Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter | April, 2019

Officers’ Updates

President

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SDRA keeps moving on!

Judy Colaluca

Vice President

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

— Carolyn Fortuna

Secretary

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

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

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

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

– Mary O’Keeffe

Treasurer

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

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

–Marissa Danville

Director’s Update

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

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

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

Hope to see you there.

–Eric LaRiviere

Committee Updates

By-Laws

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

– Janice Baker

Bella’s Wine Dinner

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

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

Vegetarian and gluten-free options available.

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

– Marissa Danville and Eric LaRiviere

Annual Earth Day Cleanup

Membership Update

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

— Marissa Danville and Carolyn Fortuna

Boat Greeter Program

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

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

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

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

– Mary O’Keeffe

Drawdown

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

— Art Searle

Education and Website

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

— Carolyn Fortuna

Herbicide Fundraising

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

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

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

— Deb Silva and Cleo Monti

Non-Herbicide Fundraising

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Carolyn Fortuna

Nomination and Elections

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

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

Rico Colaluca 603-986-7532

Steve Hanley 401-641-4515

Janice Baker 401-578-2308

Save the Lakes

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

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

~Judy Colaluca  President, STL

SDRA Spotlight on Janice Baker

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

Thank you, Janice, for all you do!

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

–Judy Colaluca

January, 2019 SDRA Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

January, 2019

www.sanddamreservoir.com

Officers’ Updates

President- Judy Colaluca

Happy New Year, Sand Dam Reservoir Association!

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

Thanks to all our SDRA members, Judy

Vice President- Carolyn Fortuna

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

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

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

We appreciate you! Carolyn

Secretary- Mary O’Keeffe

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

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

Fundraising: Annual Bella’s Wine Dinner

Eric LaRiviere and Marissa Danville

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

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

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

Fundraising: Updates for Herbicide Spot Treatments

The Herbicide Committee

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

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

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

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

Checks should be made out to SDRA and mailed to:

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

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

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

— Deb and the Herbicide Committee

Fundraising: A RI Foundation Grant Application

The Non-Herbicide Committee

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

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

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

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

Sincerely, Judy

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

Boat Launch Greeter Program

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

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

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

Bi-Annual Dam Cleanup from Judy Colaluca

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

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

Keech Pond News — Rico Colaluca

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

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

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

Save the Lakes Looks Ahead at 2019 Judy Colaluca

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

Want to Know More about SDRA? Visit our Association Website

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

Spotlight on Carolyn Fortuna

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

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

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

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

Final Thoughts — from President Judy Colaluca

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

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

October, 2018

www.sanddamreservoir.com

Officers’ Updates

President

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Judy Colaluca

Vice President

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

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

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

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

Cheers,

Carolyn Fortuna

Treasurer

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

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

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

Thank you!

Marissa Danville

Lake Management Committee: Goals for 2018-2019

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

Here are those submissions.

Drawdown

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

Herbicide Committee

Hello SDRA Members,

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

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

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

Sincerely,

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

Keech Pond Liaison

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

Thank you,

Rico Colaluca

Lake Management Plan

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

All the best,

Art Searle

Lakesmart RI Pilot Project

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Carolyn Fortuna

Save the Lakes

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

Judy Colaluca

Water Testing

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

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

Deb Silva, URI Watershed Volunteer

Lake Management Chair

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

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

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

Aaron Colaluca

 Sand Dam Fall Cleanup Sponsored by SDRA

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

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

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

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

Special Recognition of a Sand Dam Reservoir Sub-Committee Chair

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Judy Colaluca

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

SDRA April, 2018 Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

www.sanddamreservoir.com

April, 2018

Officers’ Updates

President- Judy Colaluca

Again, the members of SDRA have come together to pursue avenues to control the invasive weed milfoil growing in our lake. As we know, there are landowners favoring herbicide and those who are opposed to applying chemicals. SDRA now has two committees.  Both committees are willing to work hard to fund their beliefs. Both committees report directly to the Board of Directors. I have the privilege of being a member of both committees. Moving forward, everyone is striving to reach SDRA goals. Join the Committee of your choice.

The Wine Tasting Dinner at Bella’s Restaurant on April 14th is almost a Sold Out event! Very few tickets are left. This is sure to be a great success again this year!  Thanks to ALL who organized and planned this fundraiser. Get your tickets before they are gone!

Due to litter concerns expressed by SDRA at Town Council meetings, Glocester will be celebrating Earth Day on April 21st with a town wide clean-up. Thank you, Councilwoman Pat Henry for supporting this effort! Mark this date on your calendars. More information to follow.

Special Recognition of a Sand Dam Reservoir Association Member

There are many, many folks who deserve to be recognized for their dedication to OUR beautiful Smith and Sayles Reservoir. In future newsletters, I will be recognizing a person who willingly gives time and effort to SDRA. Mike Benoit follows in his predecessor, Dave Morin’s, footsteps. He is always willing to go to the dam and/or the gatehouse to make water level adjustments. Sometimes he just knows what needs to be done, and, at other times, Mike is only a cell phone call away. Mike works with his son or other members of SDRA to insure the lake levels are adjusted for our constantly changing New England climate.  

Thank you, Mike, for all you do!!

Vice President- Carolyn Fortuna

On a raw and blustery day in early March, I represented SDRA and Save the Lakes at the Land and Water Conservation Summit (LWCS) at the URI/ Kingston campus. The Summit is an annual day-long conference that brings together representatives from land trusts, watershed organizations, and municipal conservation commissions for a day of learning and networking. What a wonderful day it was!

I was surrounded by 300 area individuals who are concerned about protecting our region’s lands and waters. Keynote speaker Gus Seelig, who is executive director of the  Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, talked about “Building Community Through Conservation: Lessons from 30 Years.” I attended the Watershed Organizations’ Meeting and heard about the restoration project taking place on the Wood-Pawtuxet River, where dam alterations, sediment solutions, and riparian changes are encouraging  the return migration of alewife (blue herring). (You can learn more about this process of repairing 300 years’ worth of anthropogenic influence through dam removal here.)

The LWCS lots of hands-on workshops designed to enhance technical and organizational effectiveness. You can read articles I wrote about the conference by clicking through these links: “I Know We Can Make It: Clinging To Conservation Progress In Hard Times” and “Mashup Messaging: How To Create Effective Climate Change Communication.”

Thanks very much to Save the Lakes for sponsoring my attendance at the Land and Water Conservation Summit. It was so great that I think we should send a team from SDRA next year!

Secretary- Mary O’Keeffe

Your SDRA Board has been busy, meeting monthly to work on behalf of the Association to protect and preserve our beautiful lake. I feel privileged to work with the dedicated individuals who you have elected to serve.

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about the concept of Resilience, the ability to thrive and flourish in the face of adversity. Two factors that promote Resilience are a sense of community (social connectedness) and environmental engagement. It seems to me that being an active member of SDRA is a perfect recipe for Resilience, and I hope you will make a point of actively participating in the various efforts to protect and preserve the lake.

Fundraising efforts are underway to raise money for the chemical treatments that a majority of members voted in favor of as a strategy to control invasive milfoil. Those of us opposed to chemical treatments are engaged in fundraising efforts to support non-chemical strategies such as the suction harvester and a Lake-Smart program to promote responsible landscape practices to protect water quality.

In addition to fundraising, members are needed to help with various activities throughout the year (community trash pickups, community weed pulls, working on the suction harvester, working at the boat launch, water quality monitoring, and more). Becoming more involved in SDRA efforts will allow you take an active role in keeping our lake beautiful, and it will also help to make you more Resilient – a win-win!

Director’s Updates

Director– Marissa Danville

Do you ever stand on your docks and look out and around at our beautiful lake? Because I sure do. With spring upon us it’s like the lake and trees are awakening. You can hear the water flowing once again, the birds chirping, the frogs croaking, the occasional plop of a fish jumping out of the water, and soon the turtles will be back. Last month, I had the pleasure of capturing a picture of this stunning bald eagle flying overhead. The wildlife around here is remarkable. We work hard to preserve our lake for ourselves and our neighbors (people and animals alike) and I want to thank you for all that you do to protect our environment. I look forward to enjoying this season out by the water’s edge or on the lake and I hope to see you there sometime. See you at Bella’s!

Committee Updates

Boat Greeter Program – Mary O’Keeffe

Soon we will be getting the list of 2018 fishing tournaments being held on Smith & Sayles reservoir. One important effort to reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species is the Boat Greeter and Voluntary Inspection Program. Since 2012, I have coordinated our volunteer Boat Greeter program to educate boaters about the importance of proper boater hygiene in preventing the spread of invasive weeds.

Smith & Sayles has had problems with invasive milfoil for years. During summer 2017, invasive inflated bladderwort was also identified in our lake.  American lotus, curly-leaf pondweed, fanwort, spiny naiad, and water chestnut are among the other invasive plants that have been found in nearby lakes – we don’t want them in our beautiful lake!

Over the past 6 years we have talked to hundreds of boaters and inspected hundreds of boats. On average, about 20% of the inspected boats have plant material that could be an aquatic invasive. Our goal is to develop a partnership with the people who visit our lake, educating boaters about best practice in cleaning boats and equipment, and performing inspections to identify and remove aquatic hitchhikers. We need your help!

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

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

Drawdown – Judy Colaluca and Art Searle

Mother Nature conspired to end our drawdown in early March with deluge after deluge and northeaster after northeaster. Maintaining a low lake level became impossible, and the temperatures were just too warm to freeze milfoil. Earlier in the winter, though, we did have freezing conditions where the lake bed was exposed as visualised in the following chart.

While there may have been more incidences of the average temperature being less than 32 degrees, we recorded ten days where the lake bed was not covered by snow and the average temperature was 32 degrees or colder.

The next visualization of our drawdown records shows the average temperature and lake depth during the critical cold weather months of November through February.

In February, executive board and lake management team members met with Chuck Horbert, of  RI DEM. Chuck is in charge of freshwater wetlands permitting. We met with Chuck to discuss the possibility of increasing our permitted drawdown depth from 54 inches to 60 inches. As a result of the discussion, the idea of applying for a greater drawdown depth has been tabled, primarily due to permitting and engineering costs, data suggesting an undesirable impact on the lake’s fish population, and the less than optimal chances such a permit would be granted.

We look forward to continuing drawdowns as recommended by the lake management plan and are eager to observe the effects of our most recent drawdown on our milfoil mitigation efforts. For additional information, please refer to our Lake Management Plan.

Education and Website – Steve Hanley and Carolyn Fortuna

We currently have 367 followers of the Sand Dam Reservoir website. When you follow the site, you get an immediate notification of a newsletter. The site has been handy recently for communication with DEM, reference to by-laws, and acknowledging our mission statement for possible funding sources. Soon we’ll be posting the 2018 RI Bass Association calendar of visits to Smith & Sayles Reservoir, and that calendar provides us with a schedule for the 2018 SDRA Boat Greeter program.

Quarterly SDRA newsletters are an integral part of education/ website, as they offer our members the opportunity to receive an overview of recent happenings. These planned periodic updates also respect the expressed membership desire to limit the amount of SDRA notifications sends.

As a final education and website note, please send us any pictures of waterfowl, wildlife, or natural phenomenon — we’ll make sure to put it on the website. Send these to schanley45@gmail.com.

Events Sponsored by SDRAEric LaRiviere and Marissa Danville

Please join us on Saturday, April 14, 2018 for an evening of delicious foods, interesting wines, energizing music, and wonderful conversations at our annual fundraiser at Bella’s Restaurant in Pascoag, RI.

Kevin Kitson of Chepachet Village Wine and Spirits will again provide his guidance and expertise as we sample a variety of wines, which will be matched course-by-course with dishes specially designed for the event by the chefs at Bella’s. (Vegetarian options are available, too — just notify the person who sold you the tickets.) Entertainment from Black Tie Affair, which was such a big hit last year, is sure to make the evening memorable. This year’s Silent Auction led by our Board Member, Marissa Danville, has many desirable baskets and gift cards already (please feel free to offer a donation, as we can certainly fit in more items.) An ever-popular 50-50 raffle is another way that our fundraising team is working to do everything we can to provide fundraising options to SDRA in our fight to mitigate invasive species on Smith & Sayles Reservoir.

The Bella’s Wine Tasting and Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. For more information, contact Judy Colaluca or Eric LaRiviere.

Fundraising — Two Committees with One Focus: Mitigating Invasive Species

Non-Herbicide: A team of interested SDRA members has been meeting through an conference call method since late 2017. Working together online allows us to get input from individuals who may not be able to be together in Rhode Island at the same time. During one call, we had call-in’s from Florida, Wyoming, South Dakota, and RI! Here’s what we’ve been doing.

  • January: We applied for the “Five Star & Urban Waters Restoration Program” made available through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Our proposal was titled, “Lakeside Buffer Community Collaboration Project.” In essence, SDRA would be the pilot site for a project that will inform and educate property owners how to design aesthetically-pleasing water/ land interfaces that do not feed and sustain invasive weeds. The project is part of a larger effort across RI inland watersheds to mitigate and control invasive plants. Save the Lakes is our supporting organization.
  • February: We seriously considered applying within the EPA Environmental Education Grants Program, which was seeking grant proposals to support environmental education projects that promote environmental awareness and stewardship and help provide people with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment. However, after spending several hours on the grant application, we agreed that the grant was meant for a much bigger organization with full-time employees and associated legal checks-and-balances.
  • March: We’ve decided to approach more local sources, so volunteers are looking to the Champlin and Rhode Island Foundations to assess possible funding interest. The Non-Herbicide group now has two teams so best investigate and, possibly, apply for grants.

Longtime non-herbicide committee members are Connie Worthington, Michael Carley, Judy Colaluca, and Carolyn Fortuna. Recent additions to the committee are Marissa Danville, Terry Tulles, and Sharon Heone. If you’d like to be part of this worthwhile committee, contact chair Carolyn Fortuna: c4tuna31@gmail.com.

Herbicide: The Herbicide Committee team is up and running. We have asked Solitude Lake Management to be in charge of administering herbicide treatment to 46 acres at a cost of $10,500. A  DEM Permit has been sought. The team, which includes Deb Silva, Cleo Monti, Ray Theriault, Judy Colaluca, and Jason Dionne, is looking at a variety of fundraising options to finance herbicide applications as a way to mitigate invasive species on Smith & Sayles Reservoir.

GoFundMe Site— Marissa and Dennis Danville

If you are unable to attend the wine tasting at Bella but still want to contribute, you are more than welcome to donate on our GoFundMe page. Please also feel free to share this with family and friends.

www.gofundme.com/sanddamri

Fundraising is a significant part of our overall budget; when it comes to caring for our lake, we need your help. Thank you!

Keech Pond Liaison – Rico Colaluca

The Gatehouse located on Keech Dam is now closed and the Pond is full, so there is water flowing into Smith & Sayles Reservoir from Keech Pond. Our lake is now rising due to this infusion of water plus the precipitation from the winter season’s storms.

Nomination and Elections – Rico Colaluca and Steve Hanley

Members are encouraged to contact Rico or Steve if you wish to nominate yourself or another member to serve as an officer or on the board of directors. Our annual meeting in June will be here before you know it.

Save the Lakes – Judy Colaluca

Save The Lakes is busy planning the annual Spring Event. More information will be sent to you. There are many activities being planned for the warmer weather. Earth Day is approaching and children are making posters depicting the best ways to take care of freshwater here in Rhode Island. Join Save The Lakes and work to improve all freshwater in Rhode Island.

Final Thoughts from our SDRA President

Thank you to all who serve SDRA in so many different ways — your time and efforts are always appreciated. I am so fortunate to work with you. See you at our Wine Tasting Dinner on Saturday, April 14, 2018.

Think Spring,

Judy

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.