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

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

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”

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

On Saturday, April 8, 160 friends of Sand Dam Reservoir Association (SDRA) gathered at Bella’s Restaurant in Pascoag, Rhode Island to share a meal, sample a selection of fine wines, and dance the night away. What a fun night it was! And it was the most profitable fundraiser that we at SDRA have ever held. Thanks so much to everyone who contributed to this fabulous event.

The well-lit room was filled with round tables at which 10 or 11 guests were seated. As the board planned the event over the past few months, we never hoped we would get such a turnout! Sarah, the banquet coordinator at Bella’s, was so helpful as our guest list expanded. We appreciate everything she and the large Bella’s staff did that evening to make us feel so welcomed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September, 2016 SDRA Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

www.sanddamreservoir.com

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September, 2016

The Suction Harvester Has Arrived!

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

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

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

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

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

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

President’s Message

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

Thank you everyone!!

Judy Colaluca

Treasurer’s Update

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

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

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

Dues payments can be sent to:

SDRA, PO Box 284, Chepachet, RI 02814

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

Carolyn Fortuna

Sand Dam Day

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

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

Milfoil Disposal

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

milfoil

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

2016/2017 Officers

President  Judy Colaluca

Vice President  Lynn Kohanski

Treasurer  Carolyn Fortuna

Secretary  Mary O’Keeffe

Directors: Marissa Danville, Eric Lariviere, Brian Sirois

Lake Management Team

Art Searle, Chairman

Dave Morin

Dennis Danville

Sam Hawk

Mary O’Keeffe

Rico Colaluca

 

Please contact Officers or Lake Management Team with questions or comments

 

December 2015 Newsletter

Sand Dam Reservoir Association Newsletter

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www.sanddamreservoir.com

Hello from our SDRA President, Judy Colaluca

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

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

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

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

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

Updates from our Treasurer, Carolyn Fortuna

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

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

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

Notes about the Drawdown from Judy Colaluca and Art Searle

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

Upcoming Events Sponsored by SDRA from Judy Colaluca

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wish us luck on December 8 during our GLT presentation…

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

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

Checking in with Save the Lakes from Judy Colaluca

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

 

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