Sand Dam Day 2015 A Smashing Success!

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On July 25, 2015, almost 30 SDRA members and their guests spent the afternoon together at the Blueberry Pointe home of Steve Hanley and Carolyn Fortuna. We had the gift of Goldilocks weather – not too hot, not too cold, just right – while we enjoyed good conversation and scrumptious food on the deck.

This year was marked by the return of the traditional Sand Dam Reservoir boat parade, led by Rico and Judy Colaluca. They were joined by son Aaron and daughter in law Gina, who piloted a floating picnic table designed and built by Aaron and powered by an antique 2 horsepower outboard motor.

DSC00638Shortly thereafter, Steve and Cathy Hopkins arrived with their son Scott aboard their pontoon boat called Evelyn’s Dream, named after Steve’s mother and long time lake association member, Evelyn Hopkins. No sooner had they arrived, then Dennis and Marissa Danville pulled up to the beach with their infant son Tre. Next, Ernie and Sharon Heon brought their own pontoon boat with neighbor John Guertin serving as first mate.

The food was just getting set up in the kitchen when Terry Tulles , Connie Worthington, and daughter-in-law, Barb arrived in their canoe, which Terry had admittedly hosed off to remove the spider webs for the occasion. They were joined by grandson, Will, who was home from college in Iowa, alongside in a bright yellow kayak and NRI SOS members Elaine Fontaine and her husband Allen.

Ron & Janice Baker brought a crock pot filled with delicious homemade seafood chowder, then Lucy Collins stopped by and brought long time lake resident Pat LeClair with her. It was great to see both of them again.

Scavanger HuntCarolyn’s Scavenger Hunt kept everyone mingling and chatting as we all tried to figure out who caught the biggest fish ever on Sand  Dam Reservoir, who had lived on the lake 72 years, who once drove in the Alps, or played hockey in high school.

Everyone enjoyed homemade turkey chili and cornbread, taquitos, fresh baked pumpkin bread, deviled eggs, buffalo dip, pita appetizers, watermelon, and several homemade desserts. The atmosphere was warm and friendly all afternoon as we caught up with our neighbors on the lake after a long, harsh winter.

In the end, the runabouts, pontoon boats, floating picnic tables, canoes, and kayaks all departed for home. It was a great day with friends, one that allowed us to share the joy of living on our beautiful lake.

We hope events like this will continue to strengthen the bond of friendship between all lake residents, and we encourage others to join our organization in the future.

Sand Dam Day, Saturday, July 25, 2015

Dear Neighbors,
Before celebrating Sand Dam Day at  Carolyn and Steve’s House Saturday, July  25 at 4 PM, Rico and I will be leading a boat parade around the lake as we did about 30 years ago. So, decorate up your boat and be ready to sail, float, row, paddle, or motor around the lake. A boat is a vehicle that goes on water— you decide.
The boat parade will form at 3:30 sharp at the Colaluca floating blue dock in front of the house. We will travel around the lake, landing at Carolyn and Steve’s dock.  If you would rather, you may join in the parade as we pass your property or go directly to their house.
See you soon,
Judy

RSVP

Sand Dam Day 2015

Annual Meeting Reminder

Sand Dam Reservoir Association

Annual Meeting

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Glocester Town Hall

Social hour 6- 7 p.m., Business meeting 7-9 p.m.

All are welcomed.

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Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter, June, 2015

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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

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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

Watershed Watch, URI: Extreme Winter to Affect RI Water Quality

Extreme winter likely to affect water quality in Rhode Island lakes, ponds, streams

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

URI Watershed Watch seeks volunteers to monitor local water bodies

KINGSTON, R.I. – March 4, 2015 – The salt and sand used to treat roadways throughout Rhode Island during this snowy winter are likely to have a negative effect on the water quality in local lakes, ponds and streams this year. That’s the message from the leaders of the University of Rhode Island’s Watershed Watch program, which is seeking additional volunteers to monitor water quality in the state from May to October.

“All that salt is going to lead to increased chloride in our waterways, which isn’t good for the critters that live in our streams and lakes,” said Elizabeth Herron, Watershed Watch program coordinator. “It’s increasingly becoming an issue across the entire northern tier of states, and it’s liable to be very evident this year.”

The run-off of sand from roadways poses a different kind of problem. It creates what Herron calls “sand fans” in water bodies, changing the depth of lakes and providing habitat for invasive plants that prefer shallower water. Sand can also smother the eggs of bottom-dwelling creatures.

“The big storm events that we’ve been seeing in recent years are also generating more run-off and more chances for pollutants to get into lakes, streams and Narragansett Bay,” added Herron. 

About 350 Watershed Watch volunteers monitor the water quality in 220 lakes, ponds, streams, bays and other water bodies in Rhode Island. They play a critical role in helping scientists understand the effect that weather and land use have on water quality in the state. Analysis of the 27 years of data collected by program volunteers has identified changes in water temperature, nutrients, bacteria, algae and other factors that affect the health of aquatic ecosystems.

“Temperature is a particularly important factor,” said Watershed Watch Director Linda Green. “Things happen faster at higher temperatures, and certain plants and animals can’t survive when it’s too warm. And certain algae, especially the bad ones, love the high temperatures. So being able to document temperature trends may help us predict problems in the future.”

Classroom training for new volunteers will take place at URI’s Kingston campus on March 25 at 6 p.m. and repeated on March 29 at 1 p.m., with field training scheduled on Saturdays in April.

Volunteers come from all walks of life and are of all ages, occupations, educational backgrounds and interests. Each volunteer is matched to a specific location that they will be in charge of monitoring. Once a week on a day of their choice, volunteers monitor for water clarity and temperature. Every two weeks they also monitor algae concentrations and dissolved oxygen. On several designated dates, volunteers collect water samples that are analyzed at URI for nutrients, acidity and bacteria. Many volunteers work in teams to share their monitoring duties. Monitoring can also be a great family activity for parents and their children, and teens can use it to gain required community service hours.

Ponds, lakes and some saltwater sites are monitored at their deepest point, so access to a boat, canoe or kayak is necessary. But few river and stream sites require a boat.

“The water quality information collected by our volunteers is used by conservation organizations, policy makers, regulators and state and local officials to make decisions that improve and protect the health of local waters,” said Green. “It is also used by the Rhode Island Health Department to study the connection between increased water temperatures and the health of Rhode Islanders.”

The Watershed Watch program is sponsored by the URI Cooperative Extension in the College of the Environment and Life Sciences, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, and about 40 local organizations and communities.

For more information or to register for the training sessions, contact Elizabeth Herron at 401-874-4552 or at emh@uri.edu. Visit the program’s web site for detailed information about the program and its list of 2015 monitoring locations.

SDRA Voluntary Inspection Program: Promoting Proper Boater Hygiene to Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species

SDRA Voluntary Inspection Program:

Promoting Proper Boater Hygiene to Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species

The 2014 season of lakefront recreation on Smith & Sayles Reservoir (SSR) is now behind us, and the lake drawdown has begun. Of the many activities that members and guests enjoyed on SSR  this summer, fishing was, as always, popular.  Indeed, due to the frequency of fishing boat launches on the boat ramp, Sand Dam Reservoir Association (SDRA) has conducted a voluntary Boat Inspection program in conjunction with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Protection (DEM) and Save The Lakes (STL) for the last two seasons.

Boat inspections are important on SSR and other Rhode Island lakes because Rhode Island is the only state in New England that does not have a formal inspection program to monitor boats that visit boat ramps. According to Mary O’Keeffe, Boat Inspection Coordinator for SDRA, “DEM and other State agencies need to take this problem more seriously and provide support (both in terms of staff and proper washing stations) for a formal boat launch inspection program.” She reminds us that the problem of invasive species is not going away, and the infestation will only get worse unless Rhode Island takes serious, formal steps to monitor boats and educate boaters. SDRA has four core Boat Inspection volunteers– Mary O’Keeffe, Ron Baker, Judy Colaluca, and Carolyn Fortuna— as well as occasional additional folks who conduct boat inspections when bass fishing tournaments take place on SSR. These boat greeters were trained over the 2013 winter and provided written materials as resources for themselves and boaters.

In order to determine when the SDRA Boat Inspection team would be needed at the ramp, coordinator Mary O’Keeffe worked prior to the 2014 bass fishing season alongside DEM, which provided an itinerary of planned fishing tournaments.  Fifteen tournaments were scheduled for SSR, and SDRA’s Boat Inspection volunteers were present at the boat launch for 13 of the 15 tournaments.  (The only tournaments in which greeters were not present were March 30 and July 25th.)

The Boat Inspection team inspected 117 boats during the 2014 season. A total of 24 boats had plant material with suspected invasives upon arrival.  That means about 20% of the boats were “dirty” boats: boats that had the potential to infest SSR with invasive species.

What is the process like to inspect a boat?

Program coordinator Mary O’Keeffe outlined SDRA’s Boat Inspection program.

“First, we approach the owners to introduce ourselves, explain the voluntary Inspection program, and talk a bit about the problem of invasive species— both in general and on our lake. If we have freebies to hand out (floating keychains, bumper stickers with rulers for measuring fish), we provide these to the boater and ask for permission to perform the inspection. We then walk around the boat, looking for plant material. It is important to look under the boat and inspect the trailer, since this is where plant material is often found. If plant material is found, we show it to the boater and explain that even very small plant fragments can spread invasives from one lake to another. If the boater is willing, we also inspect the live well on the boat and explain that this is also an area that can carry invasives. This provides an opportunity to talk about animal invasives like Asian clams and zebra mussels.”

Ron Baker, longtime SDRA member, states that fishing clubs “get indoctrinated as they apply for and receive tournament licenses.”  As a result, Ron feels that “they are our most enlightened contacts at the launch.” Over the two years of the SDRA Boat Inspection program, many of the tournament members have come to recognize the SDRA volunteers and share stories of their catches and experiences on other lakes.

“I didn’t expect the boat inspections to be so much fun,” Carolyn Fortuna reveals.  “It’s a wonderful opportunity to contribute to a sustainable future for our lake.  And it’s great to connect in such an easy-going way with my neighbors. I get excited right along with the fishing tournament members as the bass are weighed and the winning catch is announced.”

Are only bass fishing boats inspected? If not, what other boats are inspected?

The SDRA Boat Inspection team inspects all boats, as long as the owner is willing. It is important to remember that it is not only bass fishing boats that can bring in weeds:  even kayaks and canoes can spread invasive species. Mary recalls that “we even had one individual who wore waders and a floatation device (more like an inner tube than a boat) who allowed us to look over his equipment.”

“The least indoctrinated are they who are not club members, the ‘transients,’” Ron has determined.  He feels that “the launch should be monitored on weekends and holidays for contact” with this population who have not been educated about the transmission of invasive species by boat. While SDRA has made progress on educating boaters about the transmission of invasive species, more work remains to be done.

What kinds of responses does the Boat Inspection team get from the boaters who are greeted?

The SDRA Boat Inspection team has found that most boaters are friendly and willing to let the volunteers perform the inspections.

“The fact that we have t-shirts with DEM and Save the Lake logos makes us appear more legitimate, and thus boaters are more cooperative,” Mary acknowledges. “Sometimes boaters would say that they practice good boater hygiene, but we’d still find plant material upon inspection.” In fact, one boater mentioned how he had traveled across the Rhode Island border to fish at a lake in Massachusetts and had been fined $50 for having a small plant fragment on his trailer.

Do members of the Boat Inspection team advocate for other lakes to create such a program?  If so, what does that community-building look like?

All members of the Boat inspection team strongly endorse such programs for other lakes. In particular, as president of Save the Lakes, the Rhode Island-wide initiative to promote education and understanding about lake quality, Judy Colaluca has spent a great deal of time advocating for other Rhode Island lakes to initiate a Boat Inspection program. Christine Dudley of DEM will be invited in the future to be part of ongoing discussions about increasing Boat Inspection programs statewide. Additionally, Judy and Mary will also try to collaborate with 2015 tournament organizers to help encourage more boaters to assume responsibility for promoting proper boater hygiene.

Judy and Mary plan to hold an “on-site” boat launch inspection training for the Keech Pond Lake Association early during the 2015 season to try to motivate them to create their own voluntary inspection program. Such a program on Keech Pond would have multiple positive consequences.  Keech Pond members would have a better understanding of the types of invasives currently in their body of water and the degree of their infestation.  They would have the tools to educate their members about ways to reduce the spread of invasives.  And, as a major water source feeder for SSR, Keech Pond has the capacity to both introduce more invasive species into SSR or to stymie their infusion into SSR. A voluntary Boat Inspection program on Keech Pond like that of SDRA would have a tremendous impact on the future health of both bodies of water.

If you’d like to learn more about being part of SDRA’s Boat Inspection program, please contact any member of the team.  New greeters are always welcomed. You’d be contributing to your lake water quality, your community, and to the health of Rhode Island lakes.

Weed Pull II at Sand Dam Reservoir

Sunday, August 10 was the date for the second planned SDRA weed pull event (Weed Pull II) of 2014. Beginning at 3PM and ending at 8 PM, the event was another great volunteer effort.

Conferencing+With+James
Conferencing with James

Well organized and well attended, 16 volunteers gathered together and proceeded with their supplies, boats, and assigned divers to areas of milfoil previously identified by Ray Theriault and Art Searle. The four divers, led by James Newland, were prepped by Art Searle on what milfoil looks like and how to extract with its strong root system without creating too much fragmentation.

As the divers moved through their gridded areas significantly more milfoil was found.

Brother and brother team
Brother and brother team
This+Is+How+SDRA+Gathers+The+Big+Bad+Weeds
This is how SDRA gathers the big bad weeds
On+The+Move
On the move
OK+Class%2C+This+is+What+Milfoil+Looks+Like
Okay, class: This is what milfoil looks like

Large amounts of were extracted and loaded into the accompanying rowboats. It was all deposited at various lakeside properties offered by the volunteers at the end of the day.

A+Professional+Diver%27s+Bounty
A professional diver’s bounty

Everyone who participated did a terrific job. The boat captains, Bob Bedard, Ernie Heon and Steve Hopkins managed to move everyone into position and continued to stay on point with safety. The boat assistants Cleo Monti, Deb Silva and John Guertin were also watching and communicating constantly with the men manning the rowboats. Rowers Kyle Theriault, Eric Lariviere, Sam Hawkes , his friend, Brendan, and Myles Silva stayed with their divers and worked well with them to make sure that milfoil was properly secured in the rowboats for disposal and floating pieces were captured. Pauline Finlaw was on call to relieve and assist the rowboats with milfoil transport. Art Searle and his brother, George, also dove for weeds and provided additional safety assistance.

James+The+Diver+with+Milfoil+in+Hand
James the diver with milfoil in hand

Mary O’Keeffe’s signage at the boat ramp was effective in assuring that no additional boat traffic obstructed the divers. Ray and Elaine Theriault provided needed boat surveillance and coordination of this extraordinary effort. Sam Hawkes was instrumental in hiring the divers as well as organizing a celebratory pizza party at the conclusion of this four hour event. Rico provided 1000 feet of line and Myles Silva donated multiple pieces of rebar for the underwater grid.

Moving+The+Product+2
Moving the product

The resulting harvest was significant and contained only milfoil. The amount of milfoil identified by Ray and Art several days prior to the planned weed pull had tripled in volume by Sunday afternoon. The weeds were deep rooted and at times very hard to remove. The divers were persistent; returning over and over again to assure that the tentacle-like root ball was also removed.

It%27s+A+Tough+Job+But+Someone+Gotta+Do+It
It’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it

This SDRA Community project was truly a monumental effort and significant to the history of Sand Dam Reservoir. A heartfelt thanks has been extended to everyone who gave up their mid-summer Sunday afternoon to participate.

WHAT A TEAM!

 

 

 

This article was written and photographed by Elaine Theriault.

Annual Meeting 2014 Minutes

SAND DAM RESERVOIR ASSOCIATION

ANNUAL MEETING

JUNE 27, 2014

Meeting minutes

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

I. OPENING REMARKS – Ray Theriault, President

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

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

·         All those in attendance were asked to introduce themselves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

o   Planning board meeting Wed, Sept 26th 2013

o   Lake Management Committee meeting Wed, Nov 20th  2013

o   Board meeting Thur, March 6th 2014

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

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

o   Monti Milfoil Mat project – several attempts

o   Board meeting Wed, May 21st 2014

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

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

III. TREASURER’S REPORT – Toni Hayes

·         Treasurer provided a summary of expenses and income.

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

IV. OLD BUSINESS

Ø  Lake Management Plan – Ray Theriault

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

o   Dam Spillway – Dave Morin

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

o   Boat Ramp Inspections – Mary O’Keeffe

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

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

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

Ø  Education – Carolyn Fortuna

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

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

Ø  DEM Dam Violation – Ray Theriault

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

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

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

Ø  Monti Milfoil Mat Project – Ray Theriault

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

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

Ø  O’Donnell Property – Judy Colaluca

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

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

Ø  Keech Pond – Sharon and Ernie Heon

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

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

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

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

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

Ø  Hydroelectric – Rico Colaluca

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

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

Ø  Fund Raising – Ray Theriault

§  Ray asked for volunteers to direct fundraising

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

Ø  Water Testing – Deb Silva

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

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

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

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

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

Ø  Website – Carolyn Fortuna

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

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

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

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

Ø  Sunshine – Carolyn Fortuna

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

Ø  Save the lakes – Judy Colaluca

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

Ø  Sand Dam Day – Ray Theriault

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

§  Bring breakfast dish or brunch item.

§  RSVP 949-1727 or hopkinsgrn@verizon.net

V. NEW BUSINESS

Ø  Nominations and Elections – Rico Colaluca

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

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

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

VI. MEETING ADJOURNED AT 9:05PM