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

June 2018 Sand Dam Reservoir Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

June, 2018

www.sanddamreservoir.com

Officers’ Updates

President- Judy Colaluca

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

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

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

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

Special Recognition of a Sand Dam Reservoir Association Member

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

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

Vice President- Carolyn Fortuna

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Secretary- Mary O’Keeffe

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

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

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

SDRA Annual Meeting

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Glocester Senior Center

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

7 p.m. – 9 p.m. business meeting

Treasurer’s Report

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

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

Directors’ Updates

Director — Steve Hopkins

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

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

Committee Updates

Boat Greeter Program – Mary O’Keeffe

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

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

Tournament dates and corresponding volunteer shifts for 2018 include:

June 21st Thursday 4-5:30pm shift

July 10th Tuesday 4-5:30pm shift

July 15th Sunday 6-7:30am shift

August 2nd Thursday 4-5:30pm shift

August 7th Tuesday 4-5:30pm shift

August 26th Sunday 5-6:30am shift

Sept 9th Sunday 5-6:30am shift

Sept 20 Thursday 4-5:30pm shift

Sept 30 Sunday 6-7:30am shift

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

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

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

By-Laws – Janice Baker

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

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

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

Education and Website – Steve Hanley and Carolyn Fortuna

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

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

Event Sponsored by SDRA— Judy Colaluca

                                                                                                Bargain Buyer, May 2018


Fundraising

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

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

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

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

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

Non-Herbicide — Carolyn Fortuna

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

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

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

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

Herbicide — Deb Silva

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

GoFundMe site— Marissa and Dennis Danville

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

Keech Pond Liaison – Rico Colaluca

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

Lake Management Plan – Art Searle

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

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

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

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

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

Nomination and Elections – Rico Colaluca and Steve Hanley

The following position is up for election for SDRA:

  • Director (3 year) position   

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

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

Save the Lakes – Judy Colaluca

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

Final Thoughts

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

Judy

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

December 2017 SDRA Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

December, 2017

www.sanddamreservoir.com

Board of Directors’ Updates

Officers’ Updates

President- Judy Colaluca

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

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

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

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

Vice President- Carolyn Fortuna

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

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

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

Happy holidays to you and your cherished ones.

Secretary – Mary O’Keeffe

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

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

Treasurer-  Eric LaRiviere

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

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

Best regards to you and your family.

Continue reading “December 2017 SDRA Newsletter”

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Quarterly Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

September, 2017

www.sanddamreservoir.com

Officers’ Updates

President

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

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

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

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

Judy Colaluca

Vice President

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

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

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

— Carolyn Fortuna

Secretary

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

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

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

Mary O’Keeffe

Committee Chair Updates

Boat Greeter Program

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

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

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

– Mary O’Keeffe

Events with SDRA — Weed Harvesting

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

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

 

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

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

Lake Management Plan

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

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

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

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

— Art Searle

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

— Judy Colaluca

Final Notes from our President

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

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

Judy!

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.

September, 2016 SDRA Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

www.sanddamreservoir.com

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September, 2016

The Suction Harvester Has Arrived!

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

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

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

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

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

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

President’s Message

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

Thank you everyone!!

Judy Colaluca

Treasurer’s Update

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

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

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

Dues payments can be sent to:

SDRA, PO Box 284, Chepachet, RI 02814

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

Carolyn Fortuna

Sand Dam Day

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

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

Milfoil Disposal

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

milfoil

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

2016/2017 Officers

President  Judy Colaluca

Vice President  Lynn Kohanski

Treasurer  Carolyn Fortuna

Secretary  Mary O’Keeffe

Directors: Marissa Danville, Eric Lariviere, Brian Sirois

Lake Management Team

Art Searle, Chairman

Dave Morin

Dennis Danville

Sam Hawk

Mary O’Keeffe

Rico Colaluca

 

Please contact Officers or Lake Management Team with questions or comments

 

June 2016 SDRA Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association

June 2016 Newsletter

www.sanddamreservoir.com

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Board of Directors’ Updates

President’s Update

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

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

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

— Judy Colaluca

Secretary’s Update

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

– Mary O’Keeffe

Treasurer’s Update

Quarterly Overview

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

Wine Tasting Fundraiser at the Purple Cat Vineyard and Winery

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

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

Dues and Membership

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

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

Annual Day of Service: Application Pending

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

Future Fundraising

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

—  Carolyn Fortuna

Committee Reports

Boat Greeter Program

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

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

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

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

—- Mary O’Keeffe

Drawdown

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

— Judy Colaluca and Art Searle

GoFundMe Site

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

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

— Marissa and Dennis Danville

Keech Pond

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

— Rico Colaluca

Nomination and Elections

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

Rico Colaluca and Steve Hanley

Save the Lakes

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

— Judy Colaluca

Website and Education

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

—Steve Hanley and Carolyn Fortuna

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