. As you may recall, last year SDRA authorized herbicides application to treat 46 acres of unwanted, disruptive  milfoil. Both research and experience have taught us that follow-up treatments will likely be needed sometime in the future, and that work is not cheap. So, like the Scouts motto – “Be Prepared”  – we will have the funds in place if needed, for more than one additional treatment. Thanks to all who helped make this fundraiser such a success.

Currently this Committee is working with the Board to put in place the necessary paperwork for DEM to enable the application of herbicides this year, if deemed needed by the survey and approved by the Board.

As always, our committee hopes that other strategies underway can abate the milfoil problem sufficiently without the use of herbicides.

— Deb Silva and Cleo Monti

Non-Herbicide Fundraising

Restore America’s Estuaries: In an attempt to locate additional funding for SDRA, I attended the Webinar for “Restore America’s Estuaries: 2019 Southeast Program, Watershed Grants.” This turned out to be a program for very large grants — generally of $100,00- $500,00. Smaller grants would be for bigger scale projects that need additional funding to complete. A special category this year called “peer to peer learning” of a regional importance of around $20,000 to $50,000 would be considered for smaller funding. This program “is not interested in funding small projects,” like a $20,000 stormwater project.

After attending the webinar, I recommended to the board and to our partner, Save the Lakes, that this grant application was not a good fit for us. The grantors were really looking for big organizations/ entities with big projects. It cannot have a localized impact — it must show upstream and downstream impacts.

Rhode Island Foundation: We have some information back from RI Foundation regarding our recent grant application for swale and rain ponds — good news and bad news. I’ll give the bad news first: we did not get the grant.

But here is the good news: the reviewer said the grant as a whole was really good! She said the biggest impediment was that it was ineligible — they do not fund construction, and they considered the swale and rain ponds to be construction. That being said, she said she liked a lot about the grant and organization.

In no particular order, she said that she was impressed with the website and the organization of volunteers. The application was well-written. The Association mission was clearly stated. We had a specific series of lessons we intended to learn and that we would be able to share with other entities/ Associations. She could see the benefit of the rain and swale ponds in this way to the larger state.

With our clear grant mission and intent, it also appeared to her that SDRA has good governance through the executive board. We showed the capacity to do the type of fund-raising that would be necessary for our part of the grant activities. Moreover, our larger relationship with Save the Lakes is excellent in showing how we would “pass the baton to other Associations.”

She also had some advice for future grant writing. Because we are a small organization, it seemed, on first glance, that the benefit of the grant was quite limited. However, if we were to speak about public access, we would be able to talk about more numbers of people who would benefit, such as those that use the state boat ramp. She also said that we should try to be more specific when using consultants and to provide a scope of work — in this case, we might’ve outlined better how one landscape architect would need to do X number of hours as opposed to the landscape engineer, who would need to do Y number of hours.

As a whole, while I was disappointed in not receiving the grant on behalf of SDRA and STL, I did feel as if our research and writing was appropriate to our goals. If anyone comes across another small grant that might fund such rain and swale pond construction, please let me know. We’re not done yet, people! Thanks to each person on the committee who contributed to the grant writing process.

— Carolyn Fortuna

Nomination and Elections

All members, this is the time to think if you would like to be part the Board.

Now is the time to speak up and submit your name to the nominating committee.

Rico Colaluca 603-986-7532

Steve Hanley 401-641-4515

Janice Baker 401-578-2308

Save the Lakes

Save The Lakes is busy planning the Annual Meeting on April 23, 2019 6:30 – 8:30 pm at the Johnston Senior Center 1291 Hartford Avenue, Johnston, RI 02919.  This meeting is open to everyone concerned and interested in preserving, protecting, and improving freshwater here in Rhode Island. This year the focus is on DEM office of Water Resource staff explaining changes in the freshwater wetland regulations, answering questions, addressing our issues, and updating us about their activities. Also , we will learn learn more about the Lake Smart RI Program that is piloted here on Smith and Sayles Reservoir through SDRA. And Resident Initiative will be part of our conversations, too.

Come meet other RI waterfront residents and share solutions and ask questions about waterfront problems.

~Judy Colaluca  President, STL

SDRA Spotlight on Janice Baker

Janice has spent much time on studying, reviewing, writing and rewriting SDRA’s By-Laws.  This needs to be completed for our organization to apply for a 501(c)4 status. Janice held many meetings with her committee and with the SDRA Board.  Her persistence and dedication to excellence is commendable and a positive attribute for our organization.

Thank you, Janice, for all you do!

As SDRA moves forward, it has been and will always be my honor to serve in preserving, protecting, and improving OUR lake.

–Judy Colaluca

Non-Herbicide Committee to Meet on Thursday, August 23 — All Grantwriters Welcomed!

A brief meeting of the Sand Dam Reservoir Association Non-Herbicide Committee will take place on Thursday, August 23 at 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. at the home of committee chair, Carolyn Fortuna, 115 Sand Dam Road. Anyone who has experience writing grants is welcomed to attend.

The goals of the meeting are to review our winter grant writing and make a plan to move forward.

Agenda:

  1. Review idea for a steam cleaning program at the boat ramp that was presented to DEM last month. Lots of brainstorming occurred, and it seems that legislative changes would be needed to require boaters to be inspected.
  2. At the end of March, the team wrote the first draft of a grant to create swale ponds around the lake to catch road runoffs. A landscape architect looked at the grants and provided substantial feedback.
  3. At the end of January, our team wrote a grant to create our our lakesmart program. It would teach homeowners on the lake about ways that landscaping feeds nutrients into the lake and how different landscaping can serve as a barrier. We received an email that said we did not get the grant. What to do now?

December 2017 SDRA Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

December, 2017

www.sanddamreservoir.com

Board of Directors’ Updates

Officers’ Updates

President- Judy Colaluca

Winter is here!  The thin layer of ice appearing early in the morning at our lake’s shoreline is a sign of the change in the weather. This is the time of year when I think about what has happened on our lake and how to make plans for the future.  

Lake life is beautiful, peaceful and enjoyable in every way. Sometimes, as we all know, life throws us a few curve balls and changes our plans that have been carefully set. Evaluating what is occurring concerning our lake is the constant job of the SDRA Board of Directors. We look at a situation and discuss it from many angles — talking about different ideas and not always agreeing– but each Board member is treated with highest respect for his/ her opinion. We strive to develop a path that the majority of ALL SDRA members will be comfortable following. NO one choice makes everyone happy ! Doing nothing — improves nothing; waiting — only postpones a decision– and just to change and do something only improves a situation for a short time.

That is what appears to have happened before: expensive chemicals killed the weeds for a short time, and now they are back.  We did not have a plan for continuous control. Currently, there are several plans working to control weeds: drawdown, cleanup of pollutants, boat inspection program, suction harvester, hand weed pulling, a Lakesmart Program, and others.

The decision to use or not use chemicals is up to the majority – but- everyone needs to be involved and do something no matter the decision. Our vote will help the Board determine the direction to follow before we have to take the next curve. There is much work to be done, many conversations to have, and final decisions to make. I sincerely recommend that you get involved — call a Board member for ideas how.

Vice President- Carolyn Fortuna

The autumn was busy for the executive board of Sand Dam Reservoir Association. We’re working closely with the Lake Management Committee to formulate a series of strategies to mitigate the invasive weeds in Smith & Sayles Reservoir. To do so, we hired ESS to return to our lake, survey the 184 acres, determine changes that have occurred since our last survey in 2015, and share their recommendations. You can see that report on the Lake Management page of our Sand Dam Reservoir Association website.

We’ve also been networking with other Associations and agencies to determine some long-term practices to maintain the lake water quality. Of interest has been a possible LakeSmart program in conjunction with Save the Lakes and other interested groups. This program recognizes waterfront homeowners who use natural landscaping strategies to protect the health of their lake. We’ll be investigating that program further and hope to be able to work alongside DEM so that Smith & Sayles Reservoir becomes a model for an education and reward program. We’ll acknowledge and celebrate lakefront property owners who maintain their homes in ways that protect lake water quality and property values.

I learn so much from each of you as we work together toward protecting our much-beloved lake. I am in awe every time I see one of you, my neighbors, pulling or raking out invasive weeds at the lake’s edge while the drawdown is occurring. You are truly making a difference.

Happy holidays to you and your cherished ones.

Secretary – Mary O’Keeffe

In this season of being grateful, I feel blessed to be part of a group of hard-working and dedicated individuals who serve on the SDRA Board. Our monthly Board meetings are productive and respectful. We are all collaborating to protect and preserve our beautiful lake.

The SDRA website (https://sanddamreservoir.com/) and quarterly newsletters are designed to keep members informed about our efforts. If you know somebody who would like to be added to our mailing list, please forward their email address to SDRA.secretary@cox.net.

Treasurer-  Eric LaRiviere

As the 2017 year is nearly behind us, it’s nice to look back and see how many Association members taken an active role in our lake’s future.  Many of you have attended some of our meetings and have expressed some very valuable viewpoints.  We may not all agree at times, but we need to respect each member’s opinion and know each person’s voice is as important as the next.         

As the Association’s Treasurer, I am aware of our need to maintain a healthy financial picture. We have already begun planning for next year’s fundraising events. For those of you who attended this year’s Wine Tasting and Dinner at Bella’s Restaurant, I think you would all agree it was a great success.  We had so much positive feedback that we have already set April 14th, 2018 aside for a repeat performance.  So Save the Date, and I look forward to a very positive and productive new year.

Best regards to you and your family.

Continue reading “December 2017 SDRA Newsletter”

May 20 SDRA Fundraiser at the Purple Cat Vineyard and Winery

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 11 Money Hill Road in Chepachet, RI.  Proceeds will benefit Sand Dam Reservoir Association. SDRA is a non-profit organization that works in conjunction with a network of other lakes in Rhode Island to maintain high water quality and reduce invasive plant species.

If you haven’t been to the Purple Cat Vineyard and Winery 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?

In addition to the wine tasting, the fundraiser evening will include a selection of complimentary appetizers, a 50/50 raffle, and a Silent Auction. To reserve your ticket, just click through to May 20 Wine Tasting RSVP and fill in your name and number of guests.

And thanks for spreading the word through your friends and family network. If it’s anything like the last Wine Tasting fundraiser we held last September, this should be a lot of fun!

Here are the details:

SDRA Wine Tasting at the Purple Cat

Vineyard and Winery

Friday, May 20 from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

RSVP to: mjdanville@gmail.com or ashleyhopkins8@live.com

or c4tuna31@gmail.com or judycolaluca@aol.com

Purple Cat Vineyard and Winery

11 Money Hill Road

Chepachet, RI 02814

(behind the old Purple Cat Restaurant)

http://www.purplecatwinery.com/

purple cat sign

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter, June, 2015

logowww.sanddamreservoir.com

Board of Directors’ Updates

President- Judy Colaluca

Warm summer breezes, reflections of diamonds dancing on the lake, and cool evenings are only a few of the wonders of lakeside living.  Wonderful- summer has begun!! Here is our most important annual SDRA event; I hope to see you all there….

Annual Meeting for SDRA, Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Glocester Town Hall, Main Street

6 p.m. (social hour), 7 – 9 p.m. (business meeting)

The meeting will begin with a refreshment hour from 6 p.m.-7 p.m.  This is a great opportunity to “Catch Up” with your neighbors and learn the recent neighborhood  news.

The business meeting will promptly convene at 7 p.m.. At the business meeting, “ALL” have the right to express ideas and concerns respectfully, but, to vote, you must have paid your dues for the 2014-2015 year.

Agenda items include new neighbor introductions, reports of the officers and standing committees, Lake Management Plan overview, fundraising, election of officers, Sand Dam Day plans, and new business.  You’ll have an opportunity to see where you can get more involved.

I hope to see you on June 17, 2015 for the Annual Meeting.

Vice President- Lynn Kohanski

First of all, as a newly elected vice president, I would like to extend my thanks to SDRA board for welcoming me into the board of directors.I also would like to encourage all SDRA members to become more active participants in what our association has to offer. If you have not been involved, I would like to encourage you to reconsider joining or rejoining the association.  We have a lot of great things happening in the near future. There are multiple opportunities available to get involved including dam clean-up, boat ramp greeting/ inspection, lake management, and fundraising. Again, thank you, and I look forward to meeting everyone at one of our upcoming events or at the annual meeting on June 17 at the Glocester Town Hall.

Secretary- Mary O’Keeffe

The SDRA Board continues to meet regularly. A major campaign has been to update the list of residents on the lake and encourage all residents, new and old, to become active dues-paying members of the Sand Dam Reservoir Association. We are blessed with a beautiful lake and a wonderful Association. There are opportunities for involvement to suit every temperament, from education and outreach at the boat launch to fundraising, grant writing, dam clean-up, and even community weed-pulls. We hope everyone will consider getting involved. If you have contact information for a new neighbor or anyone who would like to receive our mailings, please forward it to sdra.secretary@cox.net.

Treasurer and Fund Raising-  Carolyn Fortuna

The SDRA treasury has remained quite stable over the last fiscal quarter, with several families renewing their memberships.  We have received approval of our State Legislative Grant, which we applied for mid-winter, with the goal to help fund the important responsibilities of our dam master.  Additionally, the Board of Directors collaborated diligently at our May meeting to refine working language toward our application of the DEM and State of RI 2015 Bay and Watershed Grant.  Here is our statement of project purpose.  Keep your fingers crossed!

“After nearly ten years attempting to control nuisance aquatic vegetation, including the exotic invasive variable-leaf milfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum) from Smith and Sayles Reservoir in Chepachet, RI, Sand Dam Reservoir Association (SDRA) has identified a more efficacious method to pull from the bottom of the lake — root and all: a Suction Weed Harvester that we will purchase, maintain, and employ ourselves in conjunction with Save the Lakes (STL).”

SDRA is actively considering other grant opportunities and fundraising events.  If you’d like to get involved, please contact me at c4tuna31@gmail.com.

Reports of the Standing Committees

Boat Greeter Program – Mary O’Keeffe

The Boat Greeter (aka Voluntary Inspection) Program will get into full-swing in July, in time for the busy fishing tournament season. Of the 14 tournaments scheduled on Smith and Sayles for summer 2015, eight will be held in July. Last year we were able to talk with lots of friendly boaters and inspected well over 100 boats. About 20% were found to have aquatic hitchhikers upon arrival at the boat launch. Educating boaters about the importance of proper boater hygiene is an important first-line of defense in our efforts to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. We also hope to work with our friends on Keech Pond to establish an active Boat Launch Greeter Program on that lake.  If you are interested in learning more about our Boat Greeter Program, please email me at mokeeffe@providence.edu

By-Laws– Janice Baker

Please review the proposed changes to the SDRA By-Laws at this link.  We will be voting on the By-Laws at the Annual Meeting on Wednesday, June 17.

Lake Management Plan

Dam Master – Dave Morin

In the spring, we conduct daily monitoring of the lake water level.  Using a series of marks near the dam, we assess where we are above or below our targeted level.  At this writing, we are 5” over our usual level due to recent rains.  We will open the gate up again as needed. Our current level is at about 46 inches with a summer goal between 40-41 inches.

Drawdown – Judy Colaluca and Art Searle

Preliminary results of the May 28 lake survey conducted by ESS Group, Inc. suggest that our drawdown program to combat variable leaf milfoil continues to yield positive results. In a brief communication with Judy Colaluca, Mat Ludwig, project scientist with ESS Group Inc.,  stated:

We did find some patches of variable-leaf milfoil. These patches were exclusively found in deeper water, which suggests that the drawdown program has been effective in controlling growth in the shallows.

The drawdown team is happy that the hard work of coordinating, measuring, lifting, hauling, and closely monitoring the lake level is having a positive impact in our lake’s overall condition. With guidance from The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, we hope to continue the drawdown program during the 2015-2016 winter months.

Keech Pond Liaison – Rico Colaluca

John Holmes closed the valve to the Keech Pond dam in early April.  He said that all looks good on Keech Pond, with the exception that there are mole and chipmunk holes on their dam.  If water were to enter the dam, it could damage the integrity of the dam.  They will be landscaping around the dam to alleviate the pest problem, including cutting down brush around the dam and looking for a replacement weed to cover the dam.

Northern Rhode Island Supporters of Open Spaces— Carolyn Fortuna

SDRA attended the NRI SOS gathering on Saturday, April 11 as local sustainability liaison. With the theme of “Conversations about Conversation,” the Annual Meeting at the Greenville Library featured an informal discussion on conservation farming led by Kate Sayles, Agriculture & Forestry Technician for NRICD. Sayles offered many ideas about reclaiming farmland, which translated to a deeper appreciation for soil management at our own properties.

Save the Lakes – Judy Colaluca

Save the Lakes continues to strive to protect, preserve, and improve all freshwater in the state of Rhode Island. The Boat Inspection Program is off to a busy start. This year an intern from Bryant College will be working with us to further develop the program in co-operation with DEM.  Also, recently an informational meeting was held with DEM.  All freshwater is important get involved.  Many hands make light work and get things done.

Sunshine Fund– Carolyn Fortuna

It was with great sadness that we said goodbye to our longtime lake friend, neighbor, and SDRA advocate, Frank Searles.  Frank augmented the pride he felt for the outdoors and gardening with continued support for SDRA and its initiatives.  He loved sharing ideas with lake neighbors at many, many Sand Dam Days over the years.  He will be missed.

WebsiteCarolyn Fortuna

Our Association website is located at www.sanddamreservoir.com.  One tab is called “What’s Happening” and contains SDRA’s quarterly newsletter.  Together, the website and newsletter have been a productive mechanism for the SDRA Officers and Board of Directors to get information to our members, other lake associations, and individuals with an interest in lake management. We currently have 121 followers; are you one?  If not, log into the website and enter your email address where it says, “Follow Blog via Email.”

You’ll get a virtual tour of the SDRA website and its features at our annual meeting on June 17, 2015.

Final thoughts –

Be Proactive.

UNLESS someone like you

cares a whole awful lot,

nothing is going to get better.

It’s not.

-The Lorax

Remember to Save the Date for the SDRA Annual Meeting,

outlined by our By-Laws to take place on Wednesday, June 17, 2015.

Weed Pull II at Sand Dam Reservoir

Sunday, August 10 was the date for the second planned SDRA weed pull event (Weed Pull II) of 2014. Beginning at 3PM and ending at 8 PM, the event was another great volunteer effort.

Conferencing+With+James
Conferencing with James

Well organized and well attended, 16 volunteers gathered together and proceeded with their supplies, boats, and assigned divers to areas of milfoil previously identified by Ray Theriault and Art Searle. The four divers, led by James Newland, were prepped by Art Searle on what milfoil looks like and how to extract with its strong root system without creating too much fragmentation.

As the divers moved through their gridded areas significantly more milfoil was found.

Brother and brother team
Brother and brother team
This+Is+How+SDRA+Gathers+The+Big+Bad+Weeds
This is how SDRA gathers the big bad weeds
On+The+Move
On the move
OK+Class%2C+This+is+What+Milfoil+Looks+Like
Okay, class: This is what milfoil looks like

Large amounts of were extracted and loaded into the accompanying rowboats. It was all deposited at various lakeside properties offered by the volunteers at the end of the day.

A+Professional+Diver%27s+Bounty
A professional diver’s bounty

Everyone who participated did a terrific job. The boat captains, Bob Bedard, Ernie Heon and Steve Hopkins managed to move everyone into position and continued to stay on point with safety. The boat assistants Cleo Monti, Deb Silva and John Guertin were also watching and communicating constantly with the men manning the rowboats. Rowers Kyle Theriault, Eric Lariviere, Sam Hawkes , his friend, Brendan, and Myles Silva stayed with their divers and worked well with them to make sure that milfoil was properly secured in the rowboats for disposal and floating pieces were captured. Pauline Finlaw was on call to relieve and assist the rowboats with milfoil transport. Art Searle and his brother, George, also dove for weeds and provided additional safety assistance.

James+The+Diver+with+Milfoil+in+Hand
James the diver with milfoil in hand

Mary O’Keeffe’s signage at the boat ramp was effective in assuring that no additional boat traffic obstructed the divers. Ray and Elaine Theriault provided needed boat surveillance and coordination of this extraordinary effort. Sam Hawkes was instrumental in hiring the divers as well as organizing a celebratory pizza party at the conclusion of this four hour event. Rico provided 1000 feet of line and Myles Silva donated multiple pieces of rebar for the underwater grid.

Moving+The+Product+2
Moving the product

The resulting harvest was significant and contained only milfoil. The amount of milfoil identified by Ray and Art several days prior to the planned weed pull had tripled in volume by Sunday afternoon. The weeds were deep rooted and at times very hard to remove. The divers were persistent; returning over and over again to assure that the tentacle-like root ball was also removed.

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It’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it

This SDRA Community project was truly a monumental effort and significant to the history of Sand Dam Reservoir. A heartfelt thanks has been extended to everyone who gave up their mid-summer Sunday afternoon to participate.

WHAT A TEAM!

 

 

 

This article was written and photographed by Elaine Theriault.