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

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.

Annual Meeting Agenda 2014

AGENDA

SDRA ANNUAL MEETING

JUNE 27, 2014

GLOCESTER SENIOR CENTER

 OPENING REMARKS – Ray Theriault

SECRETARY’S REPORT – Mary O’Keeffe

TREASURER’S REPORT – Toni Hayes

OLD BUSINESS

Lake Management Plan – Ray Theriault

o   Drawdown – Judy Colaluca

o   Chemicals – Ray Theriault

o   Dam Spillway – Dave Morin

o   Boat Ramp Inspections – Mary O’Keeffe

o   Education – Carolyn Fortuna

o   DEM Dam Violation – Ray Theriault

o   Monti Milfoil Mat Project – Ray Theriault

O’Donnell Property – Judy Colaluca

Keech Pond – Sharon and Ernie Heon

Hydroelectric – Rico Colaluca

Fund Raising – Ray Theriault

Water Testing – Deb Silv

Website – Carolyn Fortuna

Sunshine – Carolyn Fortuna

Save the lakes – Judy Colaluca

Sand Dam Day – Ray Theriault

NEW BUSINESS

Nominations and Elections – Rico Colaluca

CLOSING

Please check with our Treasurer to insure you are paid up for dues.

Milfoil Mat Project, June 2014

As a management technique, milfoil mats offer a quick solution for small, dense beds of milfoil that are feeding fragments into a water body. When a mat is placed, it creates a dead zone in terms of plant life, eradicating the milfoil and other plants as the sun is blocked out.  The successful implementation of a matting effort supplemented by a hand-pulling program can enable an organization to remove milfoil in any eradication phase.

An attempt to install a pilot milfoil mat occurred on Monday, June 23rd, 2014 with the help of half a dozen volunteers, their powered and non-motorized boats, and the gift of calm weather.  Follow-up reports will describe the installation and degrees of success