Special Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

January, 2018

www.sanddamreservoir.com

Dear SDRA Members,

As President of SDRA, I am extremely pleased with the number of responses to the recent SDRA ballot received from dues paying members. There is great concern about our lake, and together we can make a difference. Working together is the key. Our water in our shared lake needs to be respected — and lake neighbors need to respect each landowner’s opinion.  The elected Board is working to accomplish what is best for our lake — we will respect all opinions.

The SDRA Board, as you read below, is looking at a multi-plan approach to milfoil management. Using just the herbicide approach is only a short term and expensive control to curb our chronic problem. The suction harvester, the boat inspection program, hand harvesting, the use of Best Practice procedures to stop the use of fertilizers and composting at the water’s edge, diverting road run off, building buffer zones, and developing a Lake Smart Program are ALL important ways as we build our multi- plan approach.

I compare invasive weeds to developing cancer. To gain control, there is a need for the “bitter medicine” followed by a  multi-planned healthy approach.

Don’t use excuses for working on OUR lake — there is a job for everyone!

Call, email or text with your questions.

Your neighbor,

Judy

Overview of the Late Autumn Ballot Regarding Possible Herbicide Application

In autumn, 2017, the executive board of Sand Dam Reservoir Association, gaining input from the Lake Management Committee, sought to formulate a series of strategies to mitigate the invasive weeds in Smith & Sayles Reservoir. 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.

The SDRA Board of Directors then sought guidance from the membership as to whether the Association should look into herbicide application as a way to mitigate invasive milfoil and other invasive species. You received a ballot with the invitation to vote whether SDRA should or should not pursue the possibility of applying herbicide treatments to invasive weeds in Smith & Sayles Reservoir. Paper ballots were due to SDRA’s Post Office Box 284 by midnight on December 31, 2017.

On Wednesday, January 3, 2018, the executive board of SDRA met and opened the ballots. The results are below.

The Ballot Results

Number of Ballots Received Ballots in Favor of Pursuing Herbicide Application Ballots Opposed to Pursuing Herbicide Application
26 21 5

Possible Courses of Action/ Next Steps

The executive board of SDRA has outlined the next series of steps, based on the results of the herbicide application ballot and also continuing the board of directors’ plans for weed mitigation, 2017-2018, which was distributed to the membership in the December, 2017 newsletter. Please note: This list is a starting place. It will be adapted, updated, and modified as we receive feedback from the SDRA members in good standing and from peer-reviewed research about weed mitigation.

Planned Herbicide Application as Weed Mitigation Effort

  • Form an herbicide application fundraising committee that is separate from the board
  • Appoint a fundraising committee chair who informs the board about fundraising progress
  • Survey membership for fundraising ideas and suggestions for involving more members in weed mitigation
  • Update the GoFundMe site to reflect possible herbicide applicationI
  • Get bids from all licensed herbicide applicators in the Chepachet, RI region
  • Review ESS report for the optimum time to apply herbicides and other mitigation recommendations
  • Protect no-herbicide zones as requested by abutting property owners
  • Make a follow-up plan for continued weed mitigation after tentative herbicide treatment
  • Respect  dues-paying members who do not wish to have herbicide treatment adjacent to their property

Planned Non-Herbicide Weed Mitigation Efforts

  • Continue to comply with DEM regulations regarding drawdown
  • Form a non-herbicide application fundraising committee that is separate from the board
  • Appoint a fundraising committee chair who informs the board about fundraising progress
  • Survey membership for fundraising ideas and suggestions for involving more members in weed mitigation
  • Plan for funds to support the suction harvester use
  • Expand boat greeter program so more boaters who launch from the ramp are educated about spreading invasive weeds
  • Write an early spring letter that emphasises low nutrient, low runoff yard maintenance to inhibit milfoil growth.
  • Pursue a lake-based buffer program in conjunction with DEM
  • Plan hand harvesting community events
  • Research costs of hiring RI-based professional divers
  • Respect dues-paying members who do wish to have herbicide treatment adjacent to their property

June 2017 Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

www.sanddamreservoir.com

Officers’ Updates

President, Judy  Colaluca

Summer 2017 is almost here. Seriously, it is not March as the weather makes us feel! And it is time for the Annual SDRA Meeting.  This has been a very busy year around and on OUR beautiful lake.  SDRA Board Members have worked extremely diligently to determine ways to improve and protect OUR lakefront community.

In the middle of winter, Mike Benoit is collecting data on OUR lake’s oxygen level or assisting Dave Morin as Dam Master, controlling the water level at OUR dam. Meanwhile, Art Searle records this data on graphs for DEM. This spring, Art and Aaron Colaluca address ways of improving our Suction Harvester to be put to use shortly, including a procedures manual for its use. Deb Silva continues to collect water samples for URI Watershed Watch Program

And then there are the important fundraising and administrative duties. This past winter, Brian Sirois, Eric LaRiviere, and Marissa Danville organized the very successful wine tasting dinner as a fundraiser. Marissa monitors the Go Fund Me page. Mary O’Keeffe’s detailed meeting notes keep us on target, and her organizing the boat inspection program prevents unwanted weeds from entering OUR lake. Carolyn Fortuna’s comprehensive treasurer’s report and her writing of the quarterly newsletter informs all of the actions of SDRA.  

I have said it many times: it is a privilege to live here and an honor to work with the SDRA Association . Working together as a TEAM, the SDRA Board continues to support ways to improve and protect Our water.

I hope to see you at the Annual Meeting on June 21st when you can learn more about OUR community. Consider signing up for a committee. Your “hands”  are necessary, as there are always challenges to meet and work to be done from your water’s edge to the surrounding watershed — every person’s actions make a difference!  

Secretary, Mary O’Keeffe

Your SDRA board has been meeting regularly on important matters relative to lake management, fundraising, and protecting our beautiful lake. The board members (Eric, Marissa, & Brian) have brought new ideas, and the great success of our April fundraising dinner was due in large part to their coordination and planning efforts. Our Lake Management team members have been monitoring water quality, making improvements to the suction harvester, and proactively planning efforts to reduce the impact of aquatic invasive species to preserve and protect the lake.

We look forward to seeing you at the June 21st annual meeting and hope you will consider getting more involved in our efforts.

Treasurer, Carolyn Fortuna

I am very proud of the efforts of our SDRA officers and board this year. We made a decision to use a significant amount of the funds we had accumulated through grant-writing, funding-raising, and dues over the last few years to purchase a suction harvester. If our first efforts at its use late last summer were any indication, this device is just what we need to reduce the impact that invasive milfoil has had on our lake. But the purchase did reduce our treasury. That didn’t stop our board.

When you come to the annual meeting on June 21st at the Glocester Town Hall at 6 p.m. for refreshments and networking and 7 p.m. for the business meeting, you’ll see how the determination and resilience of our active membership have returned our treasury to full health.

GoFundMe Site: Marissa and Denny Danville

The GoFundMe site is available for donations. Our balance remains at $985 with $100 of that from this year. Thank you to everyone that donated, and please continue to visit and share the site at www.gofundme.com/sanddamri. Thank you!

Board of Directors’ Report

Eric LaRiviere: As a member of the Board of Directors for the past two years, I’ve experienced first hand how passionate our members are about maintaining the cleanliness and natural beauty of our lake. Over the past several months, we have been actively working with the Town Council in an attempt to reduce the amount of litter we have on our roadways and in our lake.  Simple changes such as covering our trash while en route to the transfer station will reduce the amount of garbage littering our streets.  

I look forward to our annual meeting to get more neighbors involved to share ideas to better combat this issue.  

Programs and Committees

Lake Management Plan, Art Searle

Members of the lake management team, including Aaron and Rico Colaluca, are in the process of revising the weed suction harvester. As purchased, the weed suction harvester used onion bags as a primary collection system. Onion bags are a major hassle; they do not biodegrade, cost money, are one use items, and are time consuming to empty. Further, the arrangement of the onion bags required an awkward, forty pound lift. Our goals are to eliminate the use of onion bags and streamline the overall operation. We are in the process of testing modifications and hope to have an improved, working system in place as soon as possible.

Opportunities to harvest weeds with the suction harvester will be plentiful. Dense, widespread beds of milfoil cover much of the southern third of our lake. The more the harvester runs, the better. We encourage teams to plan for and reserve the suction harvester. Visit the SDRA Suction Harvester Calendar (https://goo.gl/cvAsg0) to ensure the day(s) you would like are open.

If you would like instruction on how the harvester works, would like to volunteer with a team, want to reserve a single or repeating days, or otherwise want to participate, please contact Art Searle or Rico Colaluca.

Save the Lakes, Judy Colaluca

As a statewide association, Save The Lakes (STL) continues to sponsor and support activities which foster Best Practices around fresh water here in Rhode Island. STL has been active this year at the RI Statehouse to support bills that will improve the quality of fresh water in Rhode Island.

If you are interested in joining STL to help to improve, protect, or preserve fresh water in RI, go to the website for more information. Here is the web site at wwwSTL.RI.org for more information.

Boat Greeter Program,  Mary O’Keeffe

Once again this year I am looking for folks to join me at the boat launch to help with the boat greeter and voluntary inspection program. As in past years, we will be targeting fishing tournaments and high-traffic times on the lake. Our primary objective is to build goodwill and educate boaters on the importance of proper boater hygiene to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. We typically find that 20-25% of boats arriving at the launch have plant material (that will be transported to OUR lake if not removed)! Information about the program and a link to the volunteer handbook can be found at http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/water/quality/surface-water/aisresp.php

I will bring a sign-up sheet to the annual meeting. A preliminary list of dates and times appears below. I hope you will consider joining me at the launch for this important education and outreach effort.

If you are interested or have questions, please email me at mokeeffe@providence.edu.

Summer 17 boat inspection dates (tournaments):

  • June 17th 5-6:30am
  • June 22 4-5:30pm
  • June 24 4-5:30pm
  • July 11 4-5:30pm
  • July 21 5-6:30am
  • July 30 12-1:30pm
  • Aug 8 4-5:30pm
  • Aug 10 4-5:30am
  • Aug 12 5-6:30am
  • Sept 21 4-5:30pm

Nominations and Elections, Rico Colaluca and Steve Hanley

Under the current SDRA by-laws, there are 4 officers — president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer — and three directors. The officers and directors comprise the executive board, which makes management decisions regarding the stewardship of Sand Dam Reservoir Association during the year between annual meetings.

Officers serve for a two year term and may not serve more than 2 terms in the same position. Directors serve a three year term. Their terms are staggered so that the term of one expires every year. The nominating committee would like to thank the current Board for all their hard work and their service. Lynn Kohanski’s term as VP and Carolyn Fortuna’s term as Treasurer are up this year. These were 2 year terms, and they have chosen to step down from these positions. Eric LaRiviere’s term as 3 year director is also up this year.

The successful management of our lake depends on having as many people as possible participate in the organization. The nominating committee reaches out to those it believes would make effective officers or directors each year at the annual meeting, at social occasions, and directly via personal interactions.

All members of SDRA in good standing are eligible to serve as an officer or director. The executive board meets once a month, and all meetings are limited to no more than 90 minutes in length. Any member who wishes to be serve as an officer or director of the organization is welcome to contact the nominating committee or any member of the executive board at any time.

Meetings are open to any and all members, who are encouraged to attend. The proceedings are conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order. Matters that concern good stewardship of the lake are discussed, and some members of the board are asked to gather more information on a topic to better inform the board on important matters that concern the membership.

Prior to the annual meeting, the members of the nominating committee meet to discuss the slate of candidates that will be offered for the consideration of the membership each year.  These are suggestions only. Nominations from the membership at the time of the annual meeting are encouraged.

Any organization is only as strong as its members. Being part of the management of our lake takes only a few hours each month, and it vital to maintaining Sand Dam Reservoir as the central focal point of our lake community.

 

 

December 2015 Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

logo

www.sanddamreservoir.com

Hello from our SDRA President, Judy Colaluca

The seasons do change quickly here at Smith and Sayles! And with weather changes we find ourselves looking at our beautiful lake with different eyes. Around the lake folks are raking up leaves and covering outside furniture preparing for the winter weather.

The slow lowering of the lake is of extreme importance to us as we control the growth of invasive weeds by freezing the ground around the lake.  If  the lake freezes before a blanket of snow, much milfoil will be “killed off” and we will have fewer weeds next summer. A huge thank you goes to Dave, Art, Rico, Mike and others for their daily work of keeping the drawdown on track.  The drawdown is determined by the guidelines set by DEM.

As you work outside please consider best practises for our lake. If everyone does something our lake will continue to be a place of beauty. Please consider: 1) Eliminating the use of fertilizer, 2) Blowing leaves away from the lake, 3) Discontinuing composting next to the water’s edge, 4) Raking the leaves at the water’s edge rather than filling in with soil.  Just a few major suggestions as we continue to protect our lake.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I am extremely thankful for where I live and all the beauty that surrounds me. It has always been my pleasure to work with all of you and to serve as a caretaker on our lake. I look forward to 2016 as we work together.  Please feel free to contact me with any comments or ideas.

Enjoy the Holidays! I wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year.    

Updates from our Treasurer, Carolyn Fortuna

The first quarter of the 2015-2016 fiscal year was very strong for SDRA.

The late September fundraiser at Mulberry Vineyards netted over $1700, and the event had a secondary effect of raising awareness of SDRA’s efforts at sustainable harvesting of invasive milfoil and other species. A membership drive to remind 2014-2015 members to renew returned our total memberships to 29 families.  And — as you’ll see below — the Go Fund Me site is a consistent vehicle for producing revenue for SDRA.

These efforts more than offset our two insurance payments which came due:  1) liability; 2) dishonesty bond.  

Notes about the Drawdown from Judy Colaluca and Art Searle

The drawdown is underway! We hope the weather cooperates by freezing and drying the invasive milfoil weed. You may view a lake level visual at https://goo.gl/vwVqqa. You may also view detailed information about the drawdown at https://sites.google.com/site/sdradrawdown/2015-drawdown.

Upcoming Events Sponsored by SDRA from Judy Colaluca

On Saturday, December 5, SDRA will be holding a clean up at the Dam on Chestnut Hill Road. There will be coffee and “energy food” at 8:30 a.m. at 61 Wood Road before heading to the Dam. The clean up will last about 90 minutes and will be determined by the weather conditions. Please consider working alongside your neighbors. Children are welcome to help as they are tomorrow’s caretakers. Make sure you bring work gloves, rakes,(quahog rakes worked well last year), and hope for a nice day. See you at the Dam!!

Have you heard about Go Fund Me? from Marissa and Dennis Danville

The gofundme page to raise money for a suction harvester has been up for several months now and to date we have raised $770, which is a great accomplishment! Thank you for all your donations. With your help we will be able to rid our lake of invasive species.

Please continue to share the website with friends and family, as every dollar counts. Thank you! www.gofundme.com/sanddamri  

Looking back to our September Mulberry Vineyards Fundraiser, hosted by Ashley Hopkins Hawkes and Carolyn Fortuna

On a warm late September evening, over 100 people gathered at Mulberry Vineyards on Pound Road in Chepachet for a fundraiser to benefit Sand Dam Reservoir Association.  Guests mingled inside the converted barn of the historic Andrew Brown homestead and outside on the sloping lawns.  Two wine bars were set up, and guests sampled a riesling, cabernet sauvignon, and pinot noir. Aaron Colaluca ran a fabulously successful 50-50 raffle, and winner Terry Tullis generously donated the proceeds back to SDRA.  Later in the evening, co-owner David Wright offered a tour of the winemaking facilities.mulberry vineyards 2  Thanks to everyone who participated, whether it was to be in attendance or to send along a donation.  We appreciate how many guests contributed items for the delicious appetizer buffet, so that everyone had a sampling of good food.  

It was a wonderful night, and– who knows? — you may see a similar event in spring, 2016.  Keep checking your social media! And many thanks to Gina Colaluca for providing these pictures.

Keeping Up-to-Date with our Lake Management Plan from Rico Colaluca

The drawdown last winter was successful, and the same plan is being duplicated this year. There are plans being developed for improvements at the gatehouse and spillway.  Click the link in the title to this section to learn even more.

Our Networking through Northwest Rhode Island Supporters of Open Spaces (NRI SOS) from Carolyn Fortuna

Part of advocacy efforts conducted on behalf of SDRA over the past quarter has included participation in events sponsored by NRI SOS, which offers support to ten member organizations. We attended a book discussion of Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which outlined the positive effects of eating locally.  We hiked the Foster Land Trust property off Windsor Road as part of the “Reading the Forested Landscape” series. And we attended a Cider Tasting at Barden Orchards alongside representatives of several local sustainability organizations. One of those organizations was the Glocester Land Trust, and our networking that day produced an invitation to attend the next GLT meeting to speak about SDRA’s efforts to protect our lake habitat.  

Wish us luck on December 8 during our GLT presentation…

Thinking Ahead to Nomination and Elections from Steve Hanley and Rico Colaluca

We encourage you to become involved in the operation of your lake Association. Please let the Nominating Committee know if you’re interested in serving in the upcoming year as a committee head, board member, or officer.  Getting involved is fun and rewarding!

Checking in with Save the Lakes from Judy Colaluca

Save The Lakes continues to support and improve all lake associations across the state. There will be bills at the Legislature that will be of importance to all in the Spring. Information will be sent out as details emerge.

 

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter: April 1, 2015

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

April 1, 2015

logowww.sanddamreservoir.com

Board of Directors’ Updates

President

Spring is on the calendar! I am looking forward to being able to look out the front windows without stretching to see over the pails on snow collected by Rico who continuously  shoveled off our roof. I am positive everyone has a “Snow” story to share. As we look ahead to some warm days, know that our SDRA Association has a complete and hard working board of directors and committees.  I am pleased to say that folks filled vacancies and all are working hard. With the addition of some new members, new ideas are being shared. Our SDRA By- Laws are being revised, and this will help to make clearer the rules that govern SDRA. Thank you, Janice, for heading up this extremely important committee.  A vote will be taken at the Annual Meeting in June regarding changes to the By-Laws. In the coming months, there is much to do: clean up at the dam, repairing the gate, organizing the lake management plan, writing  grants, preparing for the boat inspection program, and much more.  There is always plenty to get involved in here on our lake. If everyone would do something- all would be great. In the weeks and months ahead, there will be times when we all don’t agree on something, but we must remember: majority rules as we all strive for the best for our environment.  Get involved-many hands make light work! — Judy Colaluca

Secretary

The Board of Directors (BOD) continues to meet regularly, though our snowy February interrupted the monthly meeting schedule. At the January meeting the BOD approved filling the vacant Board positions with two excellent SDRA members. Lynne Kohanski, who formerly served as SDRA secretary, graciously offered to serve in the Vice President position. Eric LaRiveire, who has been a SDRA member for 3+ years, expressed an interest in becoming more involved by serving as one of the Directors at Large. We are very grateful to Lynne and Eric for volunteering to fill these positions – Mary O’Keeffe

Treasurer

Our balance remains steady, with payments this quarter directed to Treasurer’s Honesty Bond, U.S. Post Office box renewal, and final annual payment to the Dam Master. We’ve also added three family members to the 2014-2015 membership list.

If you, too, realize that you’d like to vote at the next annual meeting but have forgotten to send in your membership dues of $50 per family, please feel free to mail a payment to SDRA, PO Box 284, Chepachet, RI 02814. Carolyn Fortuna

Boat Launch Greeter Program

We look forward to another active season for the Boat Launch Greeter-Voluntary Inspection Program. We typically get the list of scheduled tournaments from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) in early April. Targeting tournaments and other high-traffic periods allows us to maximize the efficiency of this important education and outreach program. Promoting proper boater hygiene is one of the key tools in the SDRA Lake Management toolbox. As noted in the December newsletter, last season we inspected over 100 boats, and about 20% were found to have plant material that may have been invasive.

At a public hearing scheduled for March 30th, the Rhode Island DEM considers proposed revisions to the RI freshwater fishing regulation. Included is a proposal to modify to the requirements for obtaining a tournament permit. A permit is currently required for groups of 3 boats/6 people or more. The proposal would increase this size to 10 or more boats. If approved, this change could make our work at the boat launch more challenging, since we would not have advance notice of the smaller groups.

If you would like to learn more about the Boat Launch Greeter program, or if you are interested in volunteering, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to contact me at sdra.secretary@cox.net or (401) 865-2619. — Mary O’Keeffe

Dam Master

We closed the old slide gate on February 1, and, as of March 16, the lake came up two feet. During the week of March 15, we put all the boards back in the old gatehouse. Our goal is to have the lake back up to level by the beginning of fishing season in April.   — Dave Morin

Drawdown

Drawdown continues to be a useful tool in our battle with milfoil. During a September 2014 fish survey, Allan Libby, Principal Fisheries Biologist from the RI Division of Fish & Wildlife, remarked, “Your weed control program seems to be working. There are virtually no weeds in the drawdown zone.” The drawdown team remains hopeful that below freezing weather prior to deep snowfall in 2015 will help keep shallower areas of the lake clean by freezing and drying any exposed milfoil. Dave and Danny Morin, Mike Benoit, and Rico Colaluca are key workers in the drawdown effort. They wrestle with heavy parts and collect data diligently throughout the drawdown, and are deserving of our recognition. On February 7, the drawdown team discontinued drawdown efforts for the period, and closed the low water outlet gate. As we have done in the past, we expect to be reporting our results to RIDEM Director of Wetlands, Brian Moore, at some point during summer 2015. We are in preliminary discussion with Mr. Moore’s office about the potential for increasing the maximum drawdown depth by two inches. You are encouraged to review the results of the 2014-2015 drawdown at http://goo.gl/71p9S4 . — Judy Colaluca and Art Searle

Events Sponsored by SDRA

Annual Meeting:  Put the date of SDRA’s annual meeting on your calendar:  Wednesday, June 17, 2015 at the Glocester Town Hall.  We’ll start with a fellowship hour from 6-7 p.m., which is an opportunity to catch up after the long winter months with your neighbors.  At 7 p.m., we’ll begin our business meeting.  — The Board of Directors

Earth Day Clean-Up:  In conjunction with Earth Day, SDRA will conduct its bi-annual dam cleanup on Saturday, May 2, 2015 (tentative). Join a team of volunteers that day starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Colaluca Home, 61 Wood Road, for hot beverages and pastries.  At 9:30, we’ll meet at the dam with gloves, steel rakes, and trash bags to make the dam area pretty for the spring blooms —- as well as to meet our obligations to the town to maintain the area’s cleanliness for subsequent bush hog trimming.  — The Board of Directors

Fundraising

A State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Legislative grant application has been filed on behalf of Sand Dam Reservoir Association.  The $500 grant will assist SDRA to continue dam monitoring and networking with other lake associations around the State. — Carolyn Fortuna

Lake Management Plan

The committee has met and is doing research.  We have:

  • Reviewed past history
  • Research weevils
  • Research mats- check on the Monti Project
  • Review drawdown- with this year’s freeze there should be good success
  • Review gatehouse- tracks in which the gate slides have deteriorated to a point where the gate is difficult to align with the surface against which it seals. Angle irons to be added and situation fixed.
  • Checking with DEM on permitting process
  • Review weed pulling- and use of divers
  • Much interest in a Suction Harvester – checking into cost of building own
  • Continue boat inspection  – –Rico Colaluca

Northern Rhode Island Supporters of Open Spaces

This newly formed organization (NRISOS) promotes the preservation and management of open space in our local communities by raising funds and mobilizing volunteer support for area conservation groups. SDRA was invited to be part of a Winter Gathering and Fundraiser at Mulberry Vineyards in Chepachet on February 6th. Despite the winter chill, over 60 people — including representatives from 9 area conservation groups, including SDRA — were in attendance.  NRISOS raised funds that evening in support of their Small Grants Program, which provides ecology resources, educational events, and recreational activities that help connect Rhode Islanders with our region’s unique natural habitats. SDRA is targeted for assistance from NRISOS in 2015.  — Carolyn Fortuna

Save the Lakes

There are two events to put on your calendar:

  • Saturday, April 4, 2015, “Celebrate Freshwater” at the BassPro Shop, Patriots Place, Foxboro, MA, 10 AM to 4 PM. This is a great opportunity to gather information regarding “Best Practice” around freshwater. Also, learn how to filet a freshwater fish and acquire some new fishing tips  to catch the “Big One”. Judy Colaluca

 

  1. Thursday, April 30, 2015. Attend the STL Annual Meeting with DEM at Save The Bay Headquarters in Providence, 6:30 to 9 PM. This is an opportunity to talk directly to DEM Director Janet Coit and other officials. Come learn what is happening in our environment. —The Lake Management Committee

Sunshine Fund

We were saddened to say goodbye to our long-time lake association member and advocate, Vivian Searle.  Vivian was a staunch supporter of lake protection and is particularly remembered for her leadership of the Jet Ski Ad Hoc Committee. Our thoughts go out to Frank, his children, and our Board Member, Art.—-Carolyn Fortuna

Website and Education

The URL for our SDRA website is http://sanddamreservoir.com.  An article on Bald Eagle sightings on our reservoir was posted on our website on February 7, 2015.  We also disseminated an article from Watershed Watch, URI: Extreme Winter to Affect RI Water Quality.  If you’d like to follow our website and receive updates, click the website address and enter your email in the field titled, “Follow Blog via email.”  We’ve also added a Search function to the website, if you’re trying to locate a particular bit of information.— Carolyn Fortuna

Annual Meeting 2014 Minutes

SAND DAM RESERVOIR ASSOCIATION

ANNUAL MEETING

JUNE 27, 2014

Meeting minutes

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. at the Glocester Senior Center by Ray Theriault, SDRA President.  There were 27 people in attendance; a quorum was present.

I. OPENING REMARKS – Ray Theriault, President

·         President began with opening remarks, welcoming those in attendance, apologizing for the late start (the building was locked upon arrival), and thanking members for their patience.

·         President expressed appreciation and thanks to the Board members, the Committee heads and the general membership for their participation and support over the past year. SDRA is one of the most successful lake organizations due to the work and support provided by all the members.

·         All those in attendance were asked to introduce themselves.

·         A special welcome was extended to new homeowners Dennis and Marissa Danville who have purchased the house formerly owned by Ernie and Brenda LaFazia.

·         President expressed his deep gratitude to Ernie LaFazia for his valuable contributions to the SDRA.  Rico Colaluca read  a greeting and fond farewell provided by Ernie LaFazia (who is no longer a resident of Glocester)

·         President mentioned that it has been a busy year for SDRA

·         President stated that SDRA board will increase efforts towards transparency in an effort to keep all members apprised of important developments.

II. SECRETARY’S REPORT – Mary O’Keeffe, Secretary

·         Secretary provided a summary of the meetings that have taken place since the last annual meeting (held June 26th, 2013).

o   Planning board meeting Wed, Sept 26th 2013

o   Lake Management Committee meeting Wed, Nov 20th  2013

o   Board meeting Thur, March 6th 2014

o   Board members met with DEM re: Dam Violations on March 22nd

o   Trash pick-up May 3rd  (DEM volunteer time and activity reports were distributed to participants with a request to return completed reports to the SDRA secretary)

o   Monti Milfoil Mat project – several attempts

o   Board meeting Wed, May 21st 2014

·         Secretary noted that meeting minutes have been posted to the SDRA website.

v  A motion to approve the secretary’s report was made and seconded.  All present voted in favor of the motion.

III. TREASURER’S REPORT – Toni Hayes

·         Treasurer provided a summary of expenses and income.

A motion to approve the treasurer’s report was made and seconded.  All present voted in favor of the motion.

IV. OLD BUSINESS

Ø  Lake Management Plan – Ray Theriault

o   Drawdown – Judy Colaluca  – Judy thanked her committee members for their efforts. Special thanks to Art Searle for drawdown committee report. Drawdown team was introduced. Art Searle explained the purpose of the drawdown to manage the milfoil. The drawdown report will be posted to website.

o   Chemicals – Ray Theriault – Ray reviewed the SDRA history with chemicals and SDRA members varied opinions about the use of chemicals.

§  Ray described non-chemical efforts to control milfoil such as the Monti milfoil mat project. These non-chemical methods can be cost effective if we do it ourselves.

§  We’ve got some milfoil spots that Art Searle identified and circulated to SDRA Board members.

§  Ray mentioned weed-pulling effort – July 13th and July 20th for weed-pulling party. July 13th noon start time – details to follow.

§  Bob Bedard mentioned cardboard on ice to mark weeds in winter and when ice melts it smothers weedbed.

§  Sam Hawkes mentioned a friend on Angel Rd. who is a diver and may be interested in helping out.

o   Dam Spillway – Dave Morin

§  Drawdown to about 57 inches through December until Keech Pond released water. With this we were at about 46 inches through March. Lake filled up in about 1 ½ weeks.  26 times Dave had to modify gate. Currently at maximum level.  Thanks to Bertha Bedard for calling Dave when the water level gets high and starts spilling over from Keech.

o   Boat Ramp Inspections – Mary O’Keeffe

§  We’ve been at the boat launch for 3 tournaments so far, with a 4th scheduled for tomorrow. Five volunteers so far – Inspected about 40 boats.

§  Ron Baker is also performing courtesy inspections on an ad-hoc basis.

§  Remaining summer tournaments – 4 in July, 2 in August, 4 in September. Welcome volunteers, provide on-the-job training. Tournament dates are listed on the SDRA Website.

Ø  Education – Carolyn Fortuna

§  Carolyn gave a brief history of the background of the education committee.

§  Carolyn showed members artifacts that have been submitted to illustrate some significant historical events related to the lake.

Ø  DEM Dam Violation – Ray Theriault

§  Ray provided overview of Dam Violation and efforts to address the violation.

§  Town worked with SDRA Board to help remediate problems identified in violation report.

§  Bob Fairbanks was engineer retained to help SDRA address the problem. Cost for engineering services and subsequent report was $1125.00.  He wrote a report and DEM accepted it, thus the lien on the Dam was lifted. Ray mentioned that members worked together to ensure that proper attention was paid to the violation. Efforts now should be to move from reactive to proactive stage to prevent future violations.

Ø  Monti Milfoil Mat Project – Ray Theriault

§  First attempt was not successful, but learned from it.

§  Second attempt was successful – it appears to need a little adjustment. Ray’s son Kyle will work to adjust it this coming weekend. Cost was $103.23.

Ø  O’Donnell Property – Judy Colaluca

§  Property has been sold to Mark Bard, Stoneybrook farm LLC. Plans to sell the home on 102 and a separate parcel and then put in a road and build a summer home.

§  Glocester Land Trust will not be purchasing the land as had been previously reported to the Board.

Ø  Keech Pond – Sharon and Ernie Heon

§  John Holmes reports a problem with milfoil on Keech Pond. Keech was not able to do enough of a drawdown to freeze the milfoil this past winter.

§  Elaine mentioned that DEM and/or Army Corps of Engineers may need to be involved in milfoil control efforts by Keech Pond Association.

§  SDRA would like to be considered a partner in Keech Pond Association’s efforts, since these efforts have implications for our lake management plan.

§  Some discussion of the need to develop a clear plan for coordinating and partnering with Keech Pond Association.

§  Ernie suggested doing our own survey of Keech before approaching the Keech Pond association.

Ø  Hydroelectric – Rico Colaluca

§   $7-12,000/year savings to town/transfer station energy bills if project could get off the ground, but engineering appears to be too expensive/complicated.

§   Rico confirmed that the Town Council is aware that SDRA has not approved anything related to hydro on SDR to date.

Ø  Fund Raising – Ray Theriault

§  Ray asked for volunteers to direct fundraising

§  Rico mentioned that Keech Pond Association has over $200,000 in their treasury, and noted the different organizational structure (deeded land owners are required to pay membership in Keech Pond Association)

Ø  Water Testing – Deb Silva

§  Deb described her procedure. Three times a year she takes water and chlorophyll samples from the 3 main tributaries (O’Donnell, Keech, and Balcom brooks). Weekly measures include recording temperature, and secchi dish measure of water clarity

§  She estimates spending about 1 hour per week on water quality monitoring.

§   Cost of Water Quality Monitoring has been paid by an anonymous donor.  The base monitoring (which has been paid by the donor) includes testing 2 tributaries. In the past SDRA has approved payment of $100 extra to allow testing of the 3rd main tributary.

§  Elaine mentioned that this expense should be a line item on SDRA Financial reports. Though SDR does not pay this bill, it is still part of the cost for maintaining the Lake and the Lake Management Plan.

v  A motion to approve allocation of $100 to pay Watershed Watch for testing the 3rd tributary was made and seconded.  All present voted in favor of the motion.

Ø  Website – Carolyn Fortuna

§  Carolyn described the website and asked if members would like to pay $18/year (or less if it can be obtained for a several year agreement) to obtain a user-friendly url.

§  Rico Colaluca agreed to ask Bill D’Agostino to remove the SDRA Facebook page.

§  SDRA members expressed gratitude to Carolyn Fortuna and Steve Hanley for their efforts in creating an excellent SDRA web presence.

v  A motion to approve allocation of $18/year (or a higher initial payment for a lower overall-cost multi-year agreement) to pay for a user-friendly url website address was made and seconded.  All present voted in favor of the motion.

Ø  Sunshine – Carolyn Fortuna

§  Carolyn asked people to let her know about events/people to be celebrated or remembered.

Ø  Save the lakes – Judy Colaluca

§  Judy had to leave the meeting early to attend to an important family matter. Ray Theriault reviewed the STL goose management education program.

Ø  Sand Dam Day – Ray Theriault

§  Cathy and Steve Hopkins and Roberta Paine will host this year. Saturday -August 16th, 9:00 am-11:00 – 80 Evelyn Way (off Keech Dam Road)

§  Bring breakfast dish or brunch item.

§  RSVP 949-1727 or hopkinsgrn@verizon.net

V. NEW BUSINESS

Ø  Nominations and Elections – Rico Colaluca

·         Rico and Steve Hanley volunteered to serve on nominating committee for next year.

A motioned was made and seconded to appoint Rico Colaluca and Steve Hanley to next years’ nominating committee. All present voted in favor of the motion.

A motion was made that a single ballot be cast for the SDRA Board: Art Searle, Director (3 year appointment), Bob Bedard, Director (2 years remaining on 3 year appointment [replacement for Ernie LaFazia]), Dave Morin, Director (2 years remaining on 3 year appointment), Ray Theriault, President (1 year appointment), Judy Colaluca, Vice President (1 year appointment), Carolyn Fortuna, Treasurer (1 year appointment), Mary O’Keeffe, Secretary (1 year appointment). The motion was seconded and all present voted in favor of the motion

VI. MEETING ADJOURNED AT 9:05PM

Hand Harvesting Weeds: A Community Effort to Save our Lake

On a breezy and hot day in mid-July, 2014, on a Sunday afternoon when most people who live on a lake would usually be boating, swimming, or barbecuing, a dozen Chepachet homeowners and their friends took turns diving into a murky lake bottom to remove invasive plants that crowd out native species.

“It was more fun than I expected,” Sam Hawkes, who pulled weeds for several hours, acknowledged.

This group of concerned citizens on Sand Dam Reservoir in northwest Rhode Island removed variable-leaf water milfoil plants by hand, including roots, from targeted sites by diving to the lake bottom, with or without masks and fins. James, a SCUBA diver, later took over from the initial group of swimmers and divers. Neighbors and friends who lent a hand included year-round and summer residents, retired and middle-aged people and youth. No matter their age or background, everyone pitched in by diving for weeds, collecting the harvest in rowboats, or supervising swimmers from motorboats.

Ray Theriault, president of Sand Dam Reservoir Association (SDRA), led the project, which included organizing pontoon and other boats, getting volunteers, scheduling, and coordinating via emails. Hand harvesting, Ray said, “is a great community effort to help the Association save money and eradicate invasive weeds.”

What is variable milfoil?

Variable-leaf watermilfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum) is a nuisance aquatic plant in the northeastern United States. It grows in thick mats, often out-competing native vegetation, clogging boat motors, and deterring people from swimming and other water-related activities. Milfoil spreads rapidly. In Rhode Island, milfoil has no natural predators to keep its population in check. Under optimum temperature, light and nutrient conditions, milfoil may grow up to an inch per day.

How did variable milfoil spread to RI lakes?

According to RI DEM, variable milfoil was most likely introduced to RI lakes from aquarium releases or from “stowaway” fragments attached to a boat or trailer. When milfoil is wound around a wet carpeted bunk on a boat trailer, it can live out of water for many hours if it remains moist. Milfoil is usually first found near boat launch sites. Once introduced, milfoil can spread through fragmentation, whereby plant fragments break off from the parent plant through wind or boat action, grow roots, and settle in a new location.

Why hand harvesting?

In July, variable milfoil plants may exhibit a three- to six-inch emergent spike above the waterline, so July makes an optimal time for hand harvesting to slow its spread. Although eradication is seldom achieved, various studies indicate that variable-leaf milfoil infestations can be managed effectively by incorporating the use of hand removal and mats in lake management plans.

Removal by hand is an effective management technique for waterbodies with small, high density stands of variable-leaf milfoil or when milfoil plants are interspersed among the natives. Removal by hand is a fairly inexpensive technique to implement, but it is also time and labor intensive. “The winds created a problem for us harvesting,” Ernie Heon, who ran a pontoon boat during the hand harvesting, admitted. “We detached an aluminum boat and brought it into shallow water. My original intent was to bring the pontoon boat into the site, but it didn’t work like that.”

The hand harvesting method is also useful during follow up surveys of management areas when individual or small clusters of variable-leaf milfoil are detected, as was the case on Sand Dam Reservoir. Immediate removal decreases the opportunities for further spread of the plant.

Other methods to slow the spread of variable milfoil

 Sand Dam Reservoir Association has a volunteer regular boat greeter program to educate people about invasive species. When bass tournaments are scheduled, a small group of SDRA members greets the fishermen and women as they ready their boats for launch. Mary O’Keeffe, the project director, describes the importance of educating boaters about cleaning their boats to limit the spread of invasive species. “Rhode Island is the only New England state that doesn’t hire people to work at boat launches to educate boaters,” she stated. “That really makes it important for community members to come together to promote proper boater hygiene.”

RI DEM also encourages the use of clean boat hygiene practices. They concur that boats, trailers, and motors should be inspected for plant fragments before launching in the water and after boats have been hauled out of the water.

Community building while hand-harvesting

During the SDRA weed pulling, lake property owner, Sharon Heon maneuvered a rowboat and collected weeds as swimmers transferred them to her. “It was an enjoyable experience,” she offered, “being with Association members on a worthwhile effort.”

Community members who participated in the effort included Tommy Hopkins, Sharon and Ernie Heon, Sam Hawkes, Bob Bedard and his granddaughter Sammy, John Guertin, Cleo Monti, Eric and Carol and Austin Lariviere, Art and George and Bob Searles, Carolyn Fortuna, Mary O’Keefe, Aaron and Judy and Rico Colaluca, and Elaine and Ray Theriault, and James, the diver.

Meeting Minutes 25 September 2013

 

Sand Dam Reservoir Association

September 25, 2013

Glocester Senior Center, 7:00

Planning meeting (board, committee heads, and SDRA members invited to attend)

 SDRA members present: Ron Baker, Janice Baker, Bert Bedard, Bob Bedard, Judy Colaluca, Rico Colaluca, Carolyn Fortuna, Ernie Heon, Ernie LaFazia, David Morin, Mary O’Keeffe, Art Searle, Elaine Theriault, and Ray Theriault

President Ray Theriault began with comments relative to the purpose of tonight’s meeting.

  • Promotion of different ideas
  • Concerns of SDRA members

Ray suggested that we follow the agenda from the 6/26/13 meeting

I. Lake management plan

  • Ray identified key elements of  lake management plan
    • Have lake analyzed every year by professionals
      • Analysis of weeds, analysis of funds

Mary O’Keeffe mentioned potential conflict of interest in having Aquatic Control Technologies (ACT) perform the analysis since ACT performs the chemical treatments

      • Ray mentioned that decision about analysis needs to take limited SDRA budget into account.
      • Ray asked: We know our lake – do we need to pay someone to perform the analysis?
      • Ernie LaFazia mentioned ESS for analysis.  Ray responded that ESS is a very expensive option.
      • Art Searle asked what the $400 SDRA paid to ACT got us – Ray replied the weed analysis.  Art said that DEM requires an annual report to support our lake management plan. Ray asked if we are the only lake that DEM requires to do analysis for the drawdown. Art confirmed that DEM requires analysis for drawdown, and Ray argued that this is not fair if other lakes don’t need the analysis.  Art said that DEM permitting requires a report – it was due last June.
      • Judy Colaluca noted that DEM doesn’t currently have person doing permitting.
      • Discussion of whether or not ACT provided written or verbal report of analysis that our lake didn’t need treatment this year
      • Ernie LaFazia and Ray noted that we are having problems with ACT. They did not provide reports as promised. They didn’t return phone calls. Extreme measures had to be taken to get report and to get refund of $ given at beginning of summer.
      • Question was raised about whether or not other lakes are having problems with ACT.  Can we identify other options for analysis. Judy said she could get this information.
      • Ray said that he would provide a letter to Art documenting the ACT analysis for 2013 so that we’d have what we need for DEM to perform our drawdown.
      • Ernie LaFazia was told by ACT that analysis would be provided within a week. He emailed ACT 11-12 times, called multiple times, and ACT never provided the analysis.
      • Janice Baker asked about option for assessments less than annually.
      • Ernie LaFazia noted that our drawdown is to 54 inches now, which is why we need the analysis for DEM
      • Art Searle noted that we are in the 1st year of a 5 year requirement for analysis.  Ray noted that some lakes (e.g., Keech) don’t need/get DEM permitting for drawdown.
      • Judy noted that depth is compromised given that weeds are serving as compost and people are bringing in sand – this has implications for lake quality.
      • Ernie LaFazia said that based on his secchi disk water quality monitoring, lake clarity has never been better – others present noted that the lake seems to be less pristine that previous years.
      • Elaine Theriault suggested appealing the DEM requirement for annual testing.
      • Art Searle noted that lake clarity is affected by inflow from Keech, and that the south end is cloudier as a result from the inflow.
      • Janice Baker asked the Lake Management Plan committee to come together to do groundwork so that we are prepared to have a meaningful discussion come spring.
    • Drawdown/Dam/Spillway report:

Dave Morin said that drawdown will begin on Saturday, Oct 12th

      • Mary will send an email around to inform residents that drawdown will begin on Oct 12th . Residents will be asked to make sure that boats are out in advance and inform neighbors of the drawdown.
      • Two inches per day is the recommendation.  Thus it will be about 27 days for 54 inch drawdown.
    • Chemical/Water Testing report:

 Ernie LaFazia noted that no chemical treatments were performed this year.

      • ACT was supposed to do a second analysis this year, but this has not yet been completed
      • Ernie says lake is cleanest he’s seen it since 1993.
      • Ray asked if we could save money if we took samples to a testing laboratory directly rather than going through the URI Watershed Watch.  The general consensus was that it would be more costly for SDRA to do the testing.
      • We are billed $400 per year for water testing by URI watershed watch. An anonymous resident paid the $400 bill last year.
      • Elaine recommends that this $400 gift be noted in the treasurer’s report so that if the URI watershed Watch bill is not paid anonymously in future years SDRA is aware and responsible. Ernie LaFazia will follow-up to make sure that the bill is sent to SDRA.
      • Thanks to Ernie LaFazia we have received a grant from the state to help defer costs of water testing.
      • Ernie is looking for a volunteer so that he can step down as the primary SDRA water monitor.  He’d like to retire from this duty. Deb and Miles Silva help, but he could use more support.
    • Boat ramp inspections:
      • The boat greeter program has gone well this year. Mary estimated that we were able to perform inspections for more than half of all fishing tournaments during the summer 2013 season.
      • At last tournament on 9/19/13 representatives from Governor Chafee, Senator Whitehouse, and Representative Langevin’s office visited to observe the program “in action” – at the invitation of Judy Colaluca in her role as STL president.
      • Mary has spoken with Mr. Moscarelli, science teacher at Ponaganset, and will work to coordinate a school visit to encourage high-school students to volunteer at the boat ramp.
      • Dave Morin mentioned the boyscouts, and Judy confirmed that she had contacted local boyscout leaders to encourage participation in the voluntary boat launch inspection program.
      • Carolyn Fortuna mentioned that, while visiting friends in Maine, she learned about a lake that got a small grant to pay high-school  students to work the boat launch.  She suggested we pursue that for our lake.
      • Bob Bedard suggested that RI fisherman might be willing to help with this. Judy confirmed that STL can coordinate with local fishing organizations.
      • Carolyn mentioned that funding may be available through environmental education and sustainability sources. We may be able to can dovetail this with AP Environmental Science instructor (Moscarelli) at Ponaganset High School.
    • Education/Website
      • Carolyn Fortuna reported that the last few years have been devoted to establishing our web presence.
      • 2012 focus was on documenting the wildlife on the lake. Carolyn mentioned website documentation of the return of wildlife coinciding with the water level increasing in the spring.
      • Carolyn noted that many people view the SDRA education website, not just local residents.
      • Ray asked about ease of access. SDRA members would like to be able to Google ‘Sand Dam Reservoir Association’ in order to get to the website. Establishing a user-friendly domain name is a desirable next step.
      • Carolyn mentioned the wordpress mechanism.  Ray said that an easy access site is a priority. There was discussion of what the domain name should be, and consensus was that it should include Sand Dam Reservoir Association. Rico said that a domain name shouldn’t cost more than $10-20 per year. Carolyn agreed to investigate the cost of getting a domain name.
      • Carolyn distributed an overview of items represented on a website and asked members to consider what pages we should have to get started.
      • Art said that Carolyn can apply a domain name for a Google site – he said that he would show Carolyn how to apply for a domain name off an existing Google site –    Carolyn was under the impression that couldn’t be done.  Art said that he had done it and would show her how.
      • Carolyn emphasized that the executive board would need to provide content for the website so that her voice is not the only presence on the website.
    • Keech Pond report
      • Ernie Heon reported that Keech Pond plans to dump water on October 14th.
      • Dave Morin provided Keech opening and closing dates from last year and discussed the impact on water levels of our lake. He noted that Keech Association President John Holmes is a model of effective communication.
    • Hydroelectric report
      • Rico and Judy Colaluca have been attending all hydroelectric planning meetings. SDRA has not committed to anything.  Ray confirmed that SDRA needs to approve any hydroelectric plan for Smith and Sayles. A number of sites are being evaluated for the hydroelectric station.
    • Fundraising:
      • Ray reported that we’ve got about $16,000 in budget.  Last year we made $2,500 from Don White fundraiser.  Assembly theater is good venue (343 seating capacity). Ray would like to bring in Erika Van Pelt ( local singer who was on American Idol). Bert Bedard has a family/friend  who has a relationship with Van Pelt and said she’d give Ray contact info.
      • Ray wants to raise the bar and bring in a more high profile performer to potentially raise more money.
    • Sunshine:
      • Ernie LaFazia invited those present to inform him of members of the SDRA community who would benefit from a sunshine intervention.
    • Save the Lakes:
      • Judy Colaluca continues her important efforts on behalf of freshwater resources in the state. As mentioned earlier, she invited VIPs from the Governor, Senator Whitehouse, and Representative Langevin’s office to observe the boat launch inspection program.  She continues to pursue various avenues to increase awareness and support for the protection of freshwater resources.

 

    • Sand Dam Day:
      • Ray noted that the request for volunteers to host Sand Dam Day should go out prior to the annual meeting.
      • Mary agreed to send out a request for volunteers, as well as a request for nominees for board positions, well in advance of the annual meeting.
    • New Business:
      • Ray noted that there are many rumors circulating about the fate of the O’Donnell property. These include a 50+ unit, over 55y/o condo community, or alternatively a plan for 3 residences. Ernie LaFazia said that he had contacts at Lusi construction and would try to get reliable information regarding plans for the property.  Ray said that we should be concerned that nobody is looking into protecting the interests of the SDRA when planning to develop the property.

Meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.