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

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Special Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

January, 2018

www.sanddamreservoir.com

Dear SDRA Members,

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

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

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

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

Call, email or text with your questions.

Your neighbor,

Judy

Overview of the Late Autumn Ballot Regarding Possible Herbicide Application

In autumn, 2017, the executive board of Sand Dam Reservoir Association, gaining input from the Lake Management Committee, sought to formulate a series of strategies to mitigate the invasive weeds in Smith & Sayles Reservoir. We hired ESS to return to our lake, survey the 184 acres, determine changes that have occurred since our last survey in 2015, and share their recommendations.

You can see that report on the Lake Management page of our Sand Dam Reservoir Association website.

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

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

The Ballot Results

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

Possible Courses of Action/ Next Steps

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

Planned Herbicide Application as Weed Mitigation Effort

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

Planned Non-Herbicide Weed Mitigation Efforts

  • Continue to comply with DEM regulations regarding drawdown
  • Form a non-herbicide application fundraising committee that is separate from the board
  • Appoint a fundraising committee chair who informs the board about fundraising progress
  • Survey membership for fundraising ideas and suggestions for involving more members in weed mitigation
  • Plan for funds to support the suction harvester use
  • Expand boat greeter program so more boaters who launch from the ramp are educated about spreading invasive weeds
  • Write an early spring letter that emphasises low nutrient, low runoff yard maintenance to inhibit milfoil growth.
  • Pursue a lake-based buffer program in conjunction with DEM
  • Plan hand harvesting community events
  • Research costs of hiring RI-based professional divers
  • Respect dues-paying members who do wish to have herbicide treatment adjacent to their property
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December 2017 SDRA Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

December, 2017

www.sanddamreservoir.com

Board of Directors’ Updates

Officers’ Updates

President- Judy Colaluca

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

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

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

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

Vice President- Carolyn Fortuna

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

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

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

Happy holidays to you and your cherished ones.

Secretary – Mary O’Keeffe

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

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

Treasurer-  Eric LaRiviere

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

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

Best regards to you and your family.

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Sand Dam Reservoir Association Quarterly Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

September, 2017

www.sanddamreservoir.com

Officers’ Updates

President

At the 2017- 2018 Annual Meeting I had the pleasure of presenting Dave Morin with a plaque for his  effort,  dedication, long (and often cold) hours of service to Sand Dam Reservoir Association as Dam Master. Dave has always been an enthusiastic member of the SDRA Board, sharing his love, concerns, and ideas for our lake.  Thank you, Dave, for all you have done.

Announcing Mike Benoit as our new Dam Master is my honor. In the past,  Mike has worked many hours collecting data for the drawdown and assisting Dave at the dam. Thank you, Mike, for assuming this important job here on our lake.

The Lake Management Team has recommended to the SDRA Board to hire ESS Group to do a survey of our lake and make updated management recommendations. This will take place shortly.  Their report will be shared with ALL SDRA members. The ESS Group did the original report in 2015.  The ESS collected  data from their 2017 report will now guide us in the direction SDRA should follow in the coming 2018 year. There will be a general membership meeting to discuss the findings. Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or concerns. Judycolaluca@aol.com

As I have stated numerous times, and is written in our management plan,  ALL tools need to be utilized  in the toolbox  to manage our weed problem. Relying on only one method of controlling invasive weeds will not offer us lasting freedom from weeds. Invasive weeds are here, and we need to exercise ALL our options for best management. This is where all lakefront  owners play an important role in controlling the weeds, as how they treat their property is extremely important to our community.

Judy Colaluca

Vice President

With the 2017-2018 Annual Meeting elections, Sand Dam Reservoir Association (SDRA) had a change in some officers and directors. But, because we work as a community, we’re helping each other to learn the role and responsibilities of our new positions.

I thank Marissa Danville and Brian Sirois for reaching out to our newest (and returning) board member, Steve Hopkins. I’ve been working with Eric Lariviere in his new role as treasurer. And I thank Judy Colaluca, who is always so generous with her time and guidance as I learn my own new position. We’re so lucky to have Judy lead the SDRA!

In the months to come, my role as Vice President will evolve, and I’ll take on tasks that support the other officers, the board, and committee chairs. I’ve been participating in the boat ramp greeter program, creating a literature review for the Lake Management Committee, investigating Maine’s LakeSmart program as a model for our own,  joining in on suction harvester weed pull days, coordinating the Association newsletter, updating the website, and serving as SDRA liaison to the NRISoS. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me at c4tuna31@gmail.com if I can be of any assistance to you as one of our valued Association members.

— Carolyn Fortuna

Secretary

Challenging times can bring out the best and the worst in people. An example of the former is seen in the response to Hurricane Harvey and support for victims. Signe Wilkinson illustrated this beautifully in a cartoon that ran in Sunday’s Providence Journal. Divergent political signs are underwater as a boat carries a diverse group of victims to safety.

Another example of the former can be seen in the actions of the SDRA Board. The SDRA Board members recognize the need for everyone to listen to all opinions, and the Board remains gracious and respectful when a variety of perspectives emerge.

The current SDRA Board is composed of elected representatives who, while sometimes holding very different views, work together in a spirit of mutual respect to protect and preserve the lake. They listen, plan, and respond. Numerous efforts are underway to respond to this season’s heavy weed growth. I feel privileged to work with such a hardworking and committed group of individuals.

Mary O’Keeffe

Committee Chair Updates

Boat Greeter Program

If you’ve looked at ESS recommendations and the SDRA Lake Management Plan, you know that one important element of the plan is the voluntary inspection program. We work during fishing tournaments to educate boaters on the importance of cleaning their boats in order to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. We also show them how to inspect their boats for plant material, and we remove any plant material we find. Over the past few seasons, plant material has been found on about 20% of boats we inspect.

We have one remaining tournament this season, on Thursday, September 21st. What better way is there to end the season than with a nice group of volunteers to help with this education and outreach effort that is so important to our Lake Management Plan? We’ll meet at the Boat Launch at about 4:30p.m. and will be done in time for you to be home for supper (5:30-6ish).

I hope you will consider joining us for this important task. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email at mokeeffe@providence.edu.

– Mary O’Keeffe

Events with SDRA — Weed Harvesting

Several sessions of weed harvesting have taken place since the lake warmed up in the early summer. We want to thank everyone who has given up his or her personal time to learn how to participate with the suction harvesting. Yes, it’s muddy work, but it is really rewarding to see the piles of milfoil being hauled off for composting at a farmer’s field.

One session was particularly well-attended. On Saturday, August 19, 2017, a group of 17 SDRA members and their families joined together to work on the suction harvester and to hand-harvest weeds. Here are some pictures from that day of community volunteerism.

 

Also, as you may know from a recent newsflash, suspicious weed growth in a small cove was confirmed through DEM as Invasive Phragmites. On September 2, a group of volunteers, including Art & Ken Searle, Judy & Rico Colaluca, Bill D’Agostino, Stephen Hanley, and Mary O’Keeffe, worked together in small boats and knee-deep muck. Seed tops were clipped, bagged, and removed for immediate incineration. An herbicide/surfactant mix was sprayed on the plants. After the plants die and dry, they will be incinerated in place (after the drawdown).

These plants are very invasive, with 80% of the plant mass growth under water. They should not be hand pulled, since doing so guarantees new, vigorous growth. This area of the lake will be monitored closely for the foreseeable future. Special thanks to Phyllis and Gene Pezzullo for allowing us onto their property to perform this important work, and Art for his keen eyes and quick planning!

Lake Management Plan

Oh, to wave a magic wand and make milfoil disappear. Regrettably, managing milfoil is a much more complex, time consuming, long-term aggravation. One benefit milfoil has brought about, though, is renewed interest in our lake’s quality and swelling ranks of “Team Lake Management.” The increased involvement is a good thing, because milfoil is bigger than any single person’s, or small team’s abilities. Serving with people whose passion lies with sustainable, innovative solutions to milfoil’s major issues is quite rewarding. You are invited to join us and make your ideas, your research, and your voices heard as we determine the best courses of action for our unique circumstances. Our September 13 meeting is scheduled to start at 6:30pm at 61 Wood Road.

Actions the Lake Management Team are evaluating for possible recommendation to the SDRA Board include:

  • Meeting with DEM for the purpose of requesting deeper drawdown depths.
  • Virtual conference with directors of Lake Saint Catherine, located in VT. Lake Saint Catherine’s association is effectively (some Wells, VT residents have said, “Miraculously”) managing milfoil with an innovative technique known as Inversion Oxygenation. We want to know more about their success and how it might benefit our lake.
  • Applying herbicide to milfoil.
  • Hiring college interns or professional divers to perform diver assisted suction harvesting.
  • Educating property owners about the detrimental effects of runoff, compost, and fertilizer on water quality and milfoil growth.

SDRA has wrestled with milfoil for a decade. It is readily apparent that no single approach is the sustainable, magic bullet we might wish for. We need a well stocked solutions box from which to draw. You are encouraged to join us as we seek, recommend, develop, and deploy those solutions.  

— Art Searle

Save the LakesSTL is currently working on developing ways to benefit all freshwater. Stop by the STL booth at the Green Festival in Burrillville on Saturday, September 9, 2017. The Green Festival offers family activities such as face painting, crafts, music, and bucket truck rides . Adults can learn about various methods of conservation from green vendors like SLT that will be participating in the Festival. Food trucks and the Burrillville Farmers Market will have fresh, local products for sale.

— Judy Colaluca

Final Notes from our President

In summary, WE all love OUR beautiful lake. Everyone has the right to express their own opinion with respect from others. Here on Smith and Sayles Reservoir there are many jobs that can be done- no job too small.  There are actions that are currently be accomplished-  get involved. Working alongside your water neighbors is a great experience and benefits all property owners!

My deepest thanks to all who have given and done so much for all of us here on Smith and Sayles Reservoir!!

Judy!

Posted in Weed Harvesting | Tagged , , , , , ,

The 2017 SDRA Annual Meeting Was A Huge Success!

The Sand Dam Reservoir Association held its 2017 annual meeting on June 21. After a pre-meeting social hour, a the members in attendance heard reports from several committee members about the Association’s activities during the past year.

The Treasury Is In Excellent Condition

Treasurer Carolyn Fortuna had wonderful news. The fund raising dinner at Bella’s Restaurant in April was a huge success and netted the association over $5,000. Donations for the year totaled more than $2,000, and the GoFundMe site maintained by Dennis and Marissa Danville. Since its inception, it  has produced nearly $1,000 in extra income to the organization.

Lake Management News

The Lake Management Committee, headed by Art Searle, shared information about the annual drawdown and improvements to the suction harvester. He and Rico Colaluca have invested a great deal of time and effort into making the process simpler and more efficient.

Training for those who want to learn how to use the machinery is available. Carolyn Fortuna mentioned that there will be a special training session for females so that all the members of the Association can participate directly in the weed harvesting process.

Many Thanks To Dave Morin

Dave Morin

Photo credit: Rico Colaluca

Dave Morin is retiring as the Dam Master after more than 40 years. Dave’s tireless work in all sorts of weather has been key to maintaining the level of the lake so everyone can enjoy it. He was presented with a special plaque by President Judy Colaluca to commemorate his years of service to the organization.

Invasive Weeds

A spirited discussion ensued concerning milfoil in our lake. Early indications are that the pesky invasive weeds are more prevalent in some parts of the lake than normal. The Lake Management Committee was asked to examine any and all measures to keep the milfoil under control.

It will require a multi-pronged effort from everyone who lives on the lake. Eliminating chemical fertilizers for lawns near the lake will help. The Boat Greeter program that helps educates about the damage milfoil causes is another part of the process. Using the suction harvester can control part of the problem, and the Lake Management Committee will also research the many tools available in the invasive weed toolbox, including the application of herbicides.

All Welcome At Board Meetings

Steve Hanley stressed that all association members are welcome to attend monthly executive board meetings and offer suggestions. The executive board manages the needs of the Association during the year between annual meetings. Anyone who has an issue involving the lake is welcome at the meetings — which are kept to under two hours in length. Also, people with concerns are encouraged to contact any member of the executive board at any time.

Election Results

After the reports by the officers, directors and standing committees, elections for the coming year were held. All officers serve for a two year term. The following slate of officers was approved by the membership:

President: Judy Colaluca

Vice President: Carolyn Fortuna

Treasurer: Eric LaRivierre

Secretary: Mary O’Keefe

Steve Hopkins was elected to fill Eric’s spot on the executive board. Those positions are for a three year term. The other board members are Brian Sirois and Marissa Danville.

Our Mission Going Forward

The meeting emphasized how much the Association depends on volunteerism from its members. Many hours go into collecting water samples, coordinating with DEM, maintaining the dam, collecting trash around the lake, educating fishermen, operating the weed harvester, and communicating with the members of the organization.

Good stewardship of our precious lake requires constant input from the members. Our organization has never had more members and has never been as strong and as vibrant as it is today. That is a credit to the officers and directors but also to everyone who participates in so many ways every day.

Sand Dam Day

Sand Dam Day will be hosted this year by Jason Dionne and Terilyn Colaluca. Details will follow shortly.

Posted in Lake Management, Sand Dam Day, Weed Harvesting, What's Happening | Tagged , , ,

June 2017 Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

www.sanddamreservoir.com

Officers’ Updates

President, Judy  Colaluca

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

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

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

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

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

Secretary, Mary O’Keeffe

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

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

Treasurer, Carolyn Fortuna

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

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

GoFundMe Site: Marissa and Denny Danville

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

Board of Directors’ Report

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

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

Programs and Committees

Lake Management Plan, Art Searle

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

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

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

Save the Lakes, Judy Colaluca

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

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

Boat Greeter Program,  Mary O’Keeffe

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

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

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

Summer 17 boat inspection dates (tournaments):

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

Nominations and Elections, Rico Colaluca and Steve Hanley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Posted in Education Website | Tagged , , , , , , ,

April 2017 SDRA Newsletter

April 2017 Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

www.sanddamreservoir.com

Officers’ Updates

President

YEAH! Spring is here! Our lake is filled with water! Fishing boats, canoes, and kayaks have been seen on our lake along with geese, ducks, and returning birds.  A successful fundraising event has just passed. Summer is almost here, and we are ready.  Everyone is getting their property ready for all the planned summer activities.  Summer residents have started opening their cottages — so great.

So important to be mindful of good waterfront practices!  Instead of green grass down to the water’s edge, consider planting a buffer zone. This would capture runoff from your yard and prevent unwanted materials from fertilizing the invasive weeds in our lake— plus, it will improve the look of your property. There are many members of SDRA who are working HARD to control the number of invasive weeds growing in our lake. Everyone needs to use ways that do not foster the growth of weeds. DEM’s website has many ideas how waterfront property owners can help manage invasive weeds; ask us, and we’ll share them with you.  OUR grandchildren, future grandchildren, and all future generations will enjoy our freshwater lake if we exercise good judgment.

Get involved in SDRA Community. Thanks, SDRA members, for all you do to protect, improve, and preserve Smith and Sayles Reservoir!! Happy Spring!!!

Judy  Colaluca

Treasurer

We are so lucky to have such a dedicated group of officers and board members here at SDRA! Our treasury is in very good shape. Although the winter was long and raw, we gathered forces on several initiatives which significantly improved our cash reserves as well as total membership. We have more member involvement than ever before in our lake association efforts. Review the entries below to see each activity. Thank you!

Carolyn Fortuna

Fundraiser at Bella’s Restaurant

On Saturday, April 8, 160 friends of Sand Dam Reservoir Association (SDRA) gathered at Bella’s Restaurant in Pascoag, Rhode Island to share a meal, sample a selection of fine wines, and dance the night away. What a fun night it was! And it was the most profitable fundraiser that we at SDRA have ever held. Thanks so much to everyone who contributed to this fabulous event.

The well-lit room was filled with round tables at which 10 or 11 guests were seated. As the board planned the event over the past few months, we never hoped we would get such a turnout! Sarah, the banquet coordinator at Bella’s, was so helpful as our guest list expanded. We appreciate everything she and the large Bella’s staff did that evening to make us feel so welcomed. (Click here to read the entire article at our SDRA website.)

Carolyn Fortuna and Steve Hanley

April 2017 SDRA

2016-2017 Membership Drive

Judy, Marissa, and Carolyn

We wrote letters to families whose memberships had lapsed. The result? 5 new or returning members. We now have 37 memberships in our Sand Dam Reservoir Assocation family. That is the most memberships we have had in recent memory! Wonderful!

 

Suction Harvester Fundraising Campaign

December 1, 2016  – February 1, 2017

Bronze Level

($50 and under)

Carol and Eric Lariviere
Connie Worthington and Terry Tullis
Bill and Sue Worthington
The Balcoms: Louise, David, Carol Ann
Louise Sheldon
Silver Level

($51 – $100)

Claudette and Harvey Lariviere
Dorothy Steere
Terilynn Colaluca and Jason Dionne
Pauline and Rich Finlaw
Gold Level

($101 and up)

Mark Bard
Father John Hunt
Tony Hawkes
Carolyn Fortuna and Steve Hanley
Almerinda M. Colaluca and Angela Chiperas
Rico and Judy Colaluca
Titanium

($500 and up)

David Bourdeau
Brenda OBrien

Annual Fund Drive to Support the Suction Harvester Purchase

Judy, Marissa, and Carolyn

The graphic above says it all! We are so grateful to each family who donated to our Winter Suction Harvester Fund Drive. Your support will help SDRA to continue its efforts to preserve and protect Smith & Sayles Reservoir through sustainable means.

GoFundMe Site

Marissa and Dennis Danville

Our GoFundMe site is still going strong. Over the winter during our postcard fundraiser, we received $100 from the website. This may seem like a  small percentage of total donations raised but every donation makes a difference. The site will remain active and can be visited and shared at www.gofundme.com/sanddamri. Thank you for all your donations.

Board of Directors’ Reports

Marissa Danville: I just want to take a moment to thank everyone who brought a donation to be used in the Silent Auction at our wine tasting evening at Bella’s Restaurant. I knew of several donations going into the evening, but I was astonished at not only the number of donations received but also the quality of the baskets. All together, we had 23 baskets, bringing in over $1,000. So thank you to everyone who donated and participated!

Brian Sirois: As a SDRA board member, I am amazed at the overwhelming response from ticket sales, the awesome band, and the concentrated efforts of our team to get things done for our Bella’s Restaurant fundraiser. It’s been a great experience to be on the SDRA board!

Programs and Committees

Lake Management Plan

During the 2016-2017 drawdown, there were fourteen days recorded where the average temperature was below freezing, and there was no snow covering the exposed lake bed. Both factors are important because exposed milfoil can be killed by freezing it and drying it. Snow insulates exposed milfoil, keeping it from freezing and also keeping it moist, so lack of snow and presence of cold is important. Based on the information gathered, we expect an absence of rooted, living milfoil in areas where the water depth is about 43 inches or lower.

You are encouraged to view the full details on our most recent drawdown can be viewed here. If you have any questions about the drawdown, please contact a board member or a lake management team member.

Art Searle

Save the Lakes

Save the Lakes (STL) has been extremely busy this Spring. Bass Pro Shop hosted STL on a busy Saturday in March. Here, information regarding best practices was distributed to shoppers. On April 8, STL and SDRA coordinated with  Hope Leeson from the RI Natural History Survey to present a workshop at the Land and Water Summit at URI. What an honor!! The workshop explained how to recognize freshwater aquatic plants and prevent their spread in RI. Mary O’Keeffe did a fine job explaining how volunteers use the GREAT Boater Program to promote boat hygiene throughout the state to limit the introduction and spread of invasive plants.  On April 26th, STL will host the Annual Meeting with DEM at the Johnston Senior Center, 1291 Hartford Ave., Johnston. Come hear the latest news from Director Coit and her staff. This program starts at 6:30 PM, ending at 8:30 PM. Also, you will have the opportunity to gather information from Matt Ladewig, project scientist and Group Manager at ESS Group. Matt will answer the question, “So your lake has issues. Now what?” This is sure to be informative evening. Go to the web site at wwwSTL.RI.org for more information.

Judy Colaluca

Boat Greeter Program

We are waiting for fishing tournaments for the summer season, 2017. New volunteers are always welcomed. During the summer 2016 season, we inspected 69 boats, 18 of which had plant material. This is consistent with past years, and we continually find about 20-25 percent of boats having suspected invasives. It reinforces the importance of proper boat hygiene. Come join us and share in this important SDRA activity!

Mary O’Keeffe

Nominations and Elections

We are currently accepting applications from any SDRA member in good standing who has lived on the lake for at least three years and who would like to run for an officer’s or director’s position. This is a wonderful way to get involved with your lake association and learn from the inside how many different approaches we take as an association to preserve and protect our lake ecosystem.

Rico Colaluca and Steve Hanley

Water Testing

We are always looking for volunteers to assist us as we test our water periodically. This water testing has a very long data record with URI and provides a valuable resource for us and for other Rhode Island lake associations as they monitor changes in water quality, temperature, and habitat. This is a fun way to get involved!

Water testing by Deb Silva and family

 

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