Toxic blue-green algae

Valley Breeze & Observer January 21-27, 2021

By JACQUELYN MOOREHEAD, Valley Breeze & Observer Staff Writer

SMITHFIELD – Toxic blue-green algae should be a thing of the past in Georgiaville Pond thanks to a donation that will bring an aerating water fountain to a stagnant section of the pond.

Last Friday, members of the Georgiaville Pond Association donated $7,000 to Smithfield along with a design plan for an aerating water fountain to be placed approximately 200 feet from the public beach at the pond.

Smithfield will pay the remaining $1,000 for the water fountain, which will cover installation and maintenance, said David Prairie, secretary of the Georgiaville Pond Association.

Prairie said nothing has been able to combat the combination of beating sun onto stagnant parts of the water where bacteria from goose poop and rotting fallen leaves feed the algae. He described the “cul-de-sac” area of water near the public boat launch and surrounding the nearby islands as a place with little water flow.

“The solution is to aerate the water and get it moving to stop the algae growth,” he said.

“In the winter, it always ices over first and in the summer, it gets direct sun and is hot. That’s where the algae starts,” Prairie said.

Sometimes the algae stays in that area of the pond, Prairie said, but not always. Strong winds can push the algae across the lake, and spread the toxic growth throughout the pond.

Prairie said the association approached North Providence about its multiple water fountains on the Wenscott Reservoir and their efficiency before moving forward in Smithfield.

“They helped us weed out the bad systems and find the right one for us. They gave us the sense of feeling confident about this option,” Prairie said.

In North Providence, the fountains have been credited with helping to keep algae levels down and the beach at Notte Park open during the summer. They also add to the beauty of the park, say officials in the neighboring town.

Formed in 1978, the Georgiaville Pond Association collects dues from residents around the pond to purchase safety equipment, maintain buoys and damns, and now to provide a solution to the blue-green algae blooms.

Prairie said the association does as much as it can to prevent the algae, including lowering the pond in the winter months to kill off weeds and growth, addling goose eggs to prevent population growth, and doing frequent water tests.

“A goose can make up to two pounds of waste a day. That’s what the algae eats,” he said.

In the past 20 years, in conjunction with the RIDEM, the Georgiaville Pond Association has addled around 500 eggs. Addling eggs means covering them in oil to prevent hatching.

People experience side effects from contact with blue-green algae, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, headache and dizziness. It is especially unsafe for children and can cause neurological or liver damage in animals.

Georgiaville Pond is frequently closed during the summer due to blue-green algae blooms, closures enforced by the town and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

Prairie said the air in the water will most likely be good for fish and other wildlife living inside Georgiaville Pond.

“You bet your boots it will be in this spring,” Prairie said, or as soon as the weather will allow.

A large aluminum ring will surround the fountain to discourage water enthusiasts from taking selfies or getting too close to the fountain and causing damage to it, Prairie said.

Smithfield Recreation Director Bob Caine said lifeguards will be on duty in the summer to help keep the fountain safe during the day, and a camera facing the fountain on the concession stand will keep watch over it at night.

“This has long been a place where people come to make trouble at night. I’m always watching those cameras,” Caine said.

Milfoil Harvesting 07/11/2020

The water was a little rough all day but that didn’t stop this team from making our lake more beautiful than it was. The men worked the boat and did the diving and the fragments were caught by the women in kayaks. Six hours later and we had accomplished so much! A big thank you to all who volunteered their time and effort to a most valuable cause!

Some pictures below:

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

June, 2019 Issue

SDRA Annual Meeting

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Glocester Town Hall, Room A

6:30-7:00 p.m. social time

7:00-9:00 p.m. business meeting

Greetings from the SDRA President

June is here — time for the Annual SDRA Meeting! This is one of the most important events you will attend this year. Sand Dam Reservoir Association is made of volunteers — and that means you!  

Annual Meeting

As volunteers, we continue to work together to improve, protect, and preserve our beautiful lake. Our Annual Meeting on June 19, 2019 is the time we come together and share what has been accomplished in the preceding year — such as our successful Bella Wine Tasting and Dinner fundraising event. Working together and following “Best Practices“ is definitely the best way to support our lake. By doing what is right — not what you want — following the guidelines — not seeking forgiveness for doing it your way — will foster the health of our lake.

Our lakefront community needs your support. See you on the 19th. If all do something, many things will be accomplished.

This issue’s SDRA Spotlight is on…

This “spot” in the newsletter is usually where I recognize a lakefront community member for an extra accomplishment.  Today, I want to spotlight the entire SDRA Board. Each Board member has contributed to the growth and improvement of the Association.

It is always great to work where everyone is willing to give and take ideas and concerns in a respectful manner. As I have said for five and a half years, it has been my honor and pleasure to be President of SDRA. Thank you, Carolyn, Mary, Marissa, Eric, Brian, and Steve Hopkins for all the time and effort you have put into the Association.


Judy Colaluca

From the Board

My family and I feel extremely fortunate and blessed to be members of the SDRA. It’s an honor to work with such dedicated neighbors and friends. Our mission to preserve the beauty and health of our lake can only work with your help. Please make this season your time to get involved. From volunteering on litter clean-up days to working an afternoon on the suction harvester and everything in between, there are so many opportunities to get involved.

Thank you,

Eric LaRiviere

Annual Meeting Preview


Reading can be such fun!  With by-laws, that may not be the case.  However, we have a MAJOR review coming up at the Annual Meeting, and I ask you to look at  the by-laws in advance of the meeting. This year we have had the advantage of formal attorney input, which has enriched the document.  Although some changes are minor, others are of substance, and there are several new components as well.  Coming to the meeting prepared will help all to review this important document which defines our mission, structure, methods of operation, and legal requirements.  This is an action item and, following our questions and discussion, we will be voting on this item.

Many, many thanks to the SDRA Board and additional members who worked hard on this project:  Steve Hanley, Elaine Theriault, and Ray Theriault. They provided feedback, suggested important items for consideration, and helped to write changes or new language. With this endeavor, as with so many of our SDRA activities, many hands help to make a heavy job lighter and always improve the end result.   


Janice Baker

Nomination and Elections

With a group of officers and a director relinquishing their roles for the 2019-2020 year, we will be electing new leaders for our organization. Join us for the annual meeting to learn more about who will be part of our governing board moving forward.

Rico Colaluca and Steve Hanley

Looking Back to the Last Quarter

2019 Bella’s Fundraiser

The 2019 Bella’s Fundraiser was another great success! We were at full capacity, with the Black Tie Affair playing music to dance by, Kevin Kitson providing paired wines with the 6 delicious Bella’s dinner courses, the Silent Auction garnering much audience interest, the 50-50 auction a big hit, and a wonderful sense of community and conviviality to support SDRA throughout the evening.

Thank you to those who sent along a donation if you were not able to attend. You can still donate to this wonderful fundraiser, and feel free to designate your donation to the general fund, herbicide application, or Lakesmart RI project.

The Herbicides Committee Fundraising

The Herbicides Committee conducted a voluntary donation fundraiser this year that has resulted in $5650 being added to the previously amount which had been set aside, approximately $4000.

As we all know, herbicides is not the most desirable avenue for addressing milfoil, nor is it the cheapest, but we have gone to this method because of the serious invasive growth that greatly limited the use of our lake 2 years ago.  Last year we did a treatment of 43 acres at a cost of $10,000, which included the DEM permit, a lake survey that identified targeted growth areas, and the treatment itself.

Currently, the process is underway to obtain the DEM permit that would enable 2019 treatment, if deemed as needed. Once the permit is obtained, Solitude will do a lake survey to identify areas of significant growth and, based on their findings, the Board will decide if we should spot treat this year.

Professional guidance and experience has taught us that periodic treatments, which are significantly less expensive, are the way to go.  However, let us not lose sight of the fact that we, as landowners, must all do our part to heed the guidance to implement “Best Practices” for our own properties so that, over time, herbicide strategies will be needed less and less and less.  

A special note of thanks to all who contributed to the fundraiser and to our committee.  

Deb Silva & Cleo Monti

Save the Lakes

This year’s Save the Lakes (STL) annual meeting was a success! It was a fine opportunity to talk directly with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and learn ideas from other Rhode Island lakefront owners. Marissa did a great job delivering a presentation concerning the Lakesmart RI program — which is being piloted in Rhode Island here on Smith & Sayles Reservoir. 🙂

Thank you, Marissa! Everyone, watch for future STL events!

Judy Colaluca

Upcoming Activities for Summer, 2019

Lakesmart RI

LakeSmart RI is a new program that SDRA has embraced, alongside assistance from the Maine Lakes Society. Lakesmart RI offers FREE opportunities for homeowners to learn how to manage their homes and yards to protect the water quality of their lake. The goal of LakeSmart RI is to change the increasingly common suburban landscaping practices around lakes to more natural, lake-friendly environments.

Landscaping and managing your property in an environmentally friendly manner through LakeSmart is one way for you to help your lake and have a low-maintenance, great-looking property.

Want to learn more? Click here. Want to sign up to become a trainer or to have a Lakesmart RI property walk at your place? Contact Able to make a donation to help our fledgling Lakesmart RI program? Send it to SDRA, PO Box 284, Chepachet, RI 02814 with the memo line “Lakesmart RI.”


Carolyn Fortuna

Suction Harvester

Just a reminder — the Association did purchase a suction harvester.  Anyone who would like to use it is more than welcome. I would be glad to train anyone to use the machine, as that is what we purchased it for. It is available to all, even if members use it in front of their own properties.  

The more we work at cleaning up the milfoil on a consistent basis, the better chance we have to keep it at bay. As of today, the pump is not on the machine.  If there is a group of people who would like to come together, help me put the pump on, and check to see if there is anything else needed to fix, I am always a phone call away at 603-986-9185.  

Once you are trained with the harvester, it does not have to stay at Rico and Judy’s. Those who are trained are welcome to keep it at their property while using it.  


Aaron Colaluca

Final Thoughts

Have a great summer! Together, we love our beautiful lake and appreciate every day we get to experience it.

See you at the Annual Meeting!!