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

January, 2019 SDRA Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

January, 2019

www.sanddamreservoir.com

Officers’ Updates

President- Judy Colaluca

Happy New Year, Sand Dam Reservoir Association!

This is the time of year to reflect and think ahead. As I sit contemplating the past and visualizing the future of our Association and its Mission, I am again feeling honored and pleased to hold this office of President. There are numerous hard working, dedicated people on this lake, and the teamwork that has developed during the past few years is wonderful.  If someone can’t do a certain job, someone else comes forward. For example, when the majority of SDRA members decided to use herbicides on the lake, a herbicide committee and a non-herbicide committee developed, both dedicated to protecting, preserving, and improving our beautiful lake. All work together, and much respect was shown toward a difference of opinion. Both committees have extensive goals for the year. Reaching these goals will benefit the entire Association.

Thanks to all our SDRA members, Judy

Vice President- Carolyn Fortuna

With the new year upon us, we at Sand Dam Reservoir Association have many goals ahead.

  • The drawdown continues amidst one of the rainiest winters in memory.
  • We have a current fundraising campaign that will offer the Association a reserve fund for herbicide spot treatments.
  • A grant application to the Rhode Island Foundation is underway which seeks funding for rain and swale ponds, as we need to do whatever we can to control nutrients that wash into the Reservoir through stormwater runoff.
  • We’d like to schedule a dam area cleanup in the early spring to coincide with Earth Day.
  • If you’d like to join the Boat Greeter program, which usually commences with the beginning of fishing season, please contact Mary O’Keeffe. This is a really fun and interesting activity that takes only about an hour or so each time there is a bass tournament.
  • Our annual Bella’s Wine Dinner will take place on May 18 — protect the date on your calendar! We’ve sold out of this event for each of the last 2 years.
  • A committee will be needed to make the suction harvester ready for use for the 2019 season. Sections of the lake bottom harvested in 2017 were largely weed-free in 2018, so we are confident that this sustainable method of invasives removal is effective.
  • We’ll begin our first full year of the Lakesmart RI program in conjunction with the Maine Lakes Society. If you’d like to have your lake/ land interface assessed to learn more about how you can protect the water quality of Smith & Sayles Reservoir, let Carolyn Fortuna know.
  • The annual meeting is the 3rd Wednesday in June, and the nominating committee is beginning its formidable process of seeking candidates for office. Please see Rico Colaluca, Steve Hanley, and/or Janice Baker if you’re interested.

That brings us to the midpoint of the year — whew! As an all-volunteer association, we depend upon the generous donation of time from our members. We cannot succeed without you. Please try to join us for as many activities as possible; no matter the event and your physical capabilities, there is a place and task for you. “Many hands make light work.”  

We appreciate you! Carolyn

Secretary- Mary O’Keeffe

I echo the sentiments of our President and Vice President — it is an honor to work with such knowledgeable and dedicated individuals as those who serve on the SDRA Board. One recent change in response to requests from the membership has been to send email notices of all SDRA Board meetings to the full membership, along with approved minutes from previous BOD meetings. In order to make the most productive use of everyone’s time, we work hard to adhere to Robert’s Rules of Order and follow a preset agenda. Non-Board members are welcome to attend the Board Meetings and raise questions/concerns under the New Business section of the agenda, time permitting. As mentioned above, the Annual Meeting will be held Wednesday, June 19th, 2019. The nominating committee will be seeking candidates for several Board positions that will become vacant. One good way to learn about the roles and responsibilities of the various Board positions is to attend a SDRA Board meeting.

In order to keep all of our friends and neighbors in the SDRA “loop,” I need current email addresses (or postal mail addresses for those who do not use email). If you have a new neighbor who should be included on the list, please forward their email address or ask them to contact me at SDRA.secretary@cox.net or SDRA Secretary, PO Box 284, Chepachet, RI 02814. Thanks, Mary

Fundraising: Annual Bella’s Wine Dinner

Eric LaRiviere and Marissa Danville

On May 18, 2019, Sand Dam Reservoir Association will host our third annual wine dinner at Bella’s Restaurant in Pascoag, RI. Our local somalier Kevin Kitson will offer a selection of wines to accompany a multi-course dinner.

We have sold out this Bella’s Wine Dinner event each of the last two years, so don’t wait too long to make your reservations! Contact Eric, Marissa, or Judy for for information or to reserve a table of 10 — while they last.

We’ll have a Silent Auction and a 50-50 raffle — plus, returning by popular request, is the fabulous musical group, Black Tie Affair. Wear your dancing shoes!  

Fundraising: Updates for Herbicide Spot Treatments

The Herbicide Committee

The SDRA is following up with its outreach for donations. The goal is to build a kitty that would enable the SDRA to conduct hot spot treatments when needed. Such treatments help to protect the larger investment ($12,000) made in the summer of 2018. Key findings noted in Solitude’s Report of the June 2018 herbicides application indicated:  

“Milfoil density was greatly reduced… The native plant assemblage seemed to be unaffected from the treatment. Bladderwort and thin leaf pondweed appeared to be common in non-problematic densities throughout the lake.  Although the program worked well to control problematic variable milfoil during the summer season, we did observe some regrowth, therefore feel it is necessary to continue monitoring and spot treating if necessary, in 2019.”  

The report concludes that such action is “…necessary for the long-term maintenance of Sand Dam Reservoir recreational and ecological value.” It is likely that such treatments will be needed in additional years as well. (The full report can be found on the SDRA website.)

Donations to date range from $50 – $1000. Some have made a one-time donation, while others have chosen to spread out their payments over 10 – 12 months.  If you have not already participated in this fundraiser to establish the herbicides budget reserve, we urge you to do so. (Donor names will remain confidential.)  

Checks should be made out to SDRA and mailed to:

SDRA, ATTN:  Marissa Danville, Treasurer, PO Box 284, Chepachet, RI 02814.

Also, please send a note stating the total amount you are donating and whether you are making a single payment or a pledge. If the latter, please specify the number of planned monthly payments.  

As SDRA continues to work on our many companion efforts such as lake drawdown, the suction harvester, and educational programs, please support this effort. When the whole village is involved the burden is lighter for all.  Thank you.

— Deb and the Herbicide Committee

Fundraising: A RI Foundation Grant Application

The Non-Herbicide Committee

Here is an excerpt from our most recent grant application. Wish us luck! Thanks to Save the Lakes for sponsoring the SDRA grant application.

Stormwater poses a significant problem as Sand Dam Reservoir Association (SDRA) draws from a toolkit of strategies to mitigate invasive species. SDRA in Chepachet, Rhode Island has spent 10 years attempting to control nuisance aquatic vegetation, including the exotic invasive variable-leaf milfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum) from Smith and Sayles Reservoir (SSR). We have developed programs including a boat ramp greeter program, an annual drawdown, a bi-annual lakeside cleanup, suction and hand harvesting, and, most recently, a Lakesmart RI land/ lake interface educational program. We are ready to take on construction of rain and swale ponds.

Our proposed project will construct 6 Rain and Swale Ponds on Smith & Sayles Reservoir (SSR) at strategically situated sites on the shores of the 187 acre lake. We will start with one pilot pond and expand outward as we work alongside a landscape architect and a landscape designer. We will gain expertise and soon train a cohort of youth interns and volunteers, who can then assume more of the construction and planting costs.

Rain and swale ponds are important tools for mitigating stormwater runoff and reducing erosion. Rain and swale ponds are linear grass covered depressions which lead surface water overland from the drained surface to a storage or discharge system, typically using road verges. Unlike a conventional ditch, rain and swale ponds are shallow and relatively wide. They provide temporary storage for storm water and reduce peak flows. They are located close to the source of runoff and can form a network within a development linking storage ponds and wetlands.

Additionally, our non-herbicide committee has shared a federal grant application that we wrote in 2018 with the Herbicide Committee. We are conscious of the time that is involved in background research anytime one of the SDRA sub-committees writes a grant, so we want to alleviate any repetition of time or effort for another committee such as the herbicide committee takes on. The Non-Herbicide Committee.

Drawdown Report from Judy Colaluca and Art Searle — including data published on the Lake Management Plan page of the SDRA website

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

The rain gauge at North Central State Airport in Smithfield, RI measured more rainfall during the October, November, and December months of this year than any year during the 2013-2018 period. Since our drawdown started, nearly 18 inches of rain has fallen on the nine and one half square miles of Smith and Sayles’ watershed. That’s over 9,000 acre feet of water. RIDEM and our lake management consultants cautioned us that drawdowns are not guaranteed to work every year. January 5 saw a continuation of nature’s wet trend with an additional 1.72 inches of precipitation.

To date, the closest we have been able to get to our permitted fifty four inch drawdown depth is 35.5 inches below capacity on 12/14/2018. Sometimes, the weather simply doesn’t cooperate, and this year is shaping up to be one of those years. Current drawdown details may

Based on Art Searle’s research and DEM’s permitting process, Mike Benoit has been instructed to close the gatehouse and leave the spillway open for the remainder of the season.

Sincerely, Judy

Precipitation by Month (inches) Central State Airport, RI
October November December Total
2013 0.86 4.73 2.35 7.94
2014 4.6 6.07 6.28 16.95
2015 0.25 0 0.64 0.89
2016 4.68 2.91 2.88 10.47
2017 3.88 2.14 2.35 8.37
2018 5.09 8.7 4.08 17.87

Boat Launch Greeter Program

Results from the Boat Launch Greeter Voluntary Inspection Program’s 7th season suggest that we may be seeing some progress in promoting proper boater hygiene to help stop the spread of invasive species to our lake. During past summers, our inspections have found plant material (suspected invasive weeds) on 20-25% of boats arriving at the boat launch. During the 2018 season we inspected about 60 boats, 15% of which were “dirty” with weeds.  While it is too early to tell whether this represents a meaningful positive change, it is encouraging. Likewise, I have noticed a positive change in boaters’ response to the voluntary inspection program. “I truly appreciate what you guys are doing” (NE Bassin, RI Division) is an example of the feedback received from fishing tournament organizers in response to our Boat Launch Greeter Program.

Those of you who attended the 2018 SDRA Annual Meeting heard Katie DeGoosh from RI DEM’s Office of Water Resources talk about the critical importance of our Boat Launch Greeter Voluntary Inspection Program. While fewer “dirty” boats were observed this summer, some of the boats arriving at the launch were very dirty, with many weeds dragging from boats and trailers.  Our volunteers educate visitors about the importance of the CHECK, CLEAN, DRAIN, and DRY routine and work with the boaters to inspect and remove weeds before entering our lake. Information about source and type of suspected invasive weeds is communicated to DEM for follow-up. While Massachusetts penalties for “dirty” boats are $25-$100 for 1st offense, $100-$1,000 for a 2nd offense, and $1,000 to 60 days in jail for a 3rd offense, Rhode Island does not currently have a similar Aquatic Invasive Species law. It falls to our volunteers to educate visitors to minimize the spread of invasive weeds to our beautiful lake.

I hope that you will consider joining us during the 2019 season. If you’d like to learn more about the Boat Launch Greeter Voluntary Inspection Program and/or be included on the Boat Launch Greeter email list, please contact me at mokeeffe@providence.edu or (401)568-2657. More information is also available at http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/water/quality/surface-water/aisresp.php.

Bi-Annual Dam Cleanup from Judy Colaluca

Mother Nature had her own agenda this fall. There was just no opportunity to conduct our Bi-Annual Cleanup at the dam. As soon as the weather improves in the early Spring, we hope to be able to gather and clean the area around our dam.  

SDRA has been asked to join in the Earth Day Cleanup in Glocester. More information will be distributed as the weather improves. SDRA is a leader in cleaning up Glocester. Thanks, Eric Lariviere, also, for your continued efforts to foster awareness of the legal requirements to cover refuse in open truck beds.

Keech Pond News — Rico Colaluca

John Holmes, from Keech Pond, informs me the runoff at the bottom of Keech Dam Road has been improved by developing a swale to disperse water into the rock garden before entering our lake. This improvement will prevent winter salt and sand from washing into our lake.

Thinking about Running for a 2019 SDRA Office? Rico Colaluca, Steve Hanley, and Janice Baker

Now is the time to think about the upcoming SDRA elections this June. Please inform us of your intentions to serve as a Board member or as an Officer of this important organization.

Save the Lakes Looks Ahead at 2019 Judy Colaluca

Save The Lakes is honored to work alongside SDRA to acquire a grant that will eventually benefit all fresh water in Rhode Island. The creation of rain and swale ponds around Smith and Sayles would be a new tool to mitigate stormwater runoff and reduce erosion. This is a wonderful opportunity for collaboration and teamwork. Thank you, Carolyn Fortuna, for all your continuous effort and drive to complete this grant.

Want to Know More about SDRA? Visit our Association Website

Our website is a source of a large variety of information. For example, now that Attorney Christopher D’Ovidio is now on retainer for SDRA, he is able to use the website as a resource as he accumulates background. This will be useful as he currently researches our SDRA 501 (c) 4 status.

Spotlight on Carolyn Fortuna

Carolyn has worked hard and has given tremendous amount of her time to endeavors on our lake. Developing and managing our Website and this quarterly newsletter for SDRA to keep all members informed of planned activities and other important events is fantastic!  This is only the beginning of her many useful projects.

Carolyn coordinated and completed the writing of two grants to benefit Smith and Sayles Reservoir. This was a mammoth job!! Carolyn organized the “Lake Smart” program in Rhode Island under the direction of the Maine Lake Smart coordinator.   This program is designed to improve the quality of our water when waterfront landowners follow the suggestions.

Carolyn is always ready to do a cleanup, develop the powerpoint for our Annual Meeting, research a suggestion, host a Board meeting, and contribute in countless other ways to improve our lake.  Carolyn is a true friend of the environment and an essential member of our SDRA Board.

Thank you, Carolyn, for ALL you do!!!

Final Thoughts — from President Judy Colaluca

  1. Please consider getting involved by joining a committee or becoming an officer or board member of SDRA.
  2. When cleaning up your beach front, consider best practices.
  3. Consider a donation to the Herbicide Committee.
  4. Mark your calendar for the Wine Tasting Event on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at Bella’s Restaurant.
  5. Enjoy the winter season!!  Happy New Year

June 2018 Sand Dam Reservoir Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

June, 2018

www.sanddamreservoir.com

Officers’ Updates

President- Judy Colaluca

Summer in Chepachet is a wonderful place.  We are all so fortunate to live in this great environment. We share the experience of being neighbors on our beautiful body of water  we call Smith and Sayles Reservoir. There are many reasons why folks decide to live here and join SDRA. Together we value and respect our by-laws and Mission Statement.

Sitting here looking out at the lake (a favorite spot of mine) brings much concern to me.  There are many issues to address, and dealing with them is difficult. As I have stated in the past, chemicals will be applied sometime in mid-June (date to be yet announced by the Herbicide Committee). This year’s application of herbicide will be beneficial along with the other recommendations by ESS. There are plans to treat the lake in various ways.  Chemicals do clean up our lake for the moment (season), yes, and make it appear the problem is solved. As with any type of treatment, there needs to be follow up – – suction harvesting, hand pulling, spot treatments, boat inspection to keep new weeds out, drawdown, education on buffer zones and the use of fertilizer, along with lake clean-ups. Without these follow up measures, the end result is not complete as occurred in the past. My family, as does yours, has much invested in our home and property, and it is essential that we work together to control our situation using all treatment angles (tools in the tool box).

This year we have been building relationships with the Glocester Town Council by bringing to their attention the litter problem. Our request for a sign to cover loads of trash being brought to the Transfer Station was accomplished. Thank you, Eric LaRiviere, for your efforts. And the Earth Day Clean Up grew from that effort. Also, members attending Zoning and Planning Board meetings have developed respectful working relationships with other town officials. Recently, Aaron Colaluca worked  alongside John Holmes to improve Keech Dam. This develops communications with the Keech Pond Association.

Thank you ALL who are working on the lake outside the limits of the water. There are other activities where SDRA is represented — a big thank you to all. The end result is to get involved — everyone has a talent and can accomplish something! “Respect” by working together is key!

Special Recognition of a Sand Dam Reservoir Association Member

When a detail or current information is needed, a chart to put collected data on or someone to work hard on a designated project, Art Searle is the person to contact. Give Art a minute, and he has what is needed to accomplish a task! Art has been the leader of the Lake Management Team for several years. Many very important projects have been accomplished with him as a team player: drawdown, rebuilding the spillway, working cooperatively with DEM and the Town, clean ups, diving off the suction harvester, hand pulling weeds, immediately helping to stop the growth of phragmites… the list goes on.  As Art steps down as Chair of the Lake Management Committee, we will always look to him as a model in the way he has been involved with and respected the goals of each lake management sub-committee. The Board is currently accepting self-nominations to fill the position of Lake Management Committee Chair.

In closing, when Art comes to help with a task, he is sure to bring members of his family to do some work, too.  Much of the success of our recent fundraiser is due to the Searle Family. Thank you, Art, for all you do — and thank you, Searle Family, for your continuous support!

Vice President- Carolyn Fortuna

As I returned from Florida to our lush green New England countryside, I felt so fortunate. Here we are on a pristine lake, visited by migrating waterfowl, cooled by gentle breezes and tall deciduous trees, able to boat and fish and swim in the high season whenever we want. Ours is a rare and wonderful experience on Smith & Sayles Reservoir.

Of course, with unique opportunities comes great responsibility. In an era in which greenhouse gas emissions are changing our ecosystems with each new year, we must all balance our desire to maximize enjoyment of our lake with the sometimes tedious chores of maintaining its water quality. Lakes across the world are now dealing with the effects of temperature increases and extreme weather events. We know that invasive milfoil and, more recently, bladderwort have been introduced to Smith & Sayles Reservoir. At this moment in time, we must do everything within our means to reduce these invasives as well as to prevent additional species from taking hold.

So we, as a thriving lake community, must sometimes set aside a hot and sunny weekend afternoon to volunteer on the suction harvester or to hand-pull weeds. Soon, our Lakeside Buffer Community Collaboration, modeled on Maine’s statewide Lakesmart program, will begin, which means asking ourselves whether we want to volunteer to have our lake/ property interfaces analyzed to determine if we are introducing nutrients that nourish invasives. In fact, Solitude, the company that has been hired to administer herbicides on the lake this summer, featured this topic in their recent newsletter.

Moreover, we have one of the few successful boat greeter programs in Rhode Island. During bass tournaments, a team of SDRA volunteers gathers to help people who launch off the state boat ramp to understand how vegetative “hitchhikers” on their boats can transfer invasive species, one body of water to the other.

Our biggest program is clearly our annual drawdown, which is conducted with DEM oversight. Our Lake Management Committee is diligent, organized, and conscientious about the data collection and record keeping necessary to comply with DEM requirements. This team works daily throughout the bitterly cold winter months. Our longitudinal water testing study with URI gives SDRA a certain gravitas with DEM, as we have demonstrated year-to-year how dedicated our membership is in protecting the lake water quality. Regulating lake levels — that significant and often stressful process of raising and lowering the lake commensurate with weather events — is time consuming and even onerous.

Have you thought to help with any of these important activities? For example, the fundraising necessary for herbicide application is substantial, and that committee needs your help. By the way, if you or a neighbor have a dug well, the committee has informed the board that your well is at an approved distance from the chemical application.

Dedicated SDRA individuals often work quietly behind the scenes on these and many other SDRA activities, including maintaining our legal requirements and treasury. Please consider joining in at least one more SDRA activity. With a small community, we need all the help we can muster to accomplish our broad agenda. When we all step up, we can accomplish so much.

Secretary- Mary O’Keeffe

I am hoping to see many of you at our upcoming annual meeting, Wednesday, June 20th. Did you know that the date of the annual meeting is determined by the SDRA By-Laws (Article V, section 6)? You can always count on having the opportunity to see your SDRA friends and neighbors on the third Wednesday in June.

The annual meeting is an opportunity to build the SDRA community and organize efforts to protect and preserve our beautiful lake. There are many opportunities to get involved. We currently have 32 dues-paying members – wouldn’t it be wonderful to have 32 families actively engaged in our efforts? There really is something for everyone, from fundraising (herbicide and non-herbicide options available), community trash pick-ups, community weed-pulls, education and outreach efforts (e.g., LakeSmart Training, Voluntary Inspection/Boat Launch Greeter Program), working the suction harvester, to working on important committees (e.g., Lake Management, Education/Website). If you have an idea about how to make SDRA better, why not think about what you can do, personally, to make that change?

Bring your ideas and suggestions to the annual meeting. Consider standing for election for the Board position. As some of you know, my “day job” is as a Health Psychologist. Community connectedness and environmental engagement are two of the most powerful ways to promote physical and psychological well-being. Please join us – it will be good for us all.

SDRA Annual Meeting

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Glocester Senior Center

6 p.m. – 7 p.m. light refreshments (please bring an item if you can)

7 p.m. – 9 p.m. business meeting

Treasurer’s Report

As you will see in more detail below, the Bella’s Fundraiser was a success. Our treasury can now provide the necessary funds for the 2018 herbicide application as well as to continue to retain $5000 for Association annual operating expenses.

Please bring your checkbook to pay dues for the 2018-2019 year in order to vote at the annual meeting.

Directors’ Updates

Director — Steve Hopkins

Having spent all my 83 summers on Sand Dam Reservoir, I have enjoyed it. It is sad to see the condition that it is in. The weeds prevent many of us from boating and swimming, and we are having a hard time getting rid of it. I’ve never seen it like this — never.

I am therefore committed to do all I can to improve the quality of the lake.

Committee Updates

Boat Greeter Program – Mary O’Keeffe

This will be my 7th season coordinating the Voluntary Inspection/Boat Launch Greeter Program at the Smith & Sayles boat launch. We talk with boaters about the importance of proper boater hygiene in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species. We also show boaters how to inspect their boats and trailers to remove aquatic “hitchhikers.”  

Evidence suggests that our efforts are worthwhile. Repeat visitors who know to expect us sometimes report being tardy for tournaments because they’ve taken the time to perform a thorough inspection and cleaning  before arriving at the ramp – they don’t want to disappoint us with a dirty boat.

Tournament dates and corresponding volunteer shifts for 2018 include:

June 21st Thursday 4-5:30pm shift

July 10th Tuesday 4-5:30pm shift

July 15th Sunday 6-7:30am shift

August 2nd Thursday 4-5:30pm shift

August 7th Tuesday 4-5:30pm shift

August 26th Sunday 5-6:30am shift

Sept 9th Sunday 5-6:30am shift

Sept 20 Thursday 4-5:30pm shift

Sept 30 Sunday 6-7:30am shift

I will bring a volunteer sign-up sheet to the June 20th annual meeting.

Information about the program can be found at http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/water/quality/surface-water/aisresp.php#GREAT

If you are interested in helping with the Boat Greeter and Voluntary Inspection Program, please email me at mokeeffe@providence.edu or call 568-2657. Thanks!

By-Laws – Janice Baker

The by-laws committee has one action item to come before the membership at the June 2018 annual meeting. As a precursor to restoring the tax exempt status of the SDRA, it is deemed necessary to amend the bylaws to conform to current IRS regulations which require a statement  to the effect that, should the SDRA dissolve, all remaining assets would be used exclusively for the purposes stated in its mission.

Therefore, it will be recommended that Article I, Section 3 Mission, add a second paragraph as follows:

Should the SDRA dissolve, all remaining assets would be used exclusively for the purposes stated in its Mission.

Education and Website – Steve Hanley and Carolyn Fortuna

Our Sand Dam Reservoir Association website (sanddamreservoir.com) is a living, dynamic space. In preparation for the June 20, 2018 annual meeting, we’ve surveyed each page on the website and edited to reflect recent changes. Certainly, if you see any needed changes, please let us know by sending us the page link and the text that needs changing.

We use WordPress as our site editor, which requires special tutorials to learn. We always welcome anyone who’d like to write copy to submit for a post (news and events) or page (static information). Your help would be really appreciated!

Event Sponsored by SDRA— Judy Colaluca

                                                                                                Bargain Buyer, May 2018


Fundraising

Bella’s SDRA Annual Fundraiser,  Year Two: April, 2018: Marissa Danville and Eric LaRiviere

The dining room was full, the food kept coming, the wine flowed generously, and the band played into the wee hours. The Silent Auction and the 50/50 raffle were even more popular than the previous year, if that could be possible. We are so grateful to Kevin Kitson for his wonderful sommelier skills — the crowd loved the wine selection!

Here is the breakout of the net proceeds from the 2018 Bella’s SDRA Annual Fundraiser:

  • Total herbicide funds from Bella’s Wine Dinner = $4,465.80
  • Total non-herbicide funds from Bella’s Wine Dinner = $959.20

We were all very pleased with the results of this fundraiser. Clearly, we have a community that cares about our lake — and enjoys an evening of fine dining and wines.

Non-Herbicide — Carolyn Fortuna

Our committee of dedicated individuals has produced two grants (“Lakeside Buffer Community Collaboration” for the Five Star Urban Waters Restoration Program and “Swale Ponds on Smith & Sayles Reservoir” for the RI Foundation) and is considering a third one. We learn a lot each time we collaborate on the grant writing.

Several obstacles need to be overcome each time we identify a possible grant:

  • Finding common planning time across time zones and geographic regions
  • Dedicating time to research and writing
  • Organizing required filing materials, some of which seem to be designed for bigger organizations than SDRA
  • Breathing deeply and being patient as we await grant result notification.

We always welcome new members to our committee, as your energy, time on task, and determination might just be the equation that we need to get a grant that makes a difference to the water quality on Smith & Sayles Reservoir. Thanks to current members Connie Worthington, Terry Tullis, Michael Carley, Judy Colaluca, Marissa Danville, and Sharon Heone.

Herbicide — Deb Silva

The herbicide treatment is scheduled for June 13. An inspection will be conducted 1 week prior to treatment. 46 acres will be treated with a DEM approved herbicide.

GoFundMe site— Marissa and Dennis Danville

If you missed out donating during the Bella’s Fundraiser, or wish you had given more now that you understand the large amount of money it will take to apply herbicide treatments, please remember that the GoFundMe site is an easy way to donate to SDRA.

Keech Pond Liaison – Rico Colaluca

Keech Pond has been working on developing a drainage area to collect water runoff containing pollutants from roads,  lawn fertilizers, and debris. This new system is working beautifully and is helping to keep our lake clean. John Holmes requested help on Keech Dam and Aaron Colaluca responded. Thank you, Aaron.

Lake Management Plan – Art Searle

It is no secret that our lake supports a thriving milfoil infestation. Anyone who has navigated or fished the lake recently has undoubtedly seen vast, disastrously thick milfoil patches just under the water’s surface. Throughout last fall, winter, and this spring, I’ve been itching to return to the areas we used our suction harvester to observe what, if any, effects our efforts had.

The areas on which we chose to focus were chosen by looking at the water’s surface for some of the densest, nastiest areas of growth. We literally went to the worst, thickest spots. Many locations where our suction harvester spent time last summer were documented using GPS. Sometimes we forgot to “pin” areas of concentration because teams were too eager to jump in and begin harvesting. When we did remember to mark and “pin” locations, we made them available in this live, interactive map (https://bit.ly/2LIGKEm).

Monday, I used GPS to return to the exact coordinates of previous work areas. I floated through and over large, growing milfoil patches to reach those areas. Upon entering the nearly 50 foot radius of each pinned spot, I noticed marked reduction and sometimes absence of growing milfoil. A few strands were sometimes visible within the documented area. Proof at last! It works! Our suction harvester can actually make a difference!

There is no way we are going to accomplish lake-wide control of milfoil exclusively with the suction harvester. However, we can be more convinced than ever of its viability. It remains a verified option for controlling smaller areas that other methods may miss. If you are interested in working with or observing the suction harvester, let Aaron, Rico, or Art know. We would be delighted to have you on board — once the water warms a bit more.

Last August, a growing stand of the invasive plant known as Phragmites was discovered near the southwest corner of the lake. A sample was delivered to RIDEM and confirmed to be the invasive variety. On September 2 2017, the stand was treated as prescribed by The University of Michigan researchers by removing the seed heads and applying a glyphosate based herbicide. Fewer than 16 ounces of Roundup were applied in a five gallon, water based solution. Observations made on 5/28/2018 showed no living Phragmites. However, the area should be closely observed for regrowth. According to environmental educators, “Phragmites will turn a pond into a field in no time.” If you would like help confirming suspected Phragmites growth, see a member of your lake management team.

Nomination and Elections – Rico Colaluca and Steve Hanley

The following position is up for election for SDRA:

  • Director (3 year) position   

If anyone would like to place her/ his name on the ballot for this position, please contact Steve Hanley (schanley45@gmail.com) or Rico Colaluca (ricocolaluca@gmail.com).

Also, please let us know if you would like to serve on any committees. We will provide you with those chairs’ contact information and get you on all listserves.

Save the Lakes – Judy Colaluca

On June 27, 2018 STL will be hosting a “Lake and Watershed Roundtable” at the Johnston Senior Center, 1291 Hartford Avenue in Johnston, RI from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. More details to follow. Please join us in this annual event in conjunction with DEM and Watershed leaders.

Final Thoughts

See you at the Annual Meeting, Wednesday, June 20, to learn more about old and new issues occuring in and around Smith and Sayles Reservoir. Volunteers working together accomplish great things!

Judy

SDRA April, 2018 Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

www.sanddamreservoir.com

April, 2018

Officers’ Updates

President- Judy Colaluca

Again, the members of SDRA have come together to pursue avenues to control the invasive weed milfoil growing in our lake. As we know, there are landowners favoring herbicide and those who are opposed to applying chemicals. SDRA now has two committees.  Both committees are willing to work hard to fund their beliefs. Both committees report directly to the Board of Directors. I have the privilege of being a member of both committees. Moving forward, everyone is striving to reach SDRA goals. Join the Committee of your choice.

The Wine Tasting Dinner at Bella’s Restaurant on April 14th is almost a Sold Out event! Very few tickets are left. This is sure to be a great success again this year!  Thanks to ALL who organized and planned this fundraiser. Get your tickets before they are gone!

Due to litter concerns expressed by SDRA at Town Council meetings, Glocester will be celebrating Earth Day on April 21st with a town wide clean-up. Thank you, Councilwoman Pat Henry for supporting this effort! Mark this date on your calendars. More information to follow.

Special Recognition of a Sand Dam Reservoir Association Member

There are many, many folks who deserve to be recognized for their dedication to OUR beautiful Smith and Sayles Reservoir. In future newsletters, I will be recognizing a person who willingly gives time and effort to SDRA. Mike Benoit follows in his predecessor, Dave Morin’s, footsteps. He is always willing to go to the dam and/or the gatehouse to make water level adjustments. Sometimes he just knows what needs to be done, and, at other times, Mike is only a cell phone call away. Mike works with his son or other members of SDRA to insure the lake levels are adjusted for our constantly changing New England climate.  

Thank you, Mike, for all you do!!

Vice President- Carolyn Fortuna

On a raw and blustery day in early March, I represented SDRA and Save the Lakes at the Land and Water Conservation Summit (LWCS) at the URI/ Kingston campus. The Summit is an annual day-long conference that brings together representatives from land trusts, watershed organizations, and municipal conservation commissions for a day of learning and networking. What a wonderful day it was!

I was surrounded by 300 area individuals who are concerned about protecting our region’s lands and waters. Keynote speaker Gus Seelig, who is executive director of the  Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, talked about “Building Community Through Conservation: Lessons from 30 Years.” I attended the Watershed Organizations’ Meeting and heard about the restoration project taking place on the Wood-Pawtuxet River, where dam alterations, sediment solutions, and riparian changes are encouraging  the return migration of alewife (blue herring). (You can learn more about this process of repairing 300 years’ worth of anthropogenic influence through dam removal here.)

The LWCS lots of hands-on workshops designed to enhance technical and organizational effectiveness. You can read articles I wrote about the conference by clicking through these links: “I Know We Can Make It: Clinging To Conservation Progress In Hard Times” and “Mashup Messaging: How To Create Effective Climate Change Communication.”

Thanks very much to Save the Lakes for sponsoring my attendance at the Land and Water Conservation Summit. It was so great that I think we should send a team from SDRA next year!

Secretary- Mary O’Keeffe

Your SDRA Board has been busy, meeting monthly to work on behalf of the Association to protect and preserve our beautiful lake. I feel privileged to work with the dedicated individuals who you have elected to serve.

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about the concept of Resilience, the ability to thrive and flourish in the face of adversity. Two factors that promote Resilience are a sense of community (social connectedness) and environmental engagement. It seems to me that being an active member of SDRA is a perfect recipe for Resilience, and I hope you will make a point of actively participating in the various efforts to protect and preserve the lake.

Fundraising efforts are underway to raise money for the chemical treatments that a majority of members voted in favor of as a strategy to control invasive milfoil. Those of us opposed to chemical treatments are engaged in fundraising efforts to support non-chemical strategies such as the suction harvester and a Lake-Smart program to promote responsible landscape practices to protect water quality.

In addition to fundraising, members are needed to help with various activities throughout the year (community trash pickups, community weed pulls, working on the suction harvester, working at the boat launch, water quality monitoring, and more). Becoming more involved in SDRA efforts will allow you take an active role in keeping our lake beautiful, and it will also help to make you more Resilient – a win-win!

Director’s Updates

Director– Marissa Danville

Do you ever stand on your docks and look out and around at our beautiful lake? Because I sure do. With spring upon us it’s like the lake and trees are awakening. You can hear the water flowing once again, the birds chirping, the frogs croaking, the occasional plop of a fish jumping out of the water, and soon the turtles will be back. Last month, I had the pleasure of capturing a picture of this stunning bald eagle flying overhead. The wildlife around here is remarkable. We work hard to preserve our lake for ourselves and our neighbors (people and animals alike) and I want to thank you for all that you do to protect our environment. I look forward to enjoying this season out by the water’s edge or on the lake and I hope to see you there sometime. See you at Bella’s!

Committee Updates

Boat Greeter Program – Mary O’Keeffe

Soon we will be getting the list of 2018 fishing tournaments being held on Smith & Sayles reservoir. One important effort to reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species is the Boat Greeter and Voluntary Inspection Program. Since 2012, I have coordinated our volunteer Boat Greeter program to educate boaters about the importance of proper boater hygiene in preventing the spread of invasive weeds.

Smith & Sayles has had problems with invasive milfoil for years. During summer 2017, invasive inflated bladderwort was also identified in our lake.  American lotus, curly-leaf pondweed, fanwort, spiny naiad, and water chestnut are among the other invasive plants that have been found in nearby lakes – we don’t want them in our beautiful lake!

Over the past 6 years we have talked to hundreds of boaters and inspected hundreds of boats. On average, about 20% of the inspected boats have plant material that could be an aquatic invasive. Our goal is to develop a partnership with the people who visit our lake, educating boaters about best practice in cleaning boats and equipment, and performing inspections to identify and remove aquatic hitchhikers. We need your help!

Information about the program can be found at http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/water/quality/surface-water/aisresp.php#GREAT

If you are interested in helping with the Boat Greeter and Voluntary Inspection Program, please email me at mokeeffe@providence.edu or call 568-2657. Thanks!

Drawdown – Judy Colaluca and Art Searle

Mother Nature conspired to end our drawdown in early March with deluge after deluge and northeaster after northeaster. Maintaining a low lake level became impossible, and the temperatures were just too warm to freeze milfoil. Earlier in the winter, though, we did have freezing conditions where the lake bed was exposed as visualised in the following chart.

While there may have been more incidences of the average temperature being less than 32 degrees, we recorded ten days where the lake bed was not covered by snow and the average temperature was 32 degrees or colder.

The next visualization of our drawdown records shows the average temperature and lake depth during the critical cold weather months of November through February.

In February, executive board and lake management team members met with Chuck Horbert, of  RI DEM. Chuck is in charge of freshwater wetlands permitting. We met with Chuck to discuss the possibility of increasing our permitted drawdown depth from 54 inches to 60 inches. As a result of the discussion, the idea of applying for a greater drawdown depth has been tabled, primarily due to permitting and engineering costs, data suggesting an undesirable impact on the lake’s fish population, and the less than optimal chances such a permit would be granted.

We look forward to continuing drawdowns as recommended by the lake management plan and are eager to observe the effects of our most recent drawdown on our milfoil mitigation efforts. For additional information, please refer to our Lake Management Plan.

Education and Website – Steve Hanley and Carolyn Fortuna

We currently have 367 followers of the Sand Dam Reservoir website. When you follow the site, you get an immediate notification of a newsletter. The site has been handy recently for communication with DEM, reference to by-laws, and acknowledging our mission statement for possible funding sources. Soon we’ll be posting the 2018 RI Bass Association calendar of visits to Smith & Sayles Reservoir, and that calendar provides us with a schedule for the 2018 SDRA Boat Greeter program.

Quarterly SDRA newsletters are an integral part of education/ website, as they offer our members the opportunity to receive an overview of recent happenings. These planned periodic updates also respect the expressed membership desire to limit the amount of SDRA notifications sends.

As a final education and website note, please send us any pictures of waterfowl, wildlife, or natural phenomenon — we’ll make sure to put it on the website. Send these to schanley45@gmail.com.

Events Sponsored by SDRAEric LaRiviere and Marissa Danville

Please join us on Saturday, April 14, 2018 for an evening of delicious foods, interesting wines, energizing music, and wonderful conversations at our annual fundraiser at Bella’s Restaurant in Pascoag, RI.

Kevin Kitson of Chepachet Village Wine and Spirits will again provide his guidance and expertise as we sample a variety of wines, which will be matched course-by-course with dishes specially designed for the event by the chefs at Bella’s. (Vegetarian options are available, too — just notify the person who sold you the tickets.) Entertainment from Black Tie Affair, which was such a big hit last year, is sure to make the evening memorable. This year’s Silent Auction led by our Board Member, Marissa Danville, has many desirable baskets and gift cards already (please feel free to offer a donation, as we can certainly fit in more items.) An ever-popular 50-50 raffle is another way that our fundraising team is working to do everything we can to provide fundraising options to SDRA in our fight to mitigate invasive species on Smith & Sayles Reservoir.

The Bella’s Wine Tasting and Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. For more information, contact Judy Colaluca or Eric LaRiviere.

Fundraising — Two Committees with One Focus: Mitigating Invasive Species

Non-Herbicide: A team of interested SDRA members has been meeting through an conference call method since late 2017. Working together online allows us to get input from individuals who may not be able to be together in Rhode Island at the same time. During one call, we had call-in’s from Florida, Wyoming, South Dakota, and RI! Here’s what we’ve been doing.

  • January: We applied for the “Five Star & Urban Waters Restoration Program” made available through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Our proposal was titled, “Lakeside Buffer Community Collaboration Project.” In essence, SDRA would be the pilot site for a project that will inform and educate property owners how to design aesthetically-pleasing water/ land interfaces that do not feed and sustain invasive weeds. The project is part of a larger effort across RI inland watersheds to mitigate and control invasive plants. Save the Lakes is our supporting organization.
  • February: We seriously considered applying within the EPA Environmental Education Grants Program, which was seeking grant proposals to support environmental education projects that promote environmental awareness and stewardship and help provide people with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment. However, after spending several hours on the grant application, we agreed that the grant was meant for a much bigger organization with full-time employees and associated legal checks-and-balances.
  • March: We’ve decided to approach more local sources, so volunteers are looking to the Champlin and Rhode Island Foundations to assess possible funding interest. The Non-Herbicide group now has two teams so best investigate and, possibly, apply for grants.

Longtime non-herbicide committee members are Connie Worthington, Michael Carley, Judy Colaluca, and Carolyn Fortuna. Recent additions to the committee are Marissa Danville, Terry Tulles, and Sharon Heone. If you’d like to be part of this worthwhile committee, contact chair Carolyn Fortuna: c4tuna31@gmail.com.

Herbicide: The Herbicide Committee team is up and running. We have asked Solitude Lake Management to be in charge of administering herbicide treatment to 46 acres at a cost of $10,500. A  DEM Permit has been sought. The team, which includes Deb Silva, Cleo Monti, Ray Theriault, Judy Colaluca, and Jason Dionne, is looking at a variety of fundraising options to finance herbicide applications as a way to mitigate invasive species on Smith & Sayles Reservoir.

GoFundMe Site— Marissa and Dennis Danville

If you are unable to attend the wine tasting at Bella but still want to contribute, you are more than welcome to donate on our GoFundMe page. Please also feel free to share this with family and friends.

www.gofundme.com/sanddamri

Fundraising is a significant part of our overall budget; when it comes to caring for our lake, we need your help. Thank you!

Keech Pond Liaison – Rico Colaluca

The Gatehouse located on Keech Dam is now closed and the Pond is full, so there is water flowing into Smith & Sayles Reservoir from Keech Pond. Our lake is now rising due to this infusion of water plus the precipitation from the winter season’s storms.

Nomination and Elections – Rico Colaluca and Steve Hanley

Members are encouraged to contact Rico or Steve if you wish to nominate yourself or another member to serve as an officer or on the board of directors. Our annual meeting in June will be here before you know it.

Save the Lakes – Judy Colaluca

Save The Lakes is busy planning the annual Spring Event. More information will be sent to you. There are many activities being planned for the warmer weather. Earth Day is approaching and children are making posters depicting the best ways to take care of freshwater here in Rhode Island. Join Save The Lakes and work to improve all freshwater in Rhode Island.

Final Thoughts from our SDRA President

Thank you to all who serve SDRA in so many different ways — your time and efforts are always appreciated. I am so fortunate to work with you. See you at our Wine Tasting Dinner on Saturday, April 14, 2018.

Think Spring,

Judy

September, 2016 SDRA Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

www.sanddamreservoir.com

logo

September, 2016

The Suction Harvester Has Arrived!

We did it! After months of fundraising, grant writing, and membership drives, SDRA accumulated enough capital to purchase a Suction Harvester.  Our Lake Management Committee did significant research and made recommendations to the SDRA Board. Together, we considered types of equipment, the level of our treasury, the costs associated with the expenditure, and the possible benefits.  Ultimately, SDRA made the decision to go ahead and purchase a Suction Harvester from Aquacleaner.

A Suction Harvester is designed to suck up any type of solids that will pass through a hose. By manipulating a hose- — which takes a lot of practice and grace — a diver extracts unwanted plants and solids right from the rooting system, so they don’t grow back as fast. The machine is equipped with filtration that allows the water to pass through it, while capturing plants, rocks, sticks, leaves and assorted debris. This machine is an environmentally friendly means of dealing with an overwhelming problem.

Aquatic vegetation grows and dies each year, sending the skeleton of the plant to the lake’s bottom. There, the plants decompose and fragment. That increases the density of the plants in following seasons and adds to the buildup of organic sediment. Suction Harvesting slows this process down and, over repeated use, may halt the cycle.  In contrast with chemical treatments or weed cutters, a Suction Harvester has the advantage of selectivity. If we want only the milfoil removed but want the lily pads to remain untouched, we can do so.

There are several criteria that must be assessed to determine the rate of progress (ROP) that we can achieve using the Aquacleaner Suction Harvester. These include:

  • Type of plant: A plant’s rooting system dictates how fast we can remove this year’s plant. We’ll attempt to get both this year’s and last year’s plants out.
  • The type of bottom – Soft, silted in bottoms like those in Smith & Sayles Reservoir  make plant removal and its rooting system easier to extract than if we had hard bottoms like clay or sand.  Those require more suction to get to the rooting system of the plant.
  • The density of the plant:   This means that we have to consider how many plants are in a given box as well as how tall they are. More Biomass requires more time to go through a given area.
  • The Depth of the water:  Deeper water slows the rate of progress due to the logistics of moving around while under water and the size of the plants involved.
  • Other: Sometimes there is debris in the area that needs to be cleaned. Leaves, sticks, rocks, and larger items must be removed as part of a shoreline remediation and to maximize use of the lake.

If you’d like to use the Suction Harvester around your property, you must meet several criteria:  1) You must be a SDRA member in good standing. 2) You must be fully trained to use the Suction Harvester. 3) You must sign a liability waiver. Trainings are available for interested SDRA members.  Please contact Rico Colaluca at 401-568-4267 to set up trainings.

President’s Message

As President of SDRA, I am excited and so pleased that so many SDRA Community members have come forward and want to use and support the Harvester.  The weed pull on Saturday, August 13: Successful!!  More than 25 members, of all ages, came to “WORK!” Everyone found something to do and did it well!!  Art, who trailered the extracted weeds to his farm, stated that  most of the weeds sucked up were milfoil with the roots. Perfect!! That is what we want to do– leave the native grasses in the lake to keep our lake natural. Good job, EVERYONE! A big thank you to the Finlaw Family for hosting lunch for a group of hungry SDRA Members! And after the weed pull, Mary organized a successful boat inspection at the boat ramp!! Mary’s work is keeping invasive weeds out  of OUR lake. Presently, rules and procedures are being composed for the harvester. All ideas accepted. This is a work in progress.

Thank you everyone!!

Judy Colaluca

Treasurer’s Update

The purchase of the Suction Harvester has clearly diminished our SDRA financial picture.  So, too, are the regular late summer expenditures, which include our Save the Lakes membership dues, the dam master annual payment, liability insurance payment, and surety/dishonesty bond.

A robust membership drive, the GoFundMe campaign, and a late autumn fundraiser are in the planning stages. Please, if you can help to offset the costs of the Suction Harvester, please donate generously.  It is a commitment to the future health of our lake.

If you have not yet done so, please remember to pay your 2016 dues ($50) to help support efforts to keep our lake beautiful and healthy.

Dues payments can be sent to:

SDRA, PO Box 284, Chepachet, RI 02814

Thanks, everybody, for contributing to the sustainable future for Smith & Sayles Reservoir.

Carolyn Fortuna

Sand Dam Day

How wonderful it was to see many of you at our annual Sand Dam Day celebration! We enjoyed good company, great food, and a simply gorgeous setting on our beautiful lake.

William Carley and Laura Maguire demonstrated amazing Corn-Hole skills, and we were all wowed by our first look at the SDRA suction harvester! The Danvilles were gracious hosts.  Thanks for opening up your home and lakefront to your Sand Dam Reservoir Association neighbors.  It was great!

Milfoil Disposal

Millfoil is an extremely resiliant, opportunistic plant. I hauled about three cubic yards of milfoil from our August 6 weed pull to my compost pile. After four weeks of composting, I decided to examine the pile. The top few inches, baked by the sun, was thoroughly dried, and dead. But just underneath the sun baked surface, I discovered viable, growing milfoil. My discovery prompted me to suggest some words of caution for handling and disposing of milfoil. First, make sure that the milfoil is moved as far from any water body as is physically possible. Be cognizant of surface water flow in and around your disposal site. Ask, “Could any of this milfoil wash back into the pond during a heavy rain?” If so, you need another disposal site! Turning the pile to ensure complete drying will reduce the likelihood of any milfoil growing or escaping. Be careful with fragments. Milfoil segments left on a beach or shoreline are likely to find their way back to the water where they will continue to proliferate.

milfoil

Removed from water, this milfoil plant continues to grow four weeks later.

2016/2017 Officers

President  Judy Colaluca

Vice President  Lynn Kohanski

Treasurer  Carolyn Fortuna

Secretary  Mary O’Keeffe

Directors: Marissa Danville, Eric Lariviere, Brian Sirois

Lake Management Team

Art Searle, Chairman

Dave Morin

Dennis Danville

Sam Hawk

Mary O’Keeffe

Rico Colaluca

 

Please contact Officers or Lake Management Team with questions or comments

 

June 2016 SDRA Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association

June 2016 Newsletter

www.sanddamreservoir.com

logo

Board of Directors’ Updates

President’s Update

Summer, wonderful summer is here!!  Without a doubt days are longer and warmer, water crafts are traveling around the lake,  children can be heard laughing as they jump into the lake for the first time: excitement is everywhere. Smith and Sayles is getting ready for all to enjoy!  

One of the best ways to ready yourself for the summer is to attend the Annual Sand Dam Reservoir Association Meeting on Wednesday, June 15, 2016, in Room #9 at the Glocester Town Hall on Main Street in Chepachet. We’ll have a social hour from 6-7pm and the business meeting will run from 7-9pm. (Make sure you have paid your dues so you can vote). There are many important agenda items that need to be discussed, information shared, plans to be developed, and decisions made that directly concern Smith and Sayles Reservoir. Attend and get involved!!

In  your early summer lakefront planning, please consider your actions around the lake. Drainage into our lake constantly occurs — nutrients from fertilizers,  compost piles, filling in to extend your property, and runoff are all polluting our beautiful lake. Our lake needs to be protected and, as lakefront stewards, that is our job!

— Judy Colaluca

Secretary’s Update

During the spring months, the SDRA Board of Directors has met several times to plan and discuss matters of importance to the Sand Dam community. Fundraising, education and outreach, lake management, the proposed 14-home lakefront development, lakefront clean-up efforts, coordination with Keech Pond, fundraising, and planning for the June 15th, 2016 annual meeting have been included on the BOD meeting agendas.

– Mary O’Keeffe

Treasurer’s Update

Quarterly Overview

In the dates from March-June 2016, we have maintained a stable treasury. The receipt of a State Legislative grant for $500 and the continued success of the GoFundMe site (see the Danville’s entry below) have been excellent additions to our treasury over the spring months.  And, of course, our second fundraiser of the fiscal year also helped us to move forward financially.

Wine Tasting Fundraiser at the Purple Cat Vineyard and Winery

Flames burst from the center of the outside patio area, and the sounds of voices and laughter permeated the night air.  SDRA’s second Wine Tasting event took place on Friday, May 20th from 7 – 9 p.m. at the Purple Cat Vineyard and Winery on Money Hill Road in Chepachet.  Inside, guests listened to the sommelier describe the selection of wines.  Across the room, SDRA’s volunteers served an assortment of appetizers including cheeses, dips, pizza strips, lemon squares, cookies, veggies, and many  other different delights.  The late spring Friday became a way for the community to reacquaint after a long winter season.  

In addition to the wine and nibbles, guests had fun bidding on the various Silent Auction gift baskets.  Local merchants such as Purple Cat Vineyard, Inland Marine, Frederickson Farm, Kitson’s Liquors, and Smithfield Supply were generous contributors, as were several SDRA and community members.  Proceeds from the evening were added to the funds that SDRA has been raising toward  the goal of reducing invasive milfoil in Smith & Sayles Reservoir with the construction of a suction harvester.

Dues and Membership

We have a robust membership in place, with 100% of members sustaining their dues payments over the last two years.  If you are one of the very few backdated families who receive this newsletter and have not paid dues for 2015-2016, please send a check to Sand Dam Reservoir Association, PO Box 284, Chepachet, RI 02814 so that you, too, can vote at the June annual meeting.  Thanks to everybody for your generosity and continued support of our Association’s efforts toward sustainable maintenance and protection of our beautiful lake environment.

Please remember to bring a check made out to SDRA in the amount of $50 for 2015-2016 dues.  This will enable you to vote on any action items at the June 15 SDRA Annual Meeting.  Thanks.

Annual Day of Service: Application Pending

One of SDRA’s sustainability partners is Northwest RI Supporters of Open Spaces.  SDRA submitted a proposal to NRI SOS in response to a call to be part of an Annual Day of Service. The opportunity comes from an anonymous local workplace which would designate interested employees to participate in a volunteer project on the morning of Friday, October 14, 2016. We would host another dam clean-up day on Chestnut Hill Road, with the intent of removing any and all debris in proximity to the dam that have accumulated since our last clean-up in spring, 2016.  You can see the narrative here.  The application deadline was June 1; we’ll appraise our membership as soon as we hear back from NRI SOS if our application was or wasn’t approved.

Future Fundraising

With our recent wine tasting fundraiser less than a month old, the SDRA Board is still in the process of assessing our fundraising agenda as a whole, which seeks to deepen our treasury, involve our membership, and enhance community awareness of sustainability issues on Smith & Sayles Reservoir and other New England lakes.  At this writing, we do not have another fundraiser in the works, so, if you have an idea and would like to join with SDRA Board and Committee members to spearhead a fundraiser, please let me know at c4tuna31@gmail.com.

—  Carolyn Fortuna

Committee Reports

Boat Greeter Program

The Boat Greeter Program is an education and outreach effort designed to inform boaters about the importance of proper boater hygiene in preventing the spread of invasive species. Rhode Island is the only state in New England that does not have a formal program to inspect boats for plant and animal material prior to launch in local waters. Boat launch volunteers are stationed at our launch during high traffic times (mainly fishing tournaments) to perform complementary inspections and to talk with boaters about the importance of thoroughly cleaning boats after each use.  

We’ve worked two scheduled tournaments so far this year, inspecting about 25 boats. Consistent with previous seasons, plant material has been found on about 25% of all boats. Participants in the fishing tournaments tend to be receptive, friendly, and well-educated about invasives, yet without a state-supported, formal inspection process a substantial number of these boats still arrive without being properly cleaned and inspected.

Surveys of our beautiful lake have confirmed only one type of invasive aquatic species, variable milfoil. Twelve additional species of aquatic invasive plants, including American Lotus, Brazilian elodea, curly-leaf pondweed, Eurasian milfoil, fanwort, inflated bladderwort, mudmat, parrot feather, spiny naiad, water chestnut, water hyacinth, and yellow floating heart, have been identified in Rhode Island’s ponds and lakes. In addition, eleven freshwater bodies in Rhode Island have confirmed Asian clam (aquatic invasive animal). The most important primary prevention effort we can engage in for our lake is to educate visitors, visually inspect their boats, and remove plant material while “driving home” the importance of proper boater hygiene.

We’re always looking for additional volunteers to help out with this important and rewarding activity. A sign-up sheet will be distributed at the annual meeting. Please feel free to contact me at mokeeffe@providence.edu or 568-2657 if you’d like to learn more about the SDRA Boat Greeter Program.

—- Mary O’Keeffe

Drawdown

The 2015-2016 Drawdown concluded on March 1, 2016.  As noted in the previous newsletter, you may view the drawdown details online. During the summer months, we will continue evaluating drawdown effectiveness in the shallower areas of our lake. The 2016-2017 drawdown is scheduled to start Columbus Day Weekend.

— Judy Colaluca and Art Searle

GoFundMe Site

The GoFundMe.com page, proceeds of which will be used to reduce the invasive milfoil in our lake, continues to support SDRA’s efforts toward sustainable lake management.  We are all aware of the need to be diligent and proactive in controlling the milfoil, and your contribution to the GoFundMe.com page helps us to hire divers and buy necessary supplies to hand pull weeds, among other initiatives.  Please continue to share the GoFundMe page as every dollar counts. Thank you to all of you who donated over the winter months, and feel free to ask us more about the program during our upcoming Annual Meeting on June 15.

Here is the website URL for the GoFundMe Site, in case you have an upcoming birthday and would like to designate a gift in your name. https://www.gofundme.com/sanddamri

— Marissa and Dennis Danville

Keech Pond

In May there was a request from Keech Pond to lower our lake to allow work to be done on the spillway of Keech Pond. John Holmes requested they would need a minimum of 12 inches.  For this to be completed, we would have to lower the lake for Memorial Day Weekend.  Since many folks on Smith & Sayles put their boats in and enjoy the lake at this time, it was decided by the Board not to comply with the request.  Keech Pond agreed to do their work when we lower the lake in October.

— Rico Colaluca

Nomination and Elections

At the Annual Meeting on June 15, two positions will be open.  One is the Treasurer, and the other is one Director.  We do have candidates at this writing for both positions (Carolyn is running again for Treasurer for a final two-year term).  If you would like to put your name in for either position, please notify us ASAP.  We at the Nominating Committee are working alongside the SDRA Board of Directors and Janice Baker, who led the 2015 By-Laws revision, to assure we are interpreting the new two-term language contained within the By-Laws correctly.

Rico Colaluca and Steve Hanley

Save the Lakes

On Thursday, May 26, Save The Lakes received a Resolution from RI State Senate and House of Representatives.  What an honor to have members of the Senate and House stand and applaud for efforts being done by folks across the state. Our boat inspection program here on Smith and Sayles was highlighted by Senator Fogarty. Consider getting involved in STL as there is much to be done on the State level.

— Judy Colaluca

Website and Education

We are conducting a full website review and update in anticipation of the SDRA Annual Meeting on Wednesday, June 15 at the Glocester Town Hall.  Also, if you didn’t get a chance to read about the May 20 Wine Tasting event on our Association website, you can click here to read the blog post.

—Steve Hanley and Carolyn Fortuna

Thanks, everybody.  See you at the SDRA Annual Meeting on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. at the Glocester Town Hall.

 

September 2015 Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

September, 2015

logo

www.sanddamreservoir.com

Board of Directors’ Updates

President- Judy Colaluca

What a great summer it has been here on Smith and Sayles!!  All recreational endeavors around and in OUR lake are just wonderful this summer!!  One of my most favorite activities is to listen to my grandchildren laugh as they splash and play in the water. What fun they have!! All the “kids,” young and old, have something they enjoy doing in the lake. For example, catching the biggest fish, swimming the furthest or doing the craziest stunt on the tube, and more are reasons to work hard at keeping our lake in perfect condition.

The awarding of the grant for a suction harvester should be known soon and that will be just another tool for us to “Protect” our lake. The team effort on this lake is terrific- but we could always use more hands to lighten the load. If you want to be active, just let me know. Help is needed to:

  • 1) Assist the divers in weed pulling on September 19th — work on boats, cleaning up, financial donations;
  • 2) Boat Inspection Program– checking boats to make sure no other invasive weed is introduced into our lake;
  • 3) Planning educational workshops for landowners to improve their land without fostering weeds;
  • 4)  Grant searching and writing;
  • 5)  Planning a fall clean up on Chestnut Hill Road;
  • 6) Fund raising- be sure to reserve a ticket for our wine tasting at Mulberry Vineyards here in Chepachet and check out http://www.gofundme.com/SandDamRI —- and others as your ideas develop.

As the summer winds down -Enjoy the Lake!! Contact a member of the SDRA Board with your suggestions concerns, ideas, and your willingness to join your neighbors for the improvement of OUR lake.

On Saturday, August 29, Mary, Art, Rico, several STL members, and I went  to Hickory Hills Lake to watch a suction harvester in action! It was fascinating  and much easier to operate than I had thought. There will be more information coming on this machine.  

See you around the lake,

Judy   

Vice President – Lynn Kohanski

I hope everyone is enjoying their last few weeks of summer on the lake.  We have a lot of great ways to continue to help the lake thrive as Autumn quickly approaches.  How about getting a few close family and friends together to attend an SDRA-sponsored wine tasting at Mulberry Vineyard? This is a great event to socialize and support our SDRA lake community and also a great kick-off to the fall season.  

Also, thanks to the Danville’s for setting up an SDRA gofundme page.  This is another easy way to help us reach our goal of $30,000 to get a new suction harvester for the lake. Please share the link/page recently sent out.  Again, with all the wonderful things happening here,  I encourage everyone to get involved in any way they feel comfortable. I hope to see/meet you at one of our events.

Secretary- Mary O’Keeffe

The 2015 annual meeting was a great success, with 30 SDRA members and friends in attendance. New for this year’s meeting was a 6-7pm social hour to provide friends and neighbors with an opportunity to “catch up” before the meeting. Our President (Judy) and Treasurer (Carolyn) put out an excellent spread of hors d’oeuvres and desserts (with other SDRA members also contributing tasty snacks). Also, as part of this community building effort, Vice President (Lynn) brought a large map of the lake and members worked together to identify “who lives where.” This year’s meeting was held at Glocester Town Hall. The meeting space, internet access (for presentations), and kitchen facilities were excellent, and we hope to hold future SDRA annual meetings at Town Hall.

The formal meeting ran from 7-9pm. Officers and Standing Committees made their reports, and a motion to change the SDRA By-Laws was approved. The main substantive By-Laws changes were to impose a two-year term limit on SDRA officers and reduce the residency requirement from 3 years to 1 year for the Directors. These changes are designed to promote active involvement from a wider range of members. Special thanks was given to Janice Baker, Rico Colaluca, Carolyn Fortuna, Dave Morin, and Art Searle for their extensive committee work, and, of course, to Judy Colaluca for her outstanding leadership as SDRA president.

New business included  a report from Judy and Art on the ESS (Environmental Consulting and Engineering Services) survey results, discussion of the Mulberry Vineyards fundraising event (see notice later in the newsletter), and an invitation to Sand Dam Day, hosted this year by Carolyn Fortuna and Steve Hanley.

As you can see, we had a wonderfully productive and enjoyable time together. Be sure to mark your calendar for next year’s SDRA annual meeting which will be held Wednesday, June 15th.

Treasurer-  Carolyn Fortuna

Our SDRA Annual Meeting in June gave attendees a convenient way to pay their 2015-2016 dues.  Twenty-one families paid dues of $50 each, which boosted our bank balance considerably.  

If you paid dues during our Spring 2015 Membership Drive, thank you.  Your contribution allowed you to have a vote and voice at our Annual Meeting. Please remember: Our new fiscal year begins on July 1— after the Annual Meeting.  If you did not pay dues at the Annual Meeting or since, you may not be caught up for the new SDRA year.  If you have any questions as to your dues currency, please feel free to email me at c4tuna31@gmail.com. I’ll be happy to check the records and get back to you.  

I’ll be sending out membership letters and renewal forms over the next month as well. Please mail your dues to SDRA, PO Box 284, Chepachet, RI 02814.

Standing Committees

Boat Greeter Program – Mary O’Keeffe

The GREAT (Greeting Recreationalists to Empower and Train Boaters) Boat Greeter program has been active this summer, providing education and outreach to address the problem of invasive species. In addition to the focus on invasive species common in the area (e.g., variable milfoil, fanwort, inflated bladderwort, Asian clam), we’ve also been talking to boaters about Largemouth Bass Virus, which has been found this summer in Echo Lake and Olney Pond. LMBV is spread through water and can live for up to 7 days. This reinforces the critical importance of proper boater hygiene (especially cleaning live wells, bags, and equipment) in order to keep our lake and wildlife healthy.

We have two remaining tournament dates for the season, Thursday, September 17th (4 pm start time) and Sunday, September 20th (6am start time). We’d love to have you join us if you are interested in seeing us in action and/or getting some on-the-job training.

Dam Master – Dave Morin

It has been a very, very easy summer to maintain the water levels at our lake, as we’ve had no significant rains.  I’ve not had to go down on the water levels since the very beginning of the summer, in late May, when we had rains.  Since then, the normal amount of seepage has occurred to meet DEM requirements.

Over Columbus Day Weekend, we’ll begin drawing the water down.  We already have a head-start on it with the low rain levels this summer.  As the water goes down, we open up more.  Our ability to regulate the water levels also depends on Keach Pond’s plan to open up.  We try to start before they do, to compensate for having to get rid of their water.  Bertha Bedard is very helpful in letting us know when the water is flowing out of Keach. Eventually, we go over to the old dam and slide gate.  We play around with that until we get the level down to where we want it to be.  It all depends on the rain and snow that we get.  Hopefully, before the freeze, we’ll have it down to the 54” mark.

Drawdown – Judy Colaluca and Art Searle

The annual drawdown will begin October 10, 2015, during Columbus Day weekend. We expect to drawdown approximately 1 to 2 inches per day until we reach our permitted drawdown depth of 54 inches. RI DEM, ESS Group’s June 2015 report, and our own visual inspections of the lake indicate that the drawdown helps control the growth and spread of milfoil. It is apparent that there are fewer patches of milfoil and that the patches are less dense than they were during the summer of 2014. We expect to meet with Brian Moore, DEM’s Office of Water Resources Chief during the fall to present the results of last winter’s drawdown.

Once the drawdown begins, we will provide a link so that you can monitor aspects of the drawdown such as lake level and other environmental conditions. If you would like to participate by taking lake measurements of dissolved oxygen measurements, we would love to hear from you. Contact us at your convenience if you have additional questions.

Our Next SDRA Event: Wine Tasting at Mulberry Vineyards— Ashley Hopkins and Carolyn Fortuna

On Friday, September 25, 2015, from 6-9:00 p.m., SDRA will host a Wine Tasting at Mulberry Vineyards, 95 Pound Road, Chepachet.  Come join us as we attempt to raise funds to reduce invasive weeds on our lake.  Tickets are $15 each ahead of time and can be reserved through c4tuna31@gmail.com or ashleyhopkins8@live.com.  Tickets are $18 the night of the event. Appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages also will be served. Please share the flyer above and general announcement with family, friends, co-workers, and others who might be interested in a friendly night out for a really good cause. Think about it:  if each SDRA member sold 5 tickets, we’d have a strong showing of commitment for DEM. We’d demonstrate that we have local capacity and are ready to provide matching funding for our suction harvester grant application.

Help us to sustain our lake and to help other lake association to understand how environmentally sound approaches to lake management can make arise from innovation and teamwork. Come be part of our Mulberry Vineyards Fundraising event.  Thanks!

Other Fundraising– Marissa and Dennis Danville

The gofundme website is now up and running. We have already received several donations towards our goal of $30k for a suction harvester. Please share the following link with friends and family:

http://www.gofundme.com/SandDamRI

You can also share this on Facebook and twitter by visiting the site and clicking share or tweet, this is a great way to reach a large number of people quickly!!

Keech Pond Liaison – Rico Colaluca

I met with John Holmes recently and informed him of a need to start draining our lake before Keech Pond drains into our lake. He told me to call him when we begin to start draining our lake and he  will give us a few days before he begins to drain Keech Pond. I  stated we will start our drawdown on Columbus Day Weekend.

Lake Management Plan – Sam Hawkes

Divers Weed Pulling-— Saturday, September 19, 2015 is the date currently scheduled to have certified scuba divers return to the lake to pull invasive weeds this year. There will be 2 divers coming with full diving gear ready to work for the day. There is currently no cost associated with this activity; however, we will be providing the divers with a token of our gratitude (yet to be determined, although there’s talk of revisiting last year’s pizza party hit).

There are several activities and supplies that will need to be procured in preparation for the divers to make their time as efficient and effective as possible. Tow and haul boats, tarps, and volunteers will be greatly appreciated. This should be another great chance to build SDRA comradery! More details to come.

Water Testing — Myles and Deb Silva

Water testing this year has gone well. We have installed a new water test mooring at the north end to make our test results more repeatable. The water appears very clear with  visibility to three meters. The high  temperature as of yesterday is a warm 84 F.

Save the Lakes – Judy Colaluca

Save The Lakes was awarded a Resolution in the Senate Chambers at the RI State House this past June.  How exciting to know that RI state leaders are supporting actions that concern freshwater across our beautiful state. The cesspool bill past this term and that benefits all lakes and ponds. There will be more educational workshops in the coming months. Check out the wesite www.stlri.com

Website and Education – Steve Hanley and Carolyn Fortuna

If you couldn’t be attendance for our annual Sand Dam Day festivities, check out the article Steve wrote on the Sand Dam Reservoir Association website:  “Sand Dam Day 2015 A Smashing Success!”  

Are you part of the network of 215 individuals who follow our website?  If not, it’s easy to do! Go to our website at http://www.sanddamreservoir.com.  On the Home page, in the right hand margin, you’ll see the bold title invitation to Follow This Blog. Click on it and fill in the information requested. After that, every time we send out a notice of What’s Happening at SDRA, you will get an email with the update.  It’s really easy to stay in touch this way with SDRA.  

The website contains lots of pages of information about our Association and the lake itself.  You can find documents relating to our lake management plan, all the announcements and articles we’ve posted, a history of our Association, descriptions of the lake itself, and much more.  The website is a good resource, one that is always evolving and changing — with your help!  If you have something that you’d like to see included on our SDRA website, please send it along to schanley45@gmail.com or c4tuna31@gmail.com.

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.

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

%d bloggers like this: