Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter | April, 2019

Officers’ Updates

President

Since the last newsletter, SDRA has been busy! No matter the season there is much happening  here on Smith and Sayles Reservoir.

Thank you, Mike Benoit, for controlling the water level in our lake; Art Searle for organizing the data collected by Rico Colaluca and Hunter Dionne on water levels; Janice Baker and the committee on rewriting the SDRA by-laws; Mary O’Keeffe for compiling the fishing tournament data; Carolyn Fortuna for the newsletter, website, grant writing, etc.; Marissa Danville and Eric LaRiviere for working on our fundraiser in May; and, the effort and time that the Board donates continually.  

There is always much occuring on our lake, and so many folks make it happen. 

This leads me to think about the SDRA next events. Glocester’s 2nd Annual Earth Day Celebration Clean-Up will take place on Saturday, April 27, 2019, 9am – 1:00pm.  Everyone needs to participate to make this a success! SDRA is a sponsor and organizer for this event. The poster for Earth Day Clean-Up is attached for you to put up on your refrigerator and to share with  friends and family. Cleaning up our lake and the land that surrounds it is important to everyone.

The next event for all to get involved in is a great “FUN” night, a time to enjoy being with friends and neighbors. On May 18, 2019, from Saturday, 5:30 — 8:30 p.m.+  Bella’s Restaurant will be the setting for SDRA’s 6-course dinner with accompanying fine wine tastings led by Kevin Kitson. The entertainment will be the “Black Tie Affair” — the evening event is not to be missed. You can also help by donating items to the Silent Auction. A Poster is attached below..

SDRA’s Annual Meeting is the third Wednesday in June. This is a very important meeting, as there will be a review of the by-laws, a “reflection of the past year,” and election of officers. This is your chance to get involved.

Also, a Board majority has selected the company Solitude to do a lake survey this year in case the need for DEM application for herbicide application arise.

SDRA keeps moving on!

Judy Colaluca

Vice President

Judy Colaluca and I represented SDRA at the annual URI conference for individuals affiliated with watershed associations and land trusts, called the Land and Water Conservation Summit,  on Saturday, May 9, 2019. It was fabulous! I wrote 2 articles about it: “Wildly Fluctuating Forecasts” & Flooding — A Common Theme Of Climate Change” and “Statewide Perspectives: Siting Renewable Energy Projects Takes Collaboration.” I also attended a workshop on rain gardens and was able to brainstorm possible solutions with the presenters about “Rhode Island Stormwater Solutions.” I recommend that more SDRA members plan to attend next March, as the information presented at these workshops helps to inform the decisions we make here on Smith and Sayles Reservoir.

— Carolyn Fortuna

Secretary

As illustrated in the reports above, we are very fortunate to have such dedicated and forward-thinking individuals in key SDRA leadership positions. As I complete my 6th and final year as SDRA secretary, I continue to be impressed and humbled by the efforts of all of those serving on the board.

As we look forward to the 2019 Annual Meeting, we have an opportunity to bring new voices into leadership positions. If there is a change you would like to see, stand for office and work to make that change happen.

I hope to see you at the April 27th Earth Day community clean-up. Last year’s event was productive and fun (with an informal competition to see what brand of beer drinkers seem most likely to toss their cans out the car window).

It is an excellent way to give back to our beautiful lake community by working together to keep her clean and healthy.

– Mary O’Keeffe

Treasurer

Our treasury has been stable this past quarter, with normal operating expenses totaling right around $60 and deposits from dues of $250 and the herbicide reserve fundraiser of $1,250. Thank you to everyone who paid their dues and, if you still need to pay yours, they can be sent to SDRA at PO Box 284, Chepachet, RI 02814.

The birds are chirping. It’s a beautiful season here on the lake watching the trees grow green and the perennials pop though the ground. Soon the lake will be in full bloom. I’m excited to see what this season will bring. Thank you for your support, and don’t forget to come out to our wine dinner on May 18th!

–Marissa Danville

Director’s Update

The SDRA continually works hard at improving our lake and community.  In order to fulfill this commitment, it takes time, money, and volunteers from our Association.

Please consider volunteering at our Community Clean Up day on Saturday, April 27th 9:00am-1:00pm. Each year we pick up hundreds of pounds of litter that surrounds our lake and neighborhoods.

Bella’s Restaurant in Glendale will once again host our Annual Dinner and Wine Tasting on May 18th. It has proven to be an exceptional evening of wine, food, and dance. For additional information, please see the poster below.

Hope to see you there.

–Eric LaRiviere

Committee Updates

By-Laws

SDRA hired an attorney to assist our Association in a number of areas, one of which was to review our current by-laws to help regain our non-profit status and suggest overall  improvements. Mr. D’Olvidio’s involvement was most welcome because our by-laws, to my knowledge, have never had an official, legal review since their inception. At this time, a committee is reviewing the attorney’s work, as well as several ideas that emerged from the Board and by-laws reviewers.  Our goal is to present recommendations for membership consideration and approval at the SDRA annual meeting in June.

– Janice Baker

Bella’s Wine Dinner

Our annual wine dinner is just around the corner. Join us at Bella Restaurant for a 6-course dinner and wine tasting Saturday, May 18th from 5:30 – 8:30!

This event sold out quickly the past 2 years so get your tickets now by contacting Judy (401) 486-8414 or Eric (401) 241-4851.

Vegetarian and gluten-free options available.

If you have something you would like to donate to the silent auction, please contact Marissa Danville at mjdanville@gmail.com or (401) 632-7780. This night is sure to be a blast. I look forward to seeing you all there!

– Marissa Danville and Eric LaRiviere

Annual Earth Day Cleanup

Membership Update

We revised last year’s membership postcard on Vistaprint to reflect the dues increase from $50 to $100 and ordered #50 at a cost of $22 plus postcard postage. Marissa updated the membership list to reflect recent dues paid. Carolyn  addressed and sent them out for mailing. Marissa will keep the remaining blank postcards for future use.

— Marissa Danville and Carolyn Fortuna

Boat Greeter Program

Now that another major lawsuit has successfully demonstrated that Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup causes cancer, it is clear that we must be more mindful about the use of toxic herbicides as an approach to control invasive species in Smith and Sayles reservoir. Specifically, in relation to Navigate 2-4 D, the herbicide used last summer on our lake:

According to several sources, this herbicide has moderate acute toxicity, is a potential groundwater contaminant, possible carcinogen and probable endocrine disruptor/estrogen mimic in certain amphibians and people. 2,4-D has been shown to reduce the rate of survival in ducks and waterfowl, is toxic to some fish and causes mortality in crayfish, many mussel species and certain insects and zooplankton”(Rebecca Nystrom, Professor of Biology (retired), Member of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance Science Advisory Committee, Jamestown Post-Journal, 2017).

In spring of 2012 I responded to a training announcement from Save the Lakes that read “Volunteer lake greeters are the first line of defense in stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species in Rhode Island fresh waters.” Since that time we have talked with hundreds of visitors to our beautiful lake, educating them about the problem of aquatic invasive species and helping them inspect their boats and remove “aquatic hitchhikers.” The SDRA Boat Greeter/Voluntary Inspection Program will be getting the list of 2019 fishing tournaments soon.

I hope you will consider joining us this season in this important, sustainable, education and outreach effort to help control the spread of invasive species in our lake.

– Mary O’Keeffe

Drawdown

Winter 2018-2019 was the year of the un-drawdown. There was simply too much precipitation to lower the water level beyond 47 inches lower than capacity. There were five days when the high temperature was at freezing or below and the lakebed exposed, but the lowest level was a mere 35 inches below capacity. See the included chart. The lake is currently refilling. The drawdown remains part of our lake management strategy and we intent to continue the practice next year.

— Art Searle

Education and Website

If you have not done so, please sign up to receive an email anytime we post a notice on our website through blog posts. Go to this home page and enroll in the right column. It’s really easy! I’ve been posting notices of meetings, for example, which are open to all members. If you are signed up to receive blog posts, you’ll get a copy of these notices as well as other information that is disseminated on behalf of the Association.

— Carolyn Fortuna

Herbicide Fundraising

The Herbicides Committee is pleased to report that a major fundraising drive this year has achieved approximately $5000 in payments and pledges!  These dollars will be added to the funds already earmarked for herbicides application. As you may recall, last year SDRA authorized herbicides application to treat 46 acres of unwanted, disruptive  milfoil. Both research and experience have taught us that follow-up treatments will likely be needed sometime in the future, and that work is not cheap. So, like the Scouts motto – “Be Prepared”  – we will have the funds in place if needed, for more than one additional treatment. Thanks to all who helped make this fundraiser such a success.

Currently this Committee is working with the Board to put in place the necessary paperwork for DEM to enable the application of herbicides this year, if deemed needed by the survey and approved by the Board.

As always, our committee hopes that other strategies underway can abate the milfoil problem sufficiently without the use of herbicides.

— Deb Silva and Cleo Monti

Non-Herbicide Fundraising

Restore America’s Estuaries: In an attempt to locate additional funding for SDRA, I attended the Webinar for “Restore America’s Estuaries: 2019 Southeast Program, Watershed Grants.” This turned out to be a program for very large grants — generally of $100,00- $500,00. Smaller grants would be for bigger scale projects that need additional funding to complete. A special category this year called “peer to peer learning” of a regional importance of around $20,000 to $50,000 would be considered for smaller funding. This program “is not interested in funding small projects,” like a $20,000 stormwater project.

After attending the webinar, I recommended to the board and to our partner, Save the Lakes, that this grant application was not a good fit for us. The grantors were really looking for big organizations/ entities with big projects. It cannot have a localized impact — it must show upstream and downstream impacts.

Rhode Island Foundation: We have some information back from RI Foundation regarding our recent grant application for swale and rain ponds — good news and bad news. I’ll give the bad news first: we did not get the grant.

But here is the good news: the reviewer said the grant as a whole was really good! She said the biggest impediment was that it was ineligible — they do not fund construction, and they considered the swale and rain ponds to be construction. That being said, she said she liked a lot about the grant and organization.

In no particular order, she said that she was impressed with the website and the organization of volunteers. The application was well-written. The Association mission was clearly stated. We had a specific series of lessons we intended to learn and that we would be able to share with other entities/ Associations. She could see the benefit of the rain and swale ponds in this way to the larger state.

With our clear grant mission and intent, it also appeared to her that SDRA has good governance through the executive board. We showed the capacity to do the type of fund-raising that would be necessary for our part of the grant activities. Moreover, our larger relationship with Save the Lakes is excellent in showing how we would “pass the baton to other Associations.”

She also had some advice for future grant writing. Because we are a small organization, it seemed, on first glance, that the benefit of the grant was quite limited. However, if we were to speak about public access, we would be able to talk about more numbers of people who would benefit, such as those that use the state boat ramp. She also said that we should try to be more specific when using consultants and to provide a scope of work — in this case, we might’ve outlined better how one landscape architect would need to do X number of hours as opposed to the landscape engineer, who would need to do Y number of hours.

As a whole, while I was disappointed in not receiving the grant on behalf of SDRA and STL, I did feel as if our research and writing was appropriate to our goals. If anyone comes across another small grant that might fund such rain and swale pond construction, please let me know. We’re not done yet, people! Thanks to each person on the committee who contributed to the grant writing process.

— Carolyn Fortuna

Nomination and Elections

All members, this is the time to think if you would like to be part the Board.

Now is the time to speak up and submit your name to the nominating committee.

Rico Colaluca 603-986-7532

Steve Hanley 401-641-4515

Janice Baker 401-578-2308

Save the Lakes

Save The Lakes is busy planning the Annual Meeting on April 23, 2019 6:30 – 8:30 pm at the Johnston Senior Center 1291 Hartford Avenue, Johnston, RI 02919.  This meeting is open to everyone concerned and interested in preserving, protecting, and improving freshwater here in Rhode Island. This year the focus is on DEM office of Water Resource staff explaining changes in the freshwater wetland regulations, answering questions, addressing our issues, and updating us about their activities. Also , we will learn learn more about the Lake Smart RI Program that is piloted here on Smith and Sayles Reservoir through SDRA. And Resident Initiative will be part of our conversations, too.

Come meet other RI waterfront residents and share solutions and ask questions about waterfront problems.

~Judy Colaluca  President, STL

SDRA Spotlight on Janice Baker

Janice has spent much time on studying, reviewing, writing and rewriting SDRA’s By-Laws.  This needs to be completed for our organization to apply for a 501(c)4 status. Janice held many meetings with her committee and with the SDRA Board.  Her persistence and dedication to excellence is commendable and a positive attribute for our organization.

Thank you, Janice, for all you do!

As SDRA moves forward, it has been and will always be my honor to serve in preserving, protecting, and improving OUR lake.

–Judy Colaluca

January, 2019 SDRA Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

January, 2019

www.sanddamreservoir.com

Officers’ Updates

President- Judy Colaluca

Happy New Year, Sand Dam Reservoir Association!

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

Thanks to all our SDRA members, Judy

Vice President- Carolyn Fortuna

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

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

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

We appreciate you! Carolyn

Secretary- Mary O’Keeffe

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

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

Fundraising: Annual Bella’s Wine Dinner

Eric LaRiviere and Marissa Danville

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

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

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

Fundraising: Updates for Herbicide Spot Treatments

The Herbicide Committee

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

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

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

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

Checks should be made out to SDRA and mailed to:

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

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

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

— Deb and the Herbicide Committee

Fundraising: A RI Foundation Grant Application

The Non-Herbicide Committee

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

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

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

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

Sincerely, Judy

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

Boat Launch Greeter Program

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

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

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

Bi-Annual Dam Cleanup from Judy Colaluca

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

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

Keech Pond News — Rico Colaluca

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

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

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

Save the Lakes Looks Ahead at 2019 Judy Colaluca

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

Want to Know More about SDRA? Visit our Association Website

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

Spotlight on Carolyn Fortuna

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

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

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

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

Final Thoughts — from President Judy Colaluca

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

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

October, 2018

www.sanddamreservoir.com

Officers’ Updates

President

Sunday, September 23 was the first day of Autumn, and summer sure did fly by this year. I am certain all families are as busy as we are here on Wood Road, putting away all the summer fun toys and cleaning up to prepare for the cold weather.

This has been a great summer! Thanks to everyone who has worked hard to keep our lake beautiful. Deb Silva and Cleo Monti worked diligently to organize and develop a Herbicide committee and a 46 acre herbicide treatment; they also have fundraising plans for the future. The Lakesmart RI Pilot Program is underway, thanks to Carolyn Fortuna. This is a program that will benefit lakefront property owners by teaching about ways that property and land can exist in harmony. A special Thank You to Mike Benoit who did a superior job keeping our lake at “perfect” level for all to enjoy. Aaron Colaluca, thanks for your contribution and the videos giving us a view of what is happening under the water- great videos. That is the way SDRA works- everyone doing something, members being respected for what they feel is right and working together for the benefit of our lake.  No one point of view is better than another. We are volunteers who are concerned citizens of our environmental community.

As I think about what SDRA’s goals are for the coming year, working together in a cooperative, respectful manner is always at the top of the list. Nothing will get accomplished without teamwork. As we reflect on our Mission Statement, we need to be sure we are continually striving to set goals  to help us attain our Mission. Some goals I am considering are:

Goal 1:  to reconnect with members of the waterfront community who have not been active lately and increase our membership;
Goal 2:  to determine the plan of attack on the invasive weeds that are presently growing in our lake;
Goal 3:  to further develop and enhance our Lakesmart RI Pilot Program,
Goal 4:  to further develop and enhance our Boat Greeters Program, and

Goal 5: to develop a method for the harvester to be used by landowners.

If you have a question or comment regarding what is happening in, on, under, or around our lake, call any Board member and ask. All questions are worth asking. Check out the SDRA website and learn more what is happening on Smith and Sayles Reservoir. The SDRA Board puts much thought and consideration into all the decisions we make. No topic is thought to be unimportant. Each Board member totally understands that we were elected to represent each member of the Association. We take our elected jobs seriously.

Sincerely,

Judy Colaluca

Vice President

The work of the lake management committee members has been constant throughout the summer and will continue, albeit in a different form, throughout the upcoming winter months. I’ve had the pleasure of joining in on several subcommittee meetings and events this past summer. I can report that we have one of the most active and invested volunteer lake association groups of any in the New England area; we’ve heard this statement frequently when we meet with the folks at RIDEM.

This summer, we’ve met monthly as a board, using the Annual Meeting as a focus for planning. We’ve had numerous boat greeter afternoons and early mornings, educating bass fishers about invasive “hitchhikers” and best practices to keep boats clean. We began our Lakesmart RI Pilot program with 2 property walks — thanks to the Theriaults and Bakers, who opened up their properties. The herbicide and non-herbicide committees have met and continued their sometimes tedious work. Our dam master has met the challenge of not only keeping our lake at a satisfactory level for summer recreation, but he’s communicated frequently with lake owners. And we’ve been so fortunate to have ongoing water testing, which provides longitudinal data for URI.

As with all social organizations, SDRA brings together individuals with different perspectives. That blending of points of view brings a richness and depth to our Association that we would not have if we were all lined up in agreement on every topic. Consensus-building is hard work, granted, but it makes us all better in the long run.

We need more people to join in to our sub-committees, too, so that voices translate into action that benefits our entire lake community. Step up and make good happen on our lake!

Cheers,

Carolyn Fortuna

Treasurer

Our treasury has been stable this past quarter, with normal operating expenses totaling right around $500 and deposits primarily from dues of $2,400. Also, at the end of June, we disbursed $9,500 for the chemical treatment. Thank you to everyone who paid their dues and, if you still need to pay yours, they can be sent to SDRA at PO Box 284, Chepachet, RI 02814.

Fundraising is a significant part of our overall budget; when it comes to caring for our lake, we need your help. We had a successful fundraising event this past April and, as we prepare for the cold weather, let’s start to think about ideas for this year. Did you enjoy Bella’s, and would you like to do it again? Is there a different type of event you would rather attend? Or perhaps we should do more than one event. Our membership is full of enthusiastic, creative people, and I’m very curious to hear your ideas to lead an event that helps to support our Association work. Feel free to send ideas or questions to mjdanville@gmail.com. Let’s make this year our best and most fun year yet!

And please feel free to share our GoFundMe page with family and friends. Its web address is www.gofundme.com/sanddamri.

Thank you!

Marissa Danville

Lake Management Committee: Goals for 2018-2019

The SDRA board decided to design the focus of this newsletter on the goals of each lake management sub-committee for the 2018-2019 year. We have asked each sub- committee chair to write up a 100 word or so comment about her/ his committee’s goals.

Here are those submissions.

Drawdown

Our spillway gate house will begin to start drawing down on Columbus Day Weekend. Please plan on having  all your boats out of the water by then. We plan on draining up to 2” per day, weather permitting.

Herbicide Committee

Hello SDRA Members,

Our goal for the year ahead is to keep the lake as immaculate as possible. We have received many compliments on how great the lake looks right now, and we wish to keep it that way.

The Herbicide team has been working diligently since early spring with the professionals at Solitude Lake Management LLC to spray the lake for milfoil. It’s in our best interest to keep our beautiful lake as pristine as possible. It takes a tremendous amount of work to accomplish this task. With only a few members on our team, we would really love to have more people join us for this huge task.

We also desperately need to have a steady stream of income to be able to spot treat the lake as necessary. We have ideas for fundraising and would appreciate more help. Please consider helping us; any amount of help would be appreciated.

Sincerely,

Deb Silva, Cleo Monti, Elaine Theriault, Janice Baker, and Jason Dionne

Keech Pond Liaison

As of this date, I have not been able to speak to John Holmes concerning what’s going on and their plan on opening up Keech Dam gatehouse. I will continue to call him, but I’m afraid it will not happen before the printing of this quarterly newspaper.

Thank you,

Rico Colaluca

Lake Management Plan

Thanks, Aaron, for providing spectacular video of the lake bottom. You provided solid evidence that we still have a milfoil problem and that we need to be vigilant in applying a variety of mitigation methods. The milfoil you showed was clearly old growth, with thick stems. As an Association, we will have more work to do. It is encouraging to see native bladderworts and common (flat stem?) pond weeds filling in the voids left by dying milfoil.

All the best,

Art Searle

Lakesmart RI Pilot Project

Over the past few months, Sand Dam Reservoir Association has been collaborating with the Maine Lakes Society, learning about their Lakesmart property plan. Our goal has been to initiate a Lakesmart RI Pilot Project based on the program that is in place across Maine.

Fast forward to late summer on Smith & Sayles Reservoir. We conducted 2 property walks. It has been a fabulous experience! The property owners and we evaluators are learning so much from each other! Our shared experiences and understandings of lake-land interfaces, stormwater runoff, fertilizer alternatives, and other approaches to landscaping have been informative and quite interesting.

Here are the 4 areas of focus when we conduct a property walk:

  1. Driveway and parking areas
  2. Structures and septic system
  3. Yard, recreation area, and footpaths
  4. Buffer and water access

We will spend the next 6 months communicating with our liaison at the Maine Lakes Society and developing our program further. We are the first site in Rhode Island to establish a Lakesmart program. Each of the other New England states is also piloting their own Lakesmart program.

Sincerely,

Carolyn Fortuna

Save the Lakes

Save The Lakes continues to work at developing programs that help local lake associations.

Judy Colaluca

Water Testing

Another beautiful summer has passed. In June, July, and August, I collected water samples from the main test site and tributaries. Balcom Brook and Keach Brook were tested; O’Donnell Brook has not been flowing enough to get a sample.

The results from URI indicate our water is very clean. The Phosphorus, Nitrogen, Ammonia, and Chloride levels are all very low, less than half the maximum average allowable. The water clarity is excellent, as I was able to see the bottom at 2.5 meters during every test. Biweekly, I recorded water temperature, rainfall, light, and wind conditions and tested for algae.

Deb Silva, URI Watershed Volunteer

Lake Management Chair

Here’s the footage I took of the lake bottom.  I did find milfoil in the treated areas.

Please take a moment and look at what the bottom of our Lake looks like.

Video URL: https://youtu.be/H4EUO4fYzLY (copy and paste it into your browser)

Aaron Colaluca

 Sand Dam Fall Cleanup Sponsored by SDRA

We’ll be having our annual cleanup of the dam as soon as the foliage drops,  the lake bottom starts to appear, and the drawdown takes hold. At the writing of this newsletter, a date and time has yet to be determined. Keep checking your email for the fall cleanup announcement.

Sand Dam Day, 2018: At the Home of Aaron and Gina Colaluca

What a wonderful day we had to celebrate Sand Dam Day 2018! The rain clouds cleared, and the neighbors joined together from all sections of the lake for food, fun, good conversations, and networking.

Thanks to Aaron and Gina for hosting our annual gathering. It is a long-standing opportunity for members to come together in a friendly, social environment to chat outside of our regular Association business agendas and to share lake stories, observations, and history. Special guests attending this festive event were Mrs. B. and Theresa Precopio. They shared many “fun” memories from the past.

Special Recognition of a Sand Dam Reservoir Sub-Committee Chair

Mary O’Keeffe is the dedicated leader of  the Boat Greeters Program. She does an outstanding job!  Mary contacts the organizer of the fishing tournament to tell him ahead of time that our Boat Greeters team will greet the fishermen at the boat ramp. The fishermen know Mary and appear to not want to disappoint her with dirty boats. The leader of the group often asks Mary before the tournament starts,”How did we do?”

Once there was a fisherman who was late to arrive at the tournament — he said he had to stop at a car wash and wash his boat! He just didn’t want to arrive with a dirty boat.

Fishermen meet at the ramp, hoping they have a clean boat, but about 20% still have some weeds. Just think: additional weeds do not go into our lake because of the Boat Greeter program. How wonderful!  In the nine years Mary has been leading this subcommittee, only one fisherman did not want anyone to look in his boat, but his trailer could be checked. (Hmm, wonder why?) Fishermen always express appreciation to Mary for the fine job she does. They, too, do not want additional weeds in our lake.

GREAT job, Mary! Thank you for all you do to control and manage invasive weeds in Smith and Sayles Reservoir. Mary, your efforts are appreciated!

Carolyn and I have had the privilege of working at the boat ramp with Mary. Please consider joining us next year, as it is an opportunity to meet and greet others who come to enjoy our lake — and this important initiative needs many more volunteers to meet its optimal efficacy. Please contact Mary (mokeeffe@providence.edu or 401-568-2657) to volunteer and/or learn more about the program.

Sincerely,

Judy Colaluca

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

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.

 

 

SDRA Dinner and Wine Tasting at Bella’s is a Huge Success

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.

SDRA President Judy Colaluca welcomed the large crowd and expressed her gratitude to all present for their contributions toward our suction harvester.

The six course Wine Dinner menu as selected by Bella chefs began with bruschetta and was followed by a garden salad. Next was a delicious penne with a pink vodka sauce. Then two entree dishes came: first, chicken Marsala; second, filet of sole piccata. The dessert was a decadent finish of tiramisu.

While the dinner was fabulous, the wine selection was even better! Wines were paired and selected by Kevin Kitson of Christy’s Liquors. We began with a La Lucca sparkling rose (appetizer course) and moved to Hangtime chardonnay (salad course). Next came a Meiomi pinot noir (pasta course), followed by a Federalist bourbon barrel aged zinfandel (poultry course). A Santa Margherita pinto grigio (fish course) and Rumchata (dessert course) concluded the wine presentations.

Christy’s Liquors has kindly extended the offer of cases of wines that we enjoyed at the SDRA fundraiser into next week. Wines can be ordered at 401.568.1111; be sure to mention the Sand Dam Reservoir Association fundraiser. Prices per bottle range from $8.99 to $20.99; case prices are available.

We can’t thank Kevin enough for his helpful hints as we planned the fundraiser as well as his extensive generosity in donating his time and spirits so that SDRA could have a successful event. Thanks, Kevin. Your new building being erected in Chepachet will be a welcome addition to the town center.

The Silent Auction has become a staple element in our SDRA fundraising, thanks to the artistic design of SDRA board member, Marissa Danville. Some of the donations for the Silent Auction included two handcrafted coat racks, a clean living basket, a movie night basket, a Twirl Blowout gift certificate, a Mindful Bodyworks Massage gift certificate, a maple syrup basket, a bird lovers tote, a Happy Easter basket, a boat fire extinguisher, Frederickson Farm gift certificates, a bird house, a Victorian Mother’s Day basket, a Taste of Northern RI basket, a Milwaukee drill, a terrarium, a Paul Mitchell basket, an under cabinet lighting kit, a memory basket, a Mapleville Farm assortment, bunnies, a NH maple delight basket… and more!

Music was provided by  Black Tie Affair, whose band composition included some Searle family members. Guests crowded the dance floor once the dinner service was complete and danced until late in the evening. We extend many thanks to the Searle family, who donated the musical entertainment on behalf of SDRA.

A 50/50 raffle got lots of interest and was expertly run by Aaron Colaluca. Aaron’s customer service background certainly was shining at the event!

Special thanks to Eric Lariviere for all his hard work organizing this outstanding event and to the Colaluca, Sirois, Searle, and Danville families for encouraging so many of their family members to join in the fun.

December 2015 Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

logo

www.sanddamreservoir.com

Hello from our SDRA President, Judy Colaluca

The seasons do change quickly here at Smith and Sayles! And with weather changes we find ourselves looking at our beautiful lake with different eyes. Around the lake folks are raking up leaves and covering outside furniture preparing for the winter weather.

The slow lowering of the lake is of extreme importance to us as we control the growth of invasive weeds by freezing the ground around the lake.  If  the lake freezes before a blanket of snow, much milfoil will be “killed off” and we will have fewer weeds next summer. A huge thank you goes to Dave, Art, Rico, Mike and others for their daily work of keeping the drawdown on track.  The drawdown is determined by the guidelines set by DEM.

As you work outside please consider best practises for our lake. If everyone does something our lake will continue to be a place of beauty. Please consider: 1) Eliminating the use of fertilizer, 2) Blowing leaves away from the lake, 3) Discontinuing composting next to the water’s edge, 4) Raking the leaves at the water’s edge rather than filling in with soil.  Just a few major suggestions as we continue to protect our lake.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I am extremely thankful for where I live and all the beauty that surrounds me. It has always been my pleasure to work with all of you and to serve as a caretaker on our lake. I look forward to 2016 as we work together.  Please feel free to contact me with any comments or ideas.

Enjoy the Holidays! I wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year.    

Updates from our Treasurer, Carolyn Fortuna

The first quarter of the 2015-2016 fiscal year was very strong for SDRA.

The late September fundraiser at Mulberry Vineyards netted over $1700, and the event had a secondary effect of raising awareness of SDRA’s efforts at sustainable harvesting of invasive milfoil and other species. A membership drive to remind 2014-2015 members to renew returned our total memberships to 29 families.  And — as you’ll see below — the Go Fund Me site is a consistent vehicle for producing revenue for SDRA.

These efforts more than offset our two insurance payments which came due:  1) liability; 2) dishonesty bond.  

Notes about the Drawdown from Judy Colaluca and Art Searle

The drawdown is underway! We hope the weather cooperates by freezing and drying the invasive milfoil weed. You may view a lake level visual at https://goo.gl/vwVqqa. You may also view detailed information about the drawdown at https://sites.google.com/site/sdradrawdown/2015-drawdown.

Upcoming Events Sponsored by SDRA from Judy Colaluca

On Saturday, December 5, SDRA will be holding a clean up at the Dam on Chestnut Hill Road. There will be coffee and “energy food” at 8:30 a.m. at 61 Wood Road before heading to the Dam. The clean up will last about 90 minutes and will be determined by the weather conditions. Please consider working alongside your neighbors. Children are welcome to help as they are tomorrow’s caretakers. Make sure you bring work gloves, rakes,(quahog rakes worked well last year), and hope for a nice day. See you at the Dam!!

Have you heard about Go Fund Me? from Marissa and Dennis Danville

The gofundme page to raise money for a suction harvester has been up for several months now and to date we have raised $770, which is a great accomplishment! Thank you for all your donations. With your help we will be able to rid our lake of invasive species.

Please continue to share the website with friends and family, as every dollar counts. Thank you! www.gofundme.com/sanddamri  

Looking back to our September Mulberry Vineyards Fundraiser, hosted by Ashley Hopkins Hawkes and Carolyn Fortuna

On a warm late September evening, over 100 people gathered at Mulberry Vineyards on Pound Road in Chepachet for a fundraiser to benefit Sand Dam Reservoir Association.  Guests mingled inside the converted barn of the historic Andrew Brown homestead and outside on the sloping lawns.  Two wine bars were set up, and guests sampled a riesling, cabernet sauvignon, and pinot noir. Aaron Colaluca ran a fabulously successful 50-50 raffle, and winner Terry Tullis generously donated the proceeds back to SDRA.  Later in the evening, co-owner David Wright offered a tour of the winemaking facilities.mulberry vineyards 2  Thanks to everyone who participated, whether it was to be in attendance or to send along a donation.  We appreciate how many guests contributed items for the delicious appetizer buffet, so that everyone had a sampling of good food.  

It was a wonderful night, and– who knows? — you may see a similar event in spring, 2016.  Keep checking your social media! And many thanks to Gina Colaluca for providing these pictures.

Keeping Up-to-Date with our Lake Management Plan from Rico Colaluca

The drawdown last winter was successful, and the same plan is being duplicated this year. There are plans being developed for improvements at the gatehouse and spillway.  Click the link in the title to this section to learn even more.

Our Networking through Northwest Rhode Island Supporters of Open Spaces (NRI SOS) from Carolyn Fortuna

Part of advocacy efforts conducted on behalf of SDRA over the past quarter has included participation in events sponsored by NRI SOS, which offers support to ten member organizations. We attended a book discussion of Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which outlined the positive effects of eating locally.  We hiked the Foster Land Trust property off Windsor Road as part of the “Reading the Forested Landscape” series. And we attended a Cider Tasting at Barden Orchards alongside representatives of several local sustainability organizations. One of those organizations was the Glocester Land Trust, and our networking that day produced an invitation to attend the next GLT meeting to speak about SDRA’s efforts to protect our lake habitat.  

Wish us luck on December 8 during our GLT presentation…

Thinking Ahead to Nomination and Elections from Steve Hanley and Rico Colaluca

We encourage you to become involved in the operation of your lake Association. Please let the Nominating Committee know if you’re interested in serving in the upcoming year as a committee head, board member, or officer.  Getting involved is fun and rewarding!

Checking in with Save the Lakes from Judy Colaluca

Save The Lakes continues to support and improve all lake associations across the state. There will be bills at the Legislature that will be of importance to all in the Spring. Information will be sent out as details emerge.

 

September 2015 Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

September, 2015

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www.sanddamreservoir.com

Board of Directors’ Updates

President- Judy Colaluca

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

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

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

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

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

See you around the lake,

Judy   

Vice President – Lynn Kohanski

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

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

Secretary- Mary O’Keeffe

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

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

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

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

Treasurer-  Carolyn Fortuna

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

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

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

Standing Committees

Boat Greeter Program – Mary O’Keeffe

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

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

Dam Master – Dave Morin

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

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

Drawdown – Judy Colaluca and Art Searle

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

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

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

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

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

Other Fundraising– Marissa and Dennis Danville

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

http://www.gofundme.com/SandDamRI

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

Keech Pond Liaison – Rico Colaluca

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

Lake Management Plan – Sam Hawkes

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

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

Water Testing — Myles and Deb Silva

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

Save the Lakes – Judy Colaluca

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

Website and Education – Steve Hanley and Carolyn Fortuna

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

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

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