Richmond Pond Association Copyright 2013. Richmond Pond Association. All Rights Reserved.
2014 & 2013 Minutes of the
Richmond Pond Association
(The most recent minutes of 2014 appear first)
Richmond Pond Association Minutes - October 28, 2014
Directors Present: Ken Kelly, president (independent cottages); Kitty Levitan, vice president (Whitewood); Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Matt Kerwood (Richmond Town Administrator); Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield); John Hultman (Camp Marion White); John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp)
Alternates Present: Louise Brogan (Branch Farm); Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores); Frank Ostrander (Camp Russell); Bill & Judy Powers (South Pond)
Directors Absent: Cathy Deely, secretary (South Pond); Terry Hughes (Camp Russell); Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores)
Alternates Absent: David Harte (Camp Russell); Jesse Kellam (Lakeside Christian Camp); Deborah Mansfield (Camp Marion White); Jim Mooney (Camp Russell); Jack O’Brien (Branch Farm); John O’Brien (Branch Farm); Stevan Patterson (Richmond Shores); Mary Miller (South Pond); Al Nardacci (independent cottages); Herb Zweig (Richmond Shores)
Guests: Suzanne Smiley (Girl Scouts of Central & Western Mass.); Linda Kay (Richmond Shores & former RPA President); Wendy Lauren; Holly Stover (RPA founder); John Keenam (Richmond Land Trust); Richard Stover (Richmond Land Trust); Paula Patterson (Richmond Shores); Nanci McConnell (Richmond Land Trust); John Mason (Richmond Land Trust)
Opening items – Quorum was confirmed. Guest Suzanne Smiley (chief operating officer, Girl Scouts of Central & Western Mass.) was introduced & all present introduced themselves. Minutes of 9/23/14 were approved with one amendment – one sentence in the announcement about purple loosestrife was amended to read, “Last week, volunteers from RPA attempted to remove all of them, first cutting off & bagging the tops (containing the seeds), & then attempting to remove the root systems.” One agenda item was added – Announcement about tributary testing in the rain.
Treasurer’s report – Carl reported that the federal and state annual reports for fiscal year 2013-2014 have been filed and accepted. Contributions so far this fiscal year are $7,205 vs. $7,608 for the same period last year. Balance in all accounts is $26,697, including $8,700 in the dam maintenance account. Annual dues have all been paid in full.
Light pollution remediation -– John M. provided an update on remediation of the outdoor lighting at Lakeside Christian Camp. They have repositioned the security lights, & are turning some lights off when no campers are present, but the baffles that had been ordered arrived but were deemed inadequate. More robust baffles are being ordered that should fully shield the lights from the lake. A Richmond Shores resident asserted that the camp is not compliant with Richmond and Pittsfield lighting codes. John responded that he believes they are compliant, given certain state exemptions for religious organizations, but is making every effort to be a good neighbor. John again offered his phone number to be called directly if anyone has issues. The item was tabled for further review after the baffles are installed.
List of office & cell #’s for key camp staff, community association presidents, & RPA officers – Ken passed around a draft list for any corrections (two were made); this was prepared as decided at last month’s meeting. The list will be shared with community association presidents, camp directors, and the officers of the RPA, to facilitate communication in between RPA meetings. Everyone should have already received by email on 10/22 the separate updated contact list of RPA directors and alternates; it is also posted on the website.
Enhancements to town beach & boat launch ramp – Matt K. provided an update on plan development. He has received a contract from the state, but the funding level has not been finalized, so the parameters of the enhancements to the town beach & boat launch area, especially the storm water management system & paving approach for the boat launch parking lot, have not been finalized; a picnic area may also be set up at the launch area. Matt reported that improvements to the town beach could include picnic tables, barbeque grills, a shelter to house composting toilet facilities, and tree work. Linda Kay reminded all that trees were recently planted, funded by a Section 319 nonpoint source state grant. It is expected that the plan will be submitted and approved by the end of this year, before Governor Duval Patrick’s term of office expires.
Special Town Meeting actions on proposed Richmond Shores zoning changes – Matt M. reported that all the proposed changes in the Warrant were adopted. It has been submitted to the Attorney General’s Office and he expects state approval within the next 30 days.
Approval of tentative RPA meeting schedule for 2015 – The following schedule - all 4th Tuesdays – was approved: 4/28, 5/26, 6/23, 7/28 (annual meeting), 8/25, 9/22, 10/27.
Camp Marion White - Girls Scouts proposed divestiture – As a follow up to concerns recently expressed at RPA meetings about the future of Camp Marion White, Ken reported that he met on October 13 with Suzanne Smiley, Chief Operating Officer of Girl Scouts of Central & Western Mass., at her Holyoke office. At that meeting, he shared a letter, parts of which he read at today’s meeting. Their meeting was very cordial & collaborative, and she offered to attend today’s RPA meeting.
Ms. Smiley then provided background on the research done by their property committee that resulted in the proposed divestiture of Camp Marion White. She reviewed the history of Camp Marion White, including the gradual drop-off in usage until 2010, when they ceased offering an overnight camp program. Scouts, parents & volunteers have expressed concerns about safety, as there is no onsite manger living there. Vandalism has also been a problem. The Girl Scouts have attempted to keep the camp active for day use, even providing bus service. Camp Marion White usage was compared to that of their Camp Bonnie Brae in East Otis. Bonnie Brae remains very active, in part for two reasons - an onsite manager lives on the premises, & that camp is the oldest Girl Scout camp in the country, in use since 1919.
The property committee has recommended to their membership and to the board of directors that Camp Marion White be divested, and membership comment is currently being solicited. The board is scheduled to vote on November 19. If their decision is to divest, Suzanne would have the task of obtaining an appraisal, & once obtained, listing the camp with a realtor for sale. This process would probably not be completed until after the holidays.
She stated that one of the goals of the Girl Scouts is to “Use Resources Wisely.” She further stated that while her hope is that a solution can be found that conserves the property, they cannot give the property away, as they need to realize a fair return on their investment to help support the rest of their operation. Her task will be to entertain all offers, whether from private parties, agencies, or community groups, which might include the Town of Richmond, land trusts, state agencies, etc. She then asked for questions and comments from those present.
Holly Stover described the local history since her family and friends have been involved with Camp Marion White since 1948. Her main point was to find a way to keep the property as an open resource for the public. Paula Patterson agreed with Holly, and asked whether a recreational use zoning overlay might be possible. Matt Kerwood responded that the underlying minimum 2½ acres residential zoning (with 250 minimum frontage on an approved road) would still be in place for that property.
Another attendee asked if our governor could help with funding for the town. Matt responded that the governor is in his last days in office, and therefore not able to help. He also mentioned that the appraisal may be quite high, suggesting that the town might not be able to make a competitive offer.
In his role as Town Manager, Matt expressed interest in the property to replace the current town beach, perhaps also offering camping and other amenities as a town park. There are some town funds reserved in a conservation budget that the town could vote to use to help with a purchase. Ken suggested that the Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC), a county-wide land trust, could be very helpful, as it has experience in brokering conservation land deals by partnering with sellers of special properties and state agencies such as Fish & Wildlife, other land trusts, & private donors to conserve lands with high conservation values. Suzanne stated that she was very open to overtures from such groups.
The consistent opinions expressed at today’s meeting were to find a way to see this property put to good use for the public rather than sold for private development. It was mentioned that the Girl Scouts website does have names of board members listed, so individuals could reach out to them to share their suggestions.
Jim McGrath suggested that a formal letter should be written from RPA to Suzanne Smiley sharing our concerns and suggestions. This was moved, seconded & approved. Ken will write & send such a letter.
Ken passed around maps showing the 29 acre Girl Scouts property to the west of Swamp Road and the 21 acre property to the east of Swamp Road (mostly beaver ponds). He had previously shared by email a partial summary of the history of the Camp Marion White properties, which he had prepared. In closing this segment of the meeting, Ken thanked Suzanne for coming, sharing what was happening, & hearing our suggestions. She said she would be sharing with the Girl Scouts executive committee what happened at this meeting, & thanked us for our interest & ideas. We then turned to the rest of our agenda.
Winter projects – Volunteers were identified as listed below to work on each of the following projects; the first-listed person will serve as convener:
Ken suggested that there may be some winter executive board meetings, & one or more winter RPA meetings may be scheduled if needed. Periodic updates, especially with regard to Camp Marion White, will be sent to those on the RPA website subscriber list.
Learnings from the 9/13/14 LAPA-West Fall Symposium – In the interest of brevity at today’s meeting, Ken suggested that written summaries of the sessions that he & Carl attended be provided as an attachment to the minutes of today’s meeting. Feel free to share them with others as appropriate. Sessions attended included Creating Native Shoreline Landscapes that are Easy on the Eye and Great for the Environment; Managing Massachusetts’ Only Zebra Mussel Lake (Laurel Lake); Unpaved Road Maintenance Best Practices; & Runoff Remedies for Lakes and Ponds.
Possible opinion survey – Jim McG. commented that the RPA has been quite proactive recently, with more robust participation, and feedback has been generally supportive. He therefore suggested that we wait until we have a draft update of our lake management plan, and solicit reactions to that as a feedback mechanism. (See related item below under Observations & Concerns.)
Review of July annual meeting – The plan for 2015 to keep the annual public meeting as part of our regular July meeting was approved. Other 2014 annual meeting content will be reviewed next year as we plan the 2015 annual meeting.
Observations & concerns:
The meeting adjourned at 7:00 PM.
Richmond Pond Association Minutes - September 23, 2014
Directors Present: Ken Kelly, president (independent cottages); Kitty Levitan, vice president (Whitewood); Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Matt Kerwood (Richmond Town Administrator); Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield); John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp); John Hultman (Camp Marion White)
Alternates Present: Jesse Kellam (Lakeside Christian Camp); Bill & Judy Powers (South Pond); Louise Brogan (Branch Farm); Herb Zweig (Richmond Shores)
Directors Absent: Cathy Deely, secretary (South Pond); Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores); Terry Hughes (Camp Russell)
Alternates Absent: Frank Ostrander (Camp Russell); David Harte (Camp Russell); Jim Mooney (Camp Russell); Deborah Mansfield (Camp Marion White); Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores); Stevan Patterson (Richmond Shores); Jack O’Brien (Branch Farm); John O’Brien (Branch Farm); Mary Miller (South Pond); Alex Nardacci (independent cottages)
Opening items – Quorum was present. Minutes of 6/24, 7/22 & 8/26/14 were approved. Updated list of directors & alternates was distributed & a correction was made to Jesse Kellam’s email address. New alternates Bill & Judy Powers (South Pond) & Louise Brogan (Branch Farm) were introduced. Ken encouraged those who have not yet joined the website subscriber list to do so, as they would otherwise not receive minutes. Kitty added 3 additional agenda items – control of geese, new beaver dam in the canal, & cost of water testing for semi-public beaches.
Treasurer’s report – Carl reported that a total of $6,185 in donations has come in since July 1st. Additionally, 70% of the annual dues have been collected since the dues billing in August. Current balances in all accounts total $27,039, over $8,600 of which is earmarked for the dam maintenance fund. Carl has prepared the annual fiscal report which must be submitted to the Commonwealth of MA by 10/31; Ken will review it prior to submission.
Bathymetry (depth mapping of pond) – Ken summarized the proposal received from Lycott Environmental for a late October bathymetric study, at a cost of $3,750. This amount has been included in our budget plan for this year. A motion was made and passed to approve the expenditure of $3,750 for this purpose. It was requested that the resulting map file be shared with the City of Pittsfield, MA Fish & Wildlife, & other such resources. It was also suggested that we explore printing & selling pond depth maps, as a fund raiser. (Update - The signed contract with a 50% deposit was mailed on September 24th.)
Lakeside Christian Camp - strategies to address light pollution concerns – Ken reported that he had met with camp director John Mead & facilities manager Jesse Kellam earlier this month to discuss concerns around the lake about the very bright lighting that was installed at Lakeside Christian Camp last fall. At today’s meeting, John provided an outline of the camp’s mission, year-round activities, its clientele & capacity. He also reviewed their recent problems with theft & vandalism, & explained how the enhanced lighting was installed both as an energy-saving measure & in partial response to the vandalism. In response to the Richmond Shores Association & other neighbors’ concerns about light pollution, he outlined the following remediation response, which is intended to balance the need to safeguard the children and families visiting Lakeside with the maintenance of a pleasant environment around the lake.
All of this is captured in a detailed letter to Richmond Pond Association members, which John distributed to all present. He also encouraged anyone with concerns to contact the camp or him or Jesse directly.
In response to a question about dam maintenance cost support, in the short run they are handling current needs on their own (brush trimming & erosion control with rip-rap). Tapping RPA’s fiscal resources for dam maintenance will be needed, but not this year.
Contact information availability – Sharing of office, home & cell phone numbers of key camp staff was discussed, in order to facilitate direct communications as needed. It was suggested and agreed that office and home or cell phone numbers of key camp staff for the three camps be shared with the four community association presidents as an initial step.
Enhancements to town beach & boat launch ramp – Matt K. reported that preliminary conversations have occurred with the Office of Energy & Environment & the Governor’s office. Mentioned thus far have been possibly enhancing the Town Beach with grills, picnic tables, permanent toilets, & an expansion of the beach itself. Possibilities for the boat launch ramp include enhancing the boat ramp, creating a separate kayak/canoe launching area, & beatification. Dredging to deepen the entry for launching larger boats (something we don’t want) does not appear to be under consideration. It will be a joint project, with the state providing the funding & design services, and the Town bidding out & managing the project’s installation. There will soon be a site visit. When it is scheduled, Matt will invite key players, including someone from RPA. (Update – Ken & Carl plan to attend the site visit on 9/30.)
Algae/pond scum & related treatment options – Matt K. reported that Lycott has provided no related recommendation. Our current order of conditions does not include permission for treatment of algae, though we’ll need to apply for a new order of conditions for next year anyway, so it should include algae treatment as an option. Algae is naturally occurring, varies depending upon conditions, & tends to dissipate as the summer progresses. Spot treatment would be the only approach, so there’d be no lasting impact of treatment. If a significant algae problem recurs, the RPA & the Town would have to assess whether we wished to tolerate it as a nuisance or introduce more chemicals into the lake to address it.
Richmond Shores & other proposed zoning changes – Matt K. shared a summary of the related Warrant with explanations & fielded questions. One intent is to make it easier & less costly for residents to effect repairs & certain enhancements. The Special Town meeting to discuss & act on the changes will be 10/8/14 at 7:00 pm at the Richmond Consolidated School. Following discussion, it was the sense of most of those present that it would not be appropriate for the RPA to take a formal position on the proposed changes.
Tributaries testing results from 9/4/14 & related notifications – Carl shared the results from the 9/4 testing for Total Nitrates, Total Phosphorus & e-Coli. All 4 tributaries & the outlet tested within recommended limits with the exception of the inlet at Richmond Shores, which had an elevated E.coli count of 285.1/100 ml. Levels over 235 are considered unsafe for swimming. Richmond Shores leadership was alerted, but as they don’t have a current email contact list, a related alert notice was sent to all RPA website subscribers on 9/16, with a request that Richmond Shores people alert their neighbors.
Carl reported that a Seechi disk reading (to assess water clarity) was conducted on 9/9 at the pond’s deep hole (56 feet deep). Visibility from the surface was measured at 13 feet, which is less than in prior years, but is clearer than current readings at Pontoosuc Lake, as discussed at the recent LAPA West meeting.
Observations & concerns:
Items tabled for discussion at the October meeting:
Next meeting – Tuesday, October 28, 5:30 pm (last scheduled meeting of the fall)
Richmond Pond Association Minutes - August 26, 2014
Directors Present: Ken Kelly, president (independent cottages); Kitty Levitan, vice president (Whitewood); Matt Kerwood (Richmond Town Administrator)
Alternates Present: Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores); Herb Zweig (Richmond Shores); Frank Ostrander (Camp Russell)
Directors Absent: Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Cathy Deely, secretary (South Pond); Terry Hughes (Camp Russell), John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp); John Hultman (Camp Marion White); Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores); Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield)
Alternates Absent: Susan Benner (Whitewood); David Harte (Camp Russell); Jim Mooney (Camp Russell); Jesse Kellam (Lakeside Christian Camp); Deborah Mansfield (Camp Marion White); Jack O’Brien (Branch Farm); John O’Brien (Branch Farm); Marie Metlay (South Pond); Mary Miller (South Pond); Alex Nardacci (independent cottages)
Opening items – NO QUORUM – In the absence of a quorum (one person short; no representation from Branch Farm, South Pond, Lakeside Christian Camp, or Camp Marion White). While no business was conducted or votes taken, information updates were shared on many items. The new list of Directors & Alternates was distributed & some updates were suggested. Barry Kellogg, a new alternate from Richmond Shores, was introduced. A moment of silence was observed in memory of Peter Bell, former long-time employee & Dir. of Boys’ & Girls’ Club of Pittsfield. Approval of minutes of 6/24/14 & 7/22/14 - tabled.
Review of July annual meeting, & discussion of implications for the 2015 annual meeting - tabled.
Lycott’s assessment for invasive vegetation species & algae/pond scum & related treatment options – Matt summarized the interim vegetation survey report that he had received just today from Lycott. The survey was conducted on 8/6/14. It showed a significant reduction in growth of Eurasian Milfoil. The remaining Milfoil is located in the shallow immediate inflow area of Mt. Lebanon brook (Clark’s Brook), between the launch ramp and town beach. Curly-Leaf Pondweed was neither observed nor recovered by rake-toss. Small patches of two additional invasive species were noted during the survey – European Naiad and Purple Loosestrife. Eleven indigenous aquatic vegetation species were found throughout Richmond Pond, and are itemized in the report.
At this time, Lycott does not recommend a follow-up treatment utilizing herbicides on the remaining Eurasian Milfoil. Lycott instead recommends hand-harvesting the remaining Milfoil in this shallow confluence area. (A post-meeting study of the accompanying charts shows that all the Loosestrife is in the Richmond Shores area, so hand-harvesting by volunteers there appears advisable before it can spread.)
Despite our previous request for sampling & recommendations related to treatment of pond scum, this was not addressed in Lycott’s report.
Death of the lily pads around the lake – Matt shared excerpts from Lycott’s response to our inquiry about the lily pad kill-off, as follows: The Renovate triclopyr systemic treatment product that was applied to address the Milfoil will affect floating-leaved species (White & Yellow Water Lily & Watershield) when applied at concentrations of 1.0 – 2.5 ppm. Based on their experience with this product, systemic (i.e. entire plants [shoots & roots] death) control of floating-leaved species occurs at the upper end of this range. Impacts to floating-leaved species at the lower end of the range, if any, are limited to temporary injury to the plants, which plants can recover from by the next year. Eurasian Milfoil is controlled at much lower concentrations; as such, this year’s treatment triclopyr was applied at 1.25 ppm. The 2014 triclopyr treatment was designed to eradicate/largely reduce the aggressive & widespread Milfoil population, so that a diverse indigenous plant assemblage can reestablish in Richmond Pond. Following treatment, Lycott expects indigenous species, including floating-leaved vegetation, to reestablish in the absence of Milfoil.
Annual fund solicitation letter – Ken reported that 1,017 letters were delivered to post office on 8/14; they included all Richmond residents & prior recent donors from non-Richmond addresses, including South Pond prior donors. An additional 35 letters were distributed to South Pond residents who hadn’t contributed recently. Total cost by Berkshire Printing to print the letters, envelopes & return envelopes, plus bulk rate mailing preparation by ZipnSort plus postage was $1,105.37. Nine contributions have already come in, totaling $775 received by Saturday. Thank you letters are written as donations are recorded & deposited. Some of those present expressed concern, as they had not yet received their letters.
RPA Brochure – Brochures had been mailed in early July to all recent prior donors with the invitation to attend the July annual meeting. (This mailing generated some additional contributions from prior donors.) Brochures are currently available at the Town Hall wall rack & at the new poster & rack at the Richmond Pond boat launch ramp. Possible additional uses were discussed and it was suggested that they be made available at Bartlett’s.
Treasurer’s report – Ken reported, for Carl, that annual 2014-15 dues invoices were mailed on 8/21 to the 4 community associations, 3 camps, & independent cottage owners. The annual $2,000 budgeted earmark for the dam maintenance fund was transferred by Carl to that dedicated account, bringing its total to over $8,000. Current balances in all accounts total $21,868 with no outstanding debts.
Bathymetry (depth mapping of pond) – Ken reported that he has communicated with Lycott and received a contract for the study. If funding of $3,750 by RPA had been approved today, they would schedule the study (which requires 2 days on the lake & follow up analysis & reporting) for late October, weather conditions permitting. Action on this item was tabled for lack of quorum.
Process for designation of Alternates & their roles was reviewed by Ken. There are no RPA criteria for who may serve as a Director or Alternate for each camp or community association. It is up to the discretion of those entities.
Light pollution update - Lakeside Christian Camp – Several of those present reported that the glare & light trespass from the camp’s new lights continue to be a problem, both for them and their guests (and impacted wildlife). John has informed Ken that another effort to redirect the lights will occur within a couple of weeks. This will be revisited at next month’s meeting.
Richmond’s 250th anniversary event – Based on prior discussions with Camp Russell staff, those present today, with Frank’s concurrence (representing Camp Russell), agreed that RPA & Camp Russell would collaborate to provide free boat tours around the lake with historical scripts for tour guides, on June 21, 2015. Matt indicated that he will inform the anniversary planning committee of our selected activity.
Changes to process for tributaries monitoring – Ken shared, for Holly & Carl, a summary report on changes to the process for tributaries monitoring, focusing on following similar practices in use at other area lakes, including Onota Lake. We’ve periodically tested 4 tributaries for the presence of a variety of measures. Changes included collecting 24 to 48 hours after heavy rain events, & narrowing the tributaries testing to Total Nitrates & Total Phosphates, at a cost per site of $72. E-Coli could be added for $25/site, but may be redundant as e-Coli is tested weekly during summer at our public & semi-public beaches.
Water Testing Protocol – Ken reported that Richmond Shores has closed their unused beach & has been testing the main one all summer. Whitewood’s leadership recently indicated that they were unaware of the beach testing requirement, & have therefore not been testing their beach, but are studying how to proceed.
LAPA-West Fall Symposium – Sat., Sept. 13, 8 am to 12:30 pm – Berkshire Community College. There is no charge to attend, as we are members. Directors & Alternates are encouraged to attend. At least Carl, Ken & Kitty plan to attend. Barry & Frank asked to be added to the LAPA-West contact list; Ken will add them.
Noise pollution from InterPrint plant - update - Ken reported that the “listen test” from the lake should happen later this week when the “offending” noise-generating equipment is in use; he is to be informed when it’s in use. Their own tests indicate that after the remedies were installed, decibels at the source are 78 (down from 114) and decibels at the edge of the InterPrint roof nearest Richmond Pond are zero (down from 76). Ken has been informed that there are exhaust fans on the lake side of the building that run very infrequently, only during high heat & humidity, that will generate noise toward the lake, but not to the extent of the other source. These fans are almost never used once the very hot weather is over. They are always turned off on weekends, as the plant doesn’t operate on Saturday or Sunday.
Siltation runoff from Camp Russell – update – Frank reported that he & Peter Killeen (Branch Farm), as well as Carl Foote had walked the field & runoff area after a heavy rain. Their assessment indicated that runoff into the catch basin & swale at Branch Farm is coming from 5 different sources, some of which are not from Camp Russell property. Frank is investigating how to extend the drainage ditch & create a low berm to re-direct more of the flows from Camp Russell to the south.
Camp Marion White activity update – No update, except that Ken reported that a state-wide group of Ukrainian Scouts utilized the Camp there for a week in early August, their 11th year in a row of doing so. Others noticed a group there earlier in summer.
Fish testing request was submitted by Ken in July to Dept. of Environmental Protection for fish testing in 2015 for contaminants (especially Mercury)
Matt summarized highlights of proposed Richmond Shores zoning changes, which will be discussed at a Planning Board public hearing on Sept. 8, 6 pm, at Town Hall. The Richmond Shores Civic Assn. has reviewed and has endorsed the proposed changes. The changes recognize the “non-complaint” nature of most of those properties, and are expected to ease the process for making routine repairs.
Matt reported that the Town Beach closed for the season on 8/17 due to lifeguard unavailability. However, on good weather days the gate will be opened, but any swimming will be at your own risk. It was noted by attendees that on some good weather days before the closing date, the gate was closed during the day. In response to a question, Matt clarified that the Highway Dept. is the entity responsible for opening & closing the gate.
Matt reported that the Ramp Monitor Program ends this weekend, but boaters must still self-certify on a clean boat form before launching.
Matt shared that he had recently received a call from Governor Patrick's Chief of Staff, Rick Sullivan, informing him of some great news. State funding has been earmarked for improvements to the Richmond Town Beach & the Richmond Pond boat launch ramp. Details about draft plans to enhance both areas should be forthcoming soon.
Woofstock (dog walk) to benefit Berkshire Humane Society, Sun., Sept. 14, 11 am, Camp Russell with pancake breakfast 8-11 am, registration 10 am, more details at: berkshirehumane.org/events/woofstock
Observations & concerns:
Items not addressed:
Next meeting - Tuesday, Sept. 23, 5:30 PM
Richmond Pond Association Minutes - Annual Meeting - July 22, 2014
Present: Ken Kelly, president (independent cottages); Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Cathy Deely, secretary (South Pond); Matt Kerwood (Richmond Town Administrator); Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield); John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp); Jesse Kellam (Lakeside Christian Camp); Herb Zweig (Richmond Shores); Marie Metlay (South Pond); John O’Brien (Branch Farm); Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores); Terry Hughes (Boys’ & Girls’ Club)
Absent: Jim Mooney (Boys’ & Girls’ Club); Holly Stover (Branch Farm); Kitty Levitan, vice president (Whitewood); Jack O’Brien (Branch Farm); John Hultman (Girl Scouts); Alex Nardacci (independent cottages); Deborah Mansfield (Girl Scouts); Alan Schneit (Whitewood); David Harte (Boys’ & Girls’ Club)
Guests: Ted Potter, Jeff Sorge, Barry Kellogg, Louise Brogan, Bonnie Drewniany, Susan Portitzky, Jessica Baumgarten, Faye Lessner, Mary Lou and Kris Wechter, Judy and Bill Powers, Pete Killeen
Opening Remarks – Carl welcomed all and introduced the current RPA officers & members of the board. He enthusiastically thanked Linda Kay for her eight years of service, including her service as President.
2013 Review –
Ken summarized major activities:
Ken briefly reviewed concerns:
Question: A concern was raised that runoff from the ball field still seemed to be flowing down into the Branch Farm retention basin. It was agreed that Camp Russell staff & the RPA would follow up & re-assess the runoff situation.
(The board intended for a report to be shared on Lycott’s recommendations regarding the algae/scum problem, but it was not mentioned. It is known that the timing required to obtain the necessary permits for any such treatment would mean that the earliest treatment couldn’t be until 2015.)
2014 Plans – Ken reviewed plans for this year:
Ongoing Concerns – Ken reviewed the following ongoing concerns:
Pittsfield Update - Jim McGrath, Park & Open Space Resource Manager and Pittsfield Harbormaster, reviewed his efforts in working with Matt Kerwood, Richmond Town Administrator – as the Pond has double jurisdiction - to file all applications for lake management. It’s a collaborative effort to manage Onota Lake, Pontoosuc Lake & Richmond Pond, in collaboration with each of the lake & pond associations. City of Pittsfield funds $3,500 for Richmond Pond lake management issues…especially zebra mussel prevention.
Q&A & Community Input
Next meeting with be Tuesday, August 26, 5:30 pm at Richmond Town Hall.
Richmond Pond Association Minutes - June 24, 2014
Present: Ken Kelly, president (independent cottages); Kitty Levitan, vice president (Whitewood); Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Cathy Deely, secretary (South Pond); John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp); Jesse Kellam (Lakeside Christian Camp); Jack O’Brien (Branch Farm); Holly Stover (Branch Farm); John Hultman (Girl Scouts); Herb Zweig (Richmond Shores); Alex Nardacci (independent cottages); Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield)
Absent: Matt Kerwood (Richmond Town Administrator); Deborah Mansfield (Girl Scouts); Marie Metlay (South Pond); Jim Mooney (Boys & Girls Club); John O’Brien (Branch Farm); Alan Schneit (Whitewood); David Harte (Boys & Girls Club); Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores)
Minutes of 4/29/14 & 5/27/14 Richmond Pond Association board approved. John Mead introduced the new property manager for Lakeside – Jesse Kellam.
Scope of Lycott’s systemic weed treatment on Monday, June 23 – Ken reported, in Matt’s absence, that Lycott’s 2nd pre-treatment assessment last week showed that re-growth of the Eurasian Milfoil had increased from 20 to 85 acres. Lycott therefore amended their recommendation to a systemic treatment because of the significant re-growth, so 85 acres were to be treated yesterday with Triclopyr, for Eurasian Milfoil. Jim McGrath clarified that GPS technology used on the boat targets the areas that are to be treated. Matt has requested a map of the treated areas, but he has been assured that all portions of the canal were treated. Notification alerts were made, though some residents were confused, even though the notices all stated that swimming, boating, & fishing were not restricted by yesterday’s treatment. Likely treatment of at least 40 acres for Curly-Leaf Pondweed with Diquat will occur soon, as the Pondweed is not impacted by Triclopyr, but Matt has not yet been informed of a scheduled date; pond closure for 24 hours will likely have to occur at that time.
Lycott’s assessment for algae/pond scum & related treatment options – Ken reported that Matt has asked Lycott for results of their algae sampling yesterday & related testing & their related recommendation. But Matt also shared with Ken that any treatment of algae would introduce another chemical into the pond, with the usual related concerns, & would require submission of a new notice of intent & order of conditions, probably for a 3-year period, so any such treatment would be delayed and is not likely this summer. Treatment options, costs and other issues will be discussed at a future meeting.
Treasurer’s report – Carl reported few expenditures this month; Ken was reimbursed $119.88 for the GoDaddy Website Builder software renewal. As of today, account balances total $21,250, with $6,600 of that earmarked in the dam maintenance fund. In response to a question, the Treasurer reported that excess funds go into liquid assets (CDs).
Adoption of fiscal year 2015 budget – It was approved.
Fiscal Year 2014 Actuals Fiscal Year 2015 Budget
Gifts received $10,170 $12,000
Interest income 21 20
Membership dues 1,860 2,160
TOTAL INCOME $12,051 $14,180
Fees & charges 17 15 Bank Fees
Legal fees 35 35 Annual reporting to MA
Office expenses 327 350 Website/Post Office Box
Postage & Delivery 334 350 Fund Raising
Printing & Copying 861 850
Professional Fees 40 40 MA COLAP
Ramp Monitors 8,172 0 (now paid by Town)
Water Monitoring 1,062 2,000 (500/month)
Dam Maintenance Fund 2,050 2,000
Bathymetry Study 3,750 (Recd by Town Administrator)
Safe Deposit Box 100
TOTAL EXPENSES $12,898 $9,490
Election of officers for 2014-15 - No additional nominations were made, & the slate was elected & approved to take effect at this meeting.
President - Ken Kelly
Vice President - Kitty Levitan
Treasurer - Carl Foote
Secretary - Cathy Deely
The board expressed interest in undertaking outreach to make sure that there are at least 2 members from each organization. Linda will be deleted from the bank signature card and Kitty will be added.
Preparations for July 22nd annual meeting. Previous materials were reviewed and suggestions made for new topics.
Opening Remarks – Carl
2013 Review – Ken
Weed Treatment Update – Matt
Water Testing Update – Carl
Update from Pittsfield – Jim McGrath
2014 Plans - Ken
Ongoing Concerns – Ken
Including weed management, algae/scum, & boating safety
Q&A - Carl
Signs for lake beaches – Kitty reported that the signs, re kayak washing, have been made & she has distributed them around the lake. Funding authorization for fabrication of 8 signs, with posts, for lake beaches - approved reimbursement to Kitty of $167.90.
Funding authorization for updated bathymetry (depth mapping of pond) - Ken reported that he’d discussed possible modified parameters with Matt, & Matt recommended Ken contact Lycott directly, to obtain an additional quote. Lycott’s initial quote was for $3,750, for depth mapping at 5 foot intervals, which would be helpful for fishermen & posting online. But obtaining a quote for depth mapping at one foot intervals for the first 5 feet (shallow areas) could provide us with very helpful data for draw-down management. Ken will contact Lycott for prices for both versions. Tabled until determine new cost, & when it would likely be done.
Review & adoption of recommended changes to By-laws All recommended changes were Approved, with one modification – the threshold for a check requiring 2 signatures will be $500.
Review of draft Water Testing Protocol
Richmond Shores & Whitewood Beach – no detail yet provided.
Are they being tested?
See also new item 12, re proposed revision to MA regulations for beach closures.
Proposed amendments to MA public bathing beach regulations, 105 CMR 445.000; proposed amendment would not close a beach unless samples on 2 consecutive days showed elevated E.coli. levels. Jim had not yet heard anything about implementation.
InterPrint Noise - Ken shared his most recent communication from Bill Hines, Managing Director of InterPrint, regarding their investment of over $7,000 in fixes to reduce noise. They have been very cooperative in response to our concerns. Following installation of equipment and testing of results, targeted for early July, RPA intends to send letter of thanks and invitation to our Annual Meeting.
Watershed mapping to pinpoint possible pollution sources – Jim McGrath reported that more information was needed, including verification of land use, & prioritizing sources of pollution. Jim suggested that a next step might be that he & Matt & several others arrange a meeting with the Richmond Board of Health. Tabled until September meeting.
Lighting concerns emanating from Lakeside Christian Camp - Lights have been repositioned, but are still a concern. John reported that security lights are needed, & they stay on all night, both for safety & since they have experienced some vandalism. Experiments with additional adjustments may be possible.
Fish consumption testing was recommended by Ken, as the fish in the pond have apparently never been tested for Mercury. Approved to submit request to Dept. of Environmental Protection for fish testing in 2015 for contaminants (the deadline for 2014 testing has passed).
Announcements/Odd & Ends:
Next meeting – The annual meeting, Tuesday, July 22, 5:30 pm, Richmond Town Hall. Bring a neighbor!
Richmond Pond Association Minutes - May 27, 2014
Present: Linda Kay, president (Richmond Shores); Kitty Levitan, vice president (Whitewood); Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Ken Kelly, secretary (independent cottages); Matt Kerwood (Richmond Town Administrator); Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores); Holly Stover (Branch Farm)
Absent: Cathy Deely (South Pond); Deborah Mansfield (Girl Scouts); Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield); David Harte (Boys & Girls Club); John Hultman (Girl Scouts); John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp); Maria Metlay (South Pond); Mary Miller (South Pond); Jim Mooney (Boys & Girls Club); Al Nardacci (independent cottages); Jack O’Brien (Branch Farm); John O’Brien (Branch Farm); Alan Schneit (Whitewood); Herb Zweig (Richmond Shores)
Guests: Stevan Patterson (Richmond Shores); Arnold Pizentini (Committee to Request Special Town Meeting to Discuss & Vote on Resolution to Ban Pipeline); Brian Kelly (independent cottages)
NO QUORUM - Partway through the meeting, it was questioned whether we had a quorum. It was determined that we did not, either then or at the beginning of the meeting. Despite having 10 persons present, we need a minimum of 5 of the 8 constituencies (4 community associations, 3 camps, & independent cottages) represented to meet quorum. We only had 4; none of the camps were represented. Therefore, while some items were discussed as noted below, no binding actions could be taken & all action items must be revisited at the June meeting.
Minutes - No changes were suggested to the minutes of 4/29/14.
Richmond Annual Town Meeting pond-related budget outcomes – Linda & Ken reported that at the May 21 Town Meeting, all four pond-related items were approved - $5,000 for Richmond Pond lake management, $10,685 for Town Beach; $20,000 for summer boat ramp monitors; and $100,000 for Richmond Pond weed control. Matt M. & others noted that this is a major sea-change from years ago when efforts to receive small amounts met with opposition. The RPA, throughout its history, with Matt K.’s help more recently, should be credited for facilitating this change over time.
Pre-treatment weed assessment – Matt reported on the results of Lycott’s May 20th weed pre-treatment assessment, which indicated only 20 acres of Milfoil & 40 acres of Curly-leaf Pondweed. Lycott has therefore recommended we NOT do the systemic treatment this year & again do the contact herbicide treatment of these 40 acres.
Weed treatment plan for summer 2014 – Matt reported that, consistent with Lycott’s recommendation, the plan is to treat with contact herbicide Diquat, at a cost of about $180 per acre x 40 acres = $7,200, paid for by the Town, tentatively some time the week of June 22, though consultation with Conservation Commission needs to occur first relating to the switch back to a contact treatment.
Several related questions were asked:
Treasurer’s report – Carl reported that all annual dues for 2013-2014 have been received. As of today, account balances total $21,254.17, with $6,674.20 of that earmarked in the dam maintenance fund.
Updated fiscal year 2014-15 budget – Carl summarized the budget he presented last month, with proposed revenues of $14,180 and expenditures of $9,490. Tabled.
Signs for lake beaches about kayak washing – Kitty reported on her research – Plastic laminate signs, size 12”x18” would be $16.50; 18”x24” signs would be $22.00. Posts would cost $3.00. Matt recommended a different vendor with aluminum signs, which are more durable. Preference was expressed to go with the smaller plastic laminate signs this year.
Depth mapping study – The estimate from Lycott for conducting updated bathymetry (depth mapping of pond) was $3,750, perhaps more if additional parameters were added. Matt indicated that the Town had no plans to conduct such study, but RPA could go forward with it depending upon interest. In response to a question it was noted that it could be helpful both for fishermen and for analysis of which parts of the lake would be drained at different draw-down levels, as precise management of drawdown levels is difficult. More study of the options appears warranted before committing to fund such a study.
Rejuvenation of old (2nd) kiosk at boat launch – After discussion, the consensus was that since this kiosk is owned by the RPA, rejuvenation should be a project of the RPA - a volunteer work day?
Tennessee Gas Pipeline Project – Guest Arnold Pizentini, of the Committee to Request a Special Town Meeting to Discuss & Vote on Resolution to Ban Pipeline), summarized pipeline plans & encouraged Richmond residents to sign the petition to request a special Town Meeting. A presentation on the pipeline plans, & pros & cons, is 7:00 pm, June 4, at Richmond Consolidated School. More information is available onwww.nofrackedgasinmass.org.
Election of officers - Tabled.
Resignation of President – Linda Kay submitted a resignation letter from the position of president, effective today. The group thanked her for her 8 years service & leadership on the RPA. As vice president, Kitty assumes the leadership of the RPA until elections for 2014-2015 officers can be held.
By-Laws Changes – Most suggestions by the committee were enthusiastically supported, especially the creation of alternate directors. Suggestions were made relating to checks requiring co-signatures (perhaps reducing the co-signature requirement threshold from $1,000 to $500), & possibly redefining quorum.
Water Testing Protocol – Questions about the draft focused on vendors available to take samples & conduct the analysis, for beaches as well as tributaries.
Preparations for July annual meeting – Ken shared a draft handout that might be used, entitled, What Does the Richmond Pond Association Do? Reactions were positive, including conversion into brochure format. Preparations at next month’s meeting will focus on updating the PowerPoint used last year.
Bathing beach regulations – Matt & Ken shared the state-proposed amendments to MA public bathing beach regulations, 105 CMR 445.000. The MDPH Bureau of Environmental Health has proposed amendments since 80% of e-Coli “exceedances” are transitory (bad one day, OK the next), so many beaches are now being closed when they are in fact healthy. If proposed changes are approved at the state level, posting/closing of a beach would only to be required if 2 samples on consecutive days show elevated bacteria levels (w. some exceptions). The change is targeted to take effect June 2014.
Town 250th anniversary activity – A brief discussion included possible events that RPA might sponsor, both as part of the anniversary & annually, though we’d need to be careful to support & not compete with the efforts of the Town’s Recreation Committee.
Watershed mapping to pinpoint possible pollution sources - next steps? – Tabled.
All other announcements were tabled:
Next meeting: Tuesday, June 24, 5:30 pm – Richmond Town Hall
Richmond Pond Association Minutes - April 29, 2014
Present: Linda Kay, president (Richmond Shores); Kitty Levitan, vice president (Whitewood); Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Ken Kelly, secretary (independent cottages); Matt Kerwood (Richmond Town Administrator); Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield); Cathy Deely (South Pond); David Harte (Boys & Girls Club); John Hultman (Girl Scouts); John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp); Al Nardacci (independent cottages); Holly Stover (Branch Farm)
Absent: Deborah Mansfield (Girl Scouts); Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores); Maria Metlay (South Pond); Mary Miller (South Pond); Jim Mooney (Boys & Girls Club); Jack O’Brien (Branch Farm); John O’Brien (Branch Farm); Alan Schneit (Whitewood); Herb Zweig (Richmond Shores)
Guests: Ron DeAngelis (Board Member, Boys & Girls Club); Frank Ostrander (Property Manager, Boys & Girls Club)
Welcome back - Linda called the meeting to order & welcomed everyone back. Ken reported that Dorothy Walchenbach has resigned from the RPA, as she’s moved to Florida full-time after Roy passed away in the fall. A moment of silence was observed in memory of Roy.
Minutes – The minutes of 11/12/13 were approved with one amendment, to the Additional budget concerns item on page 3. That item referenced the lack of acknowledgement in Town documents, especially the Richmond master plan, of the value of Richmond Pond as a Town resource. That will be corrected by adding the following note - NOTE – Following today’s meeting, subsequent review of the Community Development Plan for the Town of Richmond, prepared in 2003 by the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, confirmed that the plan explicitly refers to Richmond Pond as a town resource for recreational uses and habitat values, & the multi-million dollar sanitary sewer system project around the lake was initiated with that in mind, “to prevent water quality degradation in Richmond Pond.” Also, the Richmond Pond Association was involved in & is explicitly referenced in that study.
Several related suggestions were made. As Richmond’s long term planning committee develops a marketing plan for Richmond, explicit reference to Richmond Pond as a resource should be included. An invitation to that committee should be extended to ask them to send representative(s) to our annual meeting to ensure they are updated on the status of the pond. It was also suggested that we seek a community member for the RPA from the Richmond Recreation Committee.
Communications with Natural Heritage – Ken & Matt reported that a written communication was received by email on 2/7/14 in response to our 9/12/12 & 10/10/12 & subsequently repeated requests for a response. The response was less prescriptive than we had hoped, & essentially posed 10 specific questions that would need to be answered before a request for a deeper drawdown could be considered. Some we already have answers for, but others would appear to require substantial expenditures of time &/or funds, with no assurances that other expectations might not crop up subsequently that would constitute additional expense items. Also, based on interactions to date, coupled with the recent documentation of bridle shiners in the pond, it appears unlikely that Natural Heritage would approve a deeper drawdown. It is the assessment of the RPA officers and others that further exploration of a deeper drawdown not be pursued at this time. However, two of the strategies, arranging for an updated bathymetry (pond depth study) & conducting watershed mapping to identify point sources of pollution, may be helpful in enhancing the health of the pond & should be explored.
Weed treatment post-treatment update (conducted by Lycott on September 24, 2013) – Matt reported that Lycott’s post-treatment report on the results of the summer 2013 weed treatment documented that the summer 2013 contact herbicide treatment appears to have been very effective. Ken shared additional detail from that report - the overall density & distribution of M spicatum (Milfoil), was reduced from 74 acres moderate to dense, pre-management, to zero acres post-management, with 2.3 acres sparse to moderate & 5.5 acres trace. The P. crispus (curly-leaf pondweed) was reduced from 2 acres dense, pre-management, to .02 acres trace, post-management.
Systemic weed treatment plan – A one page summary of Lycott’s 5-year treatment plan was distributed, with attention drawn to “year 2” of the plan (2014). Matt outlined the treatment plan for summer 2014, which, depending on the outcome of the May pre-treatment assessment to be conducted by Lycott, would expend up to $100,000 for systemic treatment of up to 100 acres for Eurasian Milfoil with Triclopyr herbicide. Unlike the contact treatment, which kills only leaf matter, the systemic herbicide kills the root systems of the Milfoil, so is much longer lasting. Possible spot-treatment may also be needed of up to 20 acres with Diquat herbicide, for Curly Leaf Pondweed & European Naid, since neither is susceptible to Triclopyr. Matt has placed funding for this on the Town Warrant, Article 20, which reads: “To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $100,000 for a systemic weed treatment and related activities within Richmond Pond. (Approved by the Finance Committee).” Matt clarified that, even if the funding is approved, if Lycott’s pre-treatment assessment determines that little re-growth of Milfoil has occurred, we’d switch to the less expensive contact treatment for this year.
Boat launch monitors - Matt reported that he has also requested $20,000 for the boat launch monitor program (Town Warrant Unclassified, Line item #87, formerly labeled Richmond Pond Weeds.) Both items are to be voted on at the Annual Town Meeting, which has been rescheduled for May 21. So if both items are approved at Town Meeting, RPA would not be asked to provide partial funding for either program this year.
Discussion then followed about how to educate & encourage pond-area residents to attend the Annual Town Meeting & vote in support of both these items, as the Town Warrant is no longer mailed to residents (though it is posted on the Town’s website). Ken will prepare a related flier; Linda will distribute it to Richmond Shores mailboxes; Kitty will distribute it to Whitewood Association mailboxes.
Treasurer’s report – Carl provided several financial handouts. The current RPA accounts total $20,971.50, of which $6,674.20 is earmarked in the Dam Maintenance Fund. RPA dues collected for the 2013-2014 fiscal year total $1,860; all members have paid except Lakeside Christian Camp. Combined with donations of $10,170 & interest of $21, income received to date for the fiscal year totals $12,051. Expenses to date total $12,898; the largest item was $8,172, our partial support of the summer 2013 boat ramp monitor program.
Development of fiscal year 2014-15 budget – Carl shared a draft budget for 2014-2015, projecting total income of $14,180 (membership dues of $2,160, donations of $12,000, & $20 interest). Total projected expenses total $9,490. Major changes are zero funding for ramp monitors, $3,750 for a possible bathymetry study, and $100 for a safe deposit box for our fiscal records. It was noted that the draft budget may require amending depending on the outcomes of Lycott’s pre-treatment study in May and vote outcomes on the pond-related items at the Annual Town Meeting. Both should be known by our next meeting on May 27.
Camp Russell ball field drainage – David Harte, Dir. of Operations & Interim Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Pittsfield, introduced Frank Ostrander, Property Manager. Frank had supervised the installation in the fall of the 300 foot drainage remediation culvert at the old ball fields. In response to the RPA’s expressed concerns that the drainage system appeared to have been installed with improper piping, Frank brought with him & passed around a section of the “slit piping” that was used (instead of the old “holed” type of drainage piping, which tends to clog) in conjunction with wrapping & gravel, & explained how their testing shows that runoff now flows away from the pond toward the swamp to the south. He & David invited RPA members to inspect the installation at any time following a rain to allay any remaining concerns. The RPA expressed appreciation for their remediation of the runoff & siltation that had been flowing into the detention basin & the pond, and for their follow-up clarification to us in response to our expressed concerns. Linda & Ken will collaborate on writing a “closure letter” to the Boys & Girls Club, for sharing with their board. David indicated that he would be representing the Boys & Girls Club on the RPA, going forward. He also announced the appointment of Terry Hughes as the new Director of the Boys & Girls Club.
Nominations of officers – The following nominations were made for 2014-15 officers:
President - Ken Kelly
Vice President - Kitty Levitan
Treasurer - Carl Foote
Secretary - Cathy Deely
At the May meeting, following any additional nominations, voting will take place for officers. The sentiment appeared to be that, once elected, the new officers would assume their roles at the beginning of the June meeting. Ken reminded the group that our By-laws prohibit the same person from serving simultaneously as president & secretary, but if elected president, he’d be glad to continue to manage the RPA website unless someone else expresses interest in doing so.
Distribution of recommendations from By-laws revision committee – Ken thanked Kitty, Carl & Holly for their work over the winter on developing recommendations for updating the By-laws. Two documents were distributed – a “track changes” version of the By-laws with proposed changes in red, and a “Notes on Possible Changes” document that articulates the rationale for each proposed substantive change. All were asked to study these in advance for discussion & possible adoption at the May meeting. In response to a question about major changes, the creation of “alternate director positions” was highlighted, as a strategy to reduce the likelihood that a quorum cannot be achieved, increase the likelihood that each constituency will be represented, create additional roles to enhance the number of people actively participating in the RPA, & foster new leadership.
Distribution of draft Water Testing Protocol - Jim McGrath & Ken distributed the draft document that they had developed, with input from Corrinn Shogry, Senior Sanitarian from the City of Pittsfield Health Department. No response had yet been received from the 2 beaches at Richmond Shores & the Whitewood Association beach. Several corrections were suggested for the draft, & it will be further discussed at the May meeting.
Signage for lake beaches other than Town Beach, re kayak washing, etc. – Kitty reported that such signs should go up soon, as folks will be launching car-top boats from beaches & shorelines around the lake. Kitty & Ken will develop language for the signs, & Kitty will submit a request for custom sign fabrication, through Matt, to Gerald Coppola at the Richmond Dept. of Public Works.
Possible RPA sponsorship of a Town anniversary celebration event for the June 21, 2015 – Tabled until next meeting.
Next meeting: Tuesday, May 27, 5:30 pm, Richmond Town Hall – Agenda items will include discussion & possible adoption of By-laws changes, election of officers, & beginning preparations for the annual meeting in July.
Year 2013 Minutes
Richmond Pond Association Minutes - October 8, 2013
Present: Linda Kay, president (Richmond Shores); Kitty Levitan, vice president (Whitewood); Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Ken Kelly, secretary (independent cottages); Matt Kerwood (Richmond Town Administrator); Cathy Deely (South Pond); John Hultman (Girl Scouts); Holly Stover (Branch Farm); Herb Zweig (Richmond Shores)
Absent: Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield); John Mead (Lakeside Christian); Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores); Maria Metlay (South Pond); Mary Miller (South Pond); Jim Mooney (Boys and Girls Club); Al Nardacci (independent cottages); Jack O’Brien (Branch Farm); John O’Brien (Branch Farm); Alan Schneit (Whitewood); Dorothy Walchenbach (Richmond Shores)Guests: Jeff Konowich, Richmond Recreation Committee
Linda called the meeting to order.
Minutes - The minutes of the 9/10/13 meeting were approved.
Scum proliferation strategy & water testing updates – Holly reported that she and Ken had sampled water at 5 locations today (4 tributaries & the outlet at the dam), after yesterday’s heavy rain. She has not yet been able to contact the new LAPA-West lake steward to solicit suggestions on additional water testing sites. Holly reported that the total Phosphorus levels at all the tributaries on her 7/22/13 testing date were excessive; on this testing date, all the tributaries were also very high in total coliform, though the E-Coli levels were all below the swimmable threshold of 235 (the inlet was the highest, at 210). John Hultman reported that the Girl Scout beach water test results on 8/29 had spiked well-above acceptable E-Coli limits, so they closed their beach at that time. The proliferation of geese &/or runoff from the beaver dam are the likely suspects for the E-Coli. Holly mentioned that the current tributary testing protocol we use could perhaps be updated to more closely mirror that used by other area lakes, to eliminate some tests & thereby reduce our related expenses.
A discussion then followed about the need for an updated protocol for informing others if any of the beaches or tributaries yield unacceptable levels of E-Coli, as many residents swim at their own nearby shores – not at the town beach or other “official” beaches. It was suggested that Premier Labs in Lee, John Olander - the Richmond Board of Health Agent, Matt and Holly should collaborate to develop a protocol that could quickly generate alert messages to those who live around the lake, via a subset of Richmond’s reverse-911 alert system, if unacceptable levels of E-Coli are detected anywhere on the lake. This protocol should also identify who is testing which beaches, & how often, as it appears South Pond’s beach is not being tested by anyone.
That alert system could perhaps be coupled with alerts to those signed up as subscribers to the RPA website, though efforts to encourage more residents around the lake to subscribe is advisable. Posting a summary of water testing results on the website was suggested, as that could help educate people about patterns.
Camp Russell runoff concerns - Holly reported that she and Ken had visited the old ball field site today, & the new French drain appears to have been constructed incorrectly. A solid drain pipe rather than a perforated one appears to have been used, so that no water drains into it & none drains out the end. The area at the “lower” exhaust end of the pipe was totally dry this morning, after yesterday’s heavy rain. A next step appears to be a call &/or letter from Linda to Peter Bell to request that they have their contractor return to re-do the project this fall with a proper pipe.
Holly also reported that while the detention basin on Camp Russell property appears to have been partially cleared of gravel & mud, it needs more attention - its stand-pipe was still obscured & covered with mud, and both the basin and the rip-rapped swale below it leading to the lake need to be cleared of leaves & branches. The drop-inlet below the dining hall also appears to be clogged with leaves, & needs more regular attention.
Kayak Race - Carl provided background on possibly adding a kayak/canoe component to the Run to the Beach on Father’s Day 2014 (June 15), as a way to increase the RPA’s visibility to the local community. He introduced guest Jeff Konowich, chair of the Richmond Recreation Committee, who expressed openness to such an event. Discussion followed, which gravitated to a sense that the events should probably be separate events, on the same day, but could utilize the same event marketing & sign-up system. Start and finish for the kayak race would likely be the boat launch ramp, to ensure clean-boat certification, & there might be several competition categories, perhaps by age. But some felt that this should be a billed as a paddle, not a race. Jeff will share our potential interest in piggybacking on the Father’s Day event with the Recreation Committee, which was to meet the following evening. He will solicit reactions & get back to us.
Final report/request for funding for 2013 boat ramp monitors – Matt K. reported a total program cost of $17,672, all labor @ $9.50/hour for monitors or $10/hour for the monitor/site supervisor, less $6,000 from MA state grant and $3,500 from City of Pittsfield. The balance of $8,172 is requested from RPA. This is within the “up to $8,500” that was approved by the RPA in June. A motion was made & approved to donate $8,172 to the Town of Richmond to help defray the 2013 monitor program costs.
Treasurer’s report & fiscal year 2013-14 budget – Carl presented a draft budget depicting prior year 2012-13 actual income & expenses, & current year 2013-14 projected income & expenses. Last year’s expenses totaled $14,051.01 (the largest item was support of ramp monitor program at $8,590), total income of $9,301 ($2,100 in membership dues, $7,144 in gifts received, & some interest); this resulted in an overall budget deficit of $4,749.61.This year’s income received to date is $8,280.30 ($1,530 in membership dues, $6,750 in gifts received, & some interest), with additional income expected. This year’s expenditures/commitments to date total $11,976.43 (the largest item is support of ramp monitor program at $8,172), with additional expenses expected. Projected budget deficit is $3,696.04. Carl reported a current balance of about $25,000 in our reserves, counting the moneys in the dam maintenance fund, but prior to payment of $8,172 for the ramp monitor program. The budget for 2013-14 was approved.
Rejuvenation of pond stickers art competition project – Linda described the process used in the past & volunteered to reach out to the Richmond School principal & propose the art competition, with a $50 prize to go to the winner. It was suggested that the winning art go onto magnets rather than stickers.
Weed treatment – Matt reported that he still has not received the post-treatment report from Lycott.
Winter draw-down plans – Matt reported that the winter draw-down will start Nov. 1, with a 2 foot +/- drawdown.
Meeting schedule for 2014 – Ken proposed a draft schedule for 2014 meetings, all Tuesdays, 5:30 pm, at Richmond Town Hall. Concerns were expressed that our current meeting time isn’t working, as we bump up against the Conservation Commission meeting that follows, & rarely have time to finish our business (see items not addressed listed below). It was suggested that Ken explore alternative meeting times, including 3rd or 4thTuesdays, 3rd Wednesdays, and 3rd Mondays, at Town Hall. Another option might be the conference room at Richmond School – the Recreation Committee meets there on 2nd Wednesday evenings, though there would likely be an associated expense.
Next Meeting – Given the number of agenda items not addressed today, it was decided that we will meet on Tuesday, November 12. Ken will reserve the room.
The following agenda items were not addressed due to lack of time:
Other leadership & membership recruitment strategies; future leadership planning – Linda
Noise pollution from InterPrint plant – (BACKGROUND NOTE - Ken visited the InterPrint plant on 9/19 with Bill Hines, Managing Director, Dave Murray, Technical Manager, & Ben Kline, Maintenance Manager. They toured the plant and area outside. The plant operates 24/7 from 7 am on Monday through 7 pm on Friday with 3 shifts; it also operated this summer for about a month on Friday nights. It is closed on weekends. At the tour’s conclusion, we agreed that a next step would be to assess whether the drone noise, which could be coming from one of several sources (air intake fans, Nitrogen tank, etc.) at the plant, is also obvious on the lake on weekends. I subsequently determined that it is, and I communicated that to Bill on 9/30. He asked for a couple of weeks to figure out the source.)
Concerns about methodology for distributing minutes – (BACKGROUND NOTE - Readership of the minutes, now distributed via email blast to the 26 website subscribers, is low – averaging 46% since the April launch of website minutes distribution. Readership varies – it was 39% for the 8/13 minutes, 58% for 9/10 minutes. Some members of the RPA rarely read them, so some designated follow-ups don’t happen.) Remedies should be explored.
Signage for lake beaches other than Town Beach, re kayak washing, etc. - Kitty
Report on communications with Natural Heritage (& Lycott?) re clarification of expectations for future deeper draw-down; next steps to shake loose a response – Matt K. & Linda
Announcements not made:
- Results of DCR divers Richmond Pond check for zebra mussels – Jim McG.
- Common loon & heron mortality & MA ban on use of lead sinkers & jigs – Ken
- Boating & Swimming Safety poster developed – Ken
- Rejuvenation of old (2nd) kiosk at boat launch – Matt, Ken
- Deborah Mansfield, Girl Scouts, to be added to RPA (but retain John Hultman)
Next Meeting – Tuesday, November 12, 5:30 pm, Richmond Town Hall
Richmond Pond Association Minutes - September 10, 2013
Present: Kitty Levitan, vice president (Whitewood); Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Ken Kelly, secretary (independent cottages); Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield); Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores); Jim Mooney (Boys and Girls Club); Jack O’Brien (Branch Farm); Holly Stover (Branch Farm); Dorothy Walchenbach (Richmond Shores); Herb Zweig (Richmond Shores)
Absent: Linda Kay, president (Richmond Shores); Matt Kerwood (Richmond Town Administrator); Cathy Deely (South Pond); John Hultman (Girl Scouts); John Mead (Lakeside Christian); Maria Metlay (South Pond); Mary Miller (South Pond); Al Nardacci (independent cottages); John O’Brien (Branch Farm); Alan Schneit (Whitewood)
Guests: Eileen & George Greene of South Pond Farm
Kitty called the meeting to order & chaired the meeting, in Linda’s absence.
Minutes - The minutes of the 8/13/13 meeting were approved.
Boating & swimming concerns - Guests Eileen & George Greene of South Pond Farm expressed several concerns that they recently observed, including leaking gasoline from a pontoon boat (unidentified) & from a ski boat originating from Lakeside Christian Camp. Another concern raised was inattentiveness of boat drivers to swimmers. A discussion of boating & swimming safety ensued, which included safety measures that anyone swimming away from the shoreline should take to enhance their visibility to boaters. It was agreed that Ken would contact Lakeside Christian about their ski boat, a segment about boating & swimming safety should be added to the RPA website, & a similar notice should be posted on the boat launch ramp kiosk. The Greenes were thanked for bringing their concerns to the RPA.
Leadership & membership recruitment & leadership transition planning – A variety of strategies for leadership/member recruitment were shared, including the logic of encouraging a relative “youngster” to take on the website enhancement & maintenance role, & making outreach invitations to the boat ramp monitors & to organizers & participants in the upcoming Josh Billings Run-a-ground race (many of whom practice on area lakes & ponds, including Richmond Pond). Adding an RPA-sponsored kayak/canoe component to one or more of the 5K races hosted at Richmond Pond, especially the town- sponsored father’s day race, was also suggested to raise the public profile of the RPA. Kitty shared Linda’s regrets about her absence this evening & her assurances that she will be back with us next month. Several members shared observations from the recent LAPA-West meeting that many such organizations seem to be attracting mostly retirees or near-retirees to serve on boards.
Weed treatment update – In his absence, Matt K.’s email report was shared. This spring's treatment was done in accordance with the newly adopted 5-year lake management plan. It was a contact application which only kills the weeds it comes in contact with. While folks have expressed concern over the amount of weeds in the pond this year, we should remember that the contact application we have been doing will never kill all the weeds, and late season weed growth will always be an issue as long as we only use a limited approach to weed management. That is why the management plan calls for a more comprehensive approach, including the use of a longer acting herbicide. This would be the approach that I would be looking to take for next spring's application. However, our current contract with Lycott will expire at the end of this year and we will need to send out a new RFP. In the new RFP, I will be seeking a three year contract as a way to bring us most of the way through the 5-year management plan. More discussion on this matter will be required before any RFP is drafted and released.
Scum proliferation in shallows – Carl shared a spreadsheet depicting data on tributary water testing results, and reported that the total Phosphorus count on 7/13/13 at the inlet at Richmond Shores was 10 times larger than in prior years. We had heavy rains this spring, with larger than normal runoff; the magnitude of the change is a concern, and likely contributed to the algae bloom this summer.
As a follow-up to the 8/29 caucus about the scum proliferation that Matt M. organized at Carl’s cottage, a consult with Lycott about this problem was arranged for 9/7/13 at the LAPA-West workshop at BCC. Carl provided advance information to Lycott about our tributary testing results and maps showing the tributaries & scum proliferation areas. Kitty, Carl, Matt M., & Jim McG. attended the LAPA-West workshop and received the following recommendations from Lycott:
- Conduct tributary water sampling after a heavy rain.
- Designate 4 more water testing sites, including the dam, with some testing sites in deep water.
- Plan for possible copper sulfate treatment for the algae (this would require Conservation Commission approval & would need to be incorporated into the RFP for weed treatment).
Holly will organize another testing of the tributaries for the 3rd week of September, and will explore with the LAPA-West lake steward where the additional testing locations should be. She will also arrange for a training session in spring for additional tributary water samplers.
Boys & Girls Club runoff concerns – In response to the RPA’s 8/5/13 letter of concern to Peter Bell, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Pittsfield, a letter was received by email from Peter Bell dated 9/4/13, outlining a remedial plan & a timetable. The letter states in part,
“Detention basin – Clearing of this area has already begun and it will be cleaned out and put back together.”
“Old ball field - It is our plan to put a French drain at a 45 degree angle across the low end and continue it beyond the point we discussed. We believe this will help right away, as we continue to resolve the run off issue. Secondly we will begin filling the low spots throughout the field to prevent pooling. Thirdly we will begin building a swale at the low point, however to what extent will be determined by the effectiveness of steps one and two. This work should be completed by the end of Sept. or early Oct. weather permitting.”
Carl & Jack both reported that related construction activity is already underway on the old ball fields.
Initiation of By-Laws revision process & next steps – Ken referred to the previously distributed 8/13/13 list ofPossible Amendments to RPA By-laws. Ken and Holly, and any others who wish to volunteer, will work over the winter on developing draft language for amendments, which will be presented to the RPA in spring for consideration.
Rejuvenation of pond stickers art competition project – Since no one present volunteered to take this on, it was tabled for reconsideration at the next meeting.
Summer boat ramp monitors – Matt K. reported by email that the ramp monitor program has concluded for the year. All and all he thought it went well, however he recognizes that a bit more training may be required next year. Alan has been reviewing the log and will have a report for Tuesday's meeting (Alan did share that). As with years past, 99.9% of the boaters know the rules and comply. Only one boat was turned away this year. Once he has completed all the payroll sheets, Matt will contact Carl to discuss the RPA’s financial assistance to the program. Matt sees no reason not to continue the program next year.
Report on communications with Natural Heritage re clarification of expectations for future deeper draw-down & next steps – Matt K. emailed that he had nothing new from them to report.
Treasurer’s report – Carl reported a balance of $26,000 in all accounts, with the receipt of $6,550 in donations since July 1. Member dues collection is at 70%, with payment by Richmond Shores and Lakeside Christian Camp still outstanding.
Adoption of fiscal year 2013-14 budget – Tabled to the October meeting, when Carl will present a draft budget. It was suggested that this be our first agenda item.
Concern about noise pollution from vicinity of InterPrint plant – Several members expressed concern about the constant drone of noise, audible from many locations on the lake, especially noticeable at night, that has been originating from the vicinity of the InterPrint plant. Ken volunteered to make a visit to the plant, meet with someone there to express our concerns, hopefully identify its source, and begin an exploration of possible remedies.
- Jack reported that he’d contacted the Girl Scouts, and Debra Mansfield, operations manager for the Girl Scouts (and a Westfield State College professor in Holyoke), is designated as and is willing to serve as the new Girl Scouts representative to the RPA. Ken will contact her to obtain her email address and suggest sign-up as a website subscriber.
- Jim McG. reported that DCR divers are scheduled to inspect Richmond Pond this month for the presence of zebra mussels; he will check on when that is to occur & will let us know.
- Ken reported on learnings from the boat safety checks conducted in July by Berkshire Sail & Power Squadron. PFD’s (real life preservers) are required for each occupant, in addition to a throw-able preserver or cushion; a horn or whistle is also required, and if operating at night, the boat must carry 2 flares.
Website status report – Ken reported 6,585 website page hits to date, 179 in the last 7 days. We have 26 active website subscribers, plus 7 others in the process of signing up.
Next meeting – Tuesday, October 8 (the last regularly scheduled meeting of season)
Richmond Pond Association Minutes - August 13, 2013
Present: Kitty Levitan, vice president (Whitewood); Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Ken Kelly, secretary (independent cottages); Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores); Maria Metlay (South Pond); Mary Miller (South Pond); Jack O’Brien (Branch Farm); Alan Schneit (Whitewood); Herb Zweig (Richmond Shores)
Absent: Linda Kay, president (Richmond Shores); Matt Kerwood (Richmond Town Administrator); Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield); Cathy Deely (South Pond); John Hultman (Girl Scouts); John Mead (Lakeside Christian); Jim Mooney (Boys and Girls Club); Al Nardacci (independent cottages); John O’Brien (Branch Farm); Holly Stover (Branch Farm); Dorothy Walchenbach (Richmond Shores)
Kitty called the meeting to order and chaired the meeting, in Linda’s absence.
Minutes - The minutes of 7/9/13 and the minutes of the 7/16/13 Annual Meeting were approved.
Evaluation of annual meeting & related follow-ups – Discussion noted that attendance was low (18) on a hot evening, and only 5 attendees were not members of the RPA, so it felt like we were “preaching to the choir.” But it was also noted that the meeting fulfilled the requirement to hold an annual public meeting, helped us review prior year activity, summarize current efforts, & establishing goals for following year. Discussion at the meeting also generated strong momentum for coaching the Boys & Girls Club to examine, plan and implement corrective measures for erosion control at Camp Russell. A motion was made & approved that, for next year, our regular July meeting will be merged with the annual public meeting; it was acknowledged that planning for it will need to begin earlier.
Fund-raising letter update – Kitty & Carl reported that the fund raising letter mailing to all Richmond homeowners (909 pieces) went out bulk rate by 7/31/13. Cathy Deely distributed letters to all South Pond resident mailboxes (Pittsfield addresses). Carl & Ken also addressed & mailed, on 8/2/13, additional letters to 78 non-Richmond residents who were on the donors list from the last few years. The cost of the mailings totaled $1,195. Since July 1, donations received thus far (35 checks & one PayPal contribution via Internet) total $4,110, and responses are still coming in.
Treasurer’s report & invoices for annual dues – Carl reported that invoices for annual dues for the 2013-14 fiscal year were mailed or distributed today. This month’s outflows totaled $1,755, including the cost of the annual mailing and lab fees of $452 for analyzing the first batch of water monitoring samples collected at the tributaries. He has not yet received a bill from Matt for our support of the boat ramp monitors, but we can expect that after the end of the season. Total balance in all accounts is currently $22,094, including the $4,491 in the dam maintenance fund.
Communications with Boys & Girls Club about Camp Russell runoff concerns – Jack, Ken, & Carl reported on their meeting held August 5 at Camp Russell with Peter Bell, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club; Linda and the Camp Russell facilities manager also attended. The letter of concern from the RPA dated 8/5/13, with the attached page of annotated photos, was hand-delivered to Mr. Bell and discussed. We all then walked the primary area of concern on the old ball fields. Mr. Bell identified a tentative remedial plan, and will be following up with a letter to the RPA by September outlining that strategy and a completion timetable. Mr. Bell also committed, at our request, to share the RPA letter with all members of his Board of Directors. The letter and photos have also been shared with all members of the RPA, and for informational purposes, with the Richmond Conservation Administrator. While last year’s Branch Farm/RPA outreach to Mr. Bell did not result in any action, Jack, Ken, & Carl reported that the 8/5/13 letter & meeting appears to be catalyzing remedial action this summer or fall.
Scum proliferation in shallows – Matt M. shared his assessment that the pond appears to be in its worst condition this summer in 15 years, especially in the shallows on the north and west sides of the lake, with proliferation of large scum clumps, more weeds, & expanded lily pads. Dead weed leaf matter on the bottom is also a problem, making swimming nasty in many areas. Weeds are up to the surface in some areas, impacting boating. Carl reported that he’d contacted Matt K. several weeks ago, & sent a picture of the scum clumps, which was sent on to Lycott. Lycott responded with a diagnosis of a filamentous algae problem, likely caused mostly by the July heat – a problem being experienced this summer at other area lakes. While it could be treated with algaecide, Lycott indicated that colder weather & rain will reduce the algae. Carl reported that the scum problem appears to be mitigating, at least somewhat, or dropping to the bottom. Others reported scum clumps on the south side of the lake & elsewhere in spring, mitigating or dropping to the bottom by around mid-July, but still present.
Matt M. distributed copies of “Phosphorus Effects in a Lake,” an excerpt from Volunteers Guide for Surveying a Lake Watershed – Preparing an Action Plan, a 2001 publication of MA DEP. Initial follow-up actions are that Matt M. will contact Jim McGrath to see if Onota & Pontoosuc Lakes are experiencing similar problems, & if so, what remedies are being tried. Kitty will contact Matt K. to inquire about post weed treatment assessment by Lycott. Ken will contact LAPA-West to see if other Berkshire ponds are experiencing similar problems & possible remedies. Matt M. volunteered to meet soon with others concerned about the weeds to compare notes & plan strategies; Matt will generate an email to RPA members with a date, time, & location for that meeting.
Weed treatment update – No report (Matt K. & Jim McG. both absent)
Summer boat ramp monitors – No report. But a concern & questions about monitor training were raised.
Concerns about car-top boats – Kitty reported that Whitewood is preparing a letter for cottage owners to share with their guests & renters about “good neighbor” behavior expectations, & will include a statement about the need to appropriately clean any car-top boats that are brought in, to prevent the spread of invasives, especially zebra mussels. The other associations and the camps are requested to likely inform guests & renters. A special concern was raised about users of the Girls Scouts property, which appears to have minimal monitoring but many boats being brought in without using the boat launch ramp. Jack will reach out to the contact for the Girl Scouts to share this concern.
Leadership & membership recruitment – This appears to be a major concern. Linda has expressed a desire to resign as president, but has been encouraged to continue as president for a while, as we need a strong spokesperson and interface to the town. Ken has expressed a willingness to take on the president’s role, if no one else is interested, but only after a secretary has been identified to replace him in that role. We need ideas to attract more involved members. Recruiting additional leadership & planning for officer transition will be a major agenda item for the September meeting.
Initiation of By-Laws revision process & next steps – Due to lack of time remaining, Ken just distributed copies to all present of his draft assessment of where changes to the By-laws or changes in our practices may need to be made. Members are encouraged to review this for the next meeting; we will need a small committee to take it further. Ken also indicated that we should plan to adopt a 2013-2014 fiscal year budget at the September meeting; Carl will prepare one for us to review.
Report on communications with Natural Heritage (& Lycott?) – No report
Other agenda items – Pond stickers - It was suggested that we consider rejuvenating the past practice of sponsoring a competition in the art classes at Richmond Consolidated School for a pond-related sticker, with a prize for the winning entry. This will be an agenda item for September.
Upcoming trainings/conferences – Fall LAPA-West symposium (tentatively Saturday, 9/7/13 at Berkshire CC – subsequently confirmed as this date & location)
Other announcements, about learnings from the 7/20 boat safety checks & a website status report, were deferred until next meeting, due to lack of time.
Next meeting – Tuesday, September 10
Richmond Pond Association Annual Meeting Minutes, July 16, 2013
Present: Linda Kay, president (Richmond Shores); Kitty Levitan, vice president (Whitewood); Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Ken Kelly, secretary (independent cottages); Matt Kerwood (Richmond Town Administrator); Cathy Deely (South Pond); Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores); Al Nardacci (independent cottages); Jack O’Brien (Branch Farm); Alan & Fran Schneit (Whitewood); Holly Stover (Branch Farm); Herb Zweig (Richmond Shores); plus 5 other interested citizens from Richmond & Wilbraham
Absent: John Hultman (Girl Scouts); Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield); John Mead (Lakeside Christian); Maria Metlay (South Pond); Mary Miller (South Pond); Jim Mooney (Boys and Girls Club); John O’Brien (Branch Farm); Dorothy Walchenbach (Richmond Shores)
Welcome – Treasurer Carl Foote opened the annual meeting with a welcome and review of the agenda.
Review of 2012 Activities – President Linda Kay reviewed activities during 2012. Summer boat ramp monitoring (for zebra mussels & other invasives) is again managed by the Town of Richmond, with financial support this year from the Town, the Commonwealth, and the RPA. Since late May, 344 boats had been checked to date, and several boats were diverted for required washing. As of last summer, divers from DNR had found no evidence of zebra mussels in Richmond Pond.
Linda also mentioned RPA’s continued financial support of part of the maintenance costs for the pond’s dam at Lakeside Christian Camp, as we all benefit from the dam. Last summer, the RPA held our first annual “public” meeting, though all our monthly meetings are open to the public; this is our second annual one. Regular water testing by the RPA at the four tributaries continues, under the leadership of Holly Stover, with support from Carl Foote and other volunteers; (the Board of Health conducts the testing at the public beaches). The annual lake draw-down of 2+ feet occurred in November. The RPA continues to explore with Natural Resources what studies would have to be conducted if we were to obtain approval for a deeper draw-down, but this may become more difficult with the recent documentation in the pond of bridle shiners, a species of special concern.
Carl shared pre-treatment weed charts of the lake in April 2012 and May 2013, pointing out the apparent impacts of last year’s weed treatment; Town Administrator Matt Kerwood provided additional perspective. Carl reviewed the various water tests that have been conducted by the RPA during summer months since 2002. He also shared a graph of E Coli levels in Whitewood Brook over time - it demonstrated that since the sewer system was installed around the lake in 2007, E Coli levels, which had regularly spiked above acceptable levels in the past, have dropped to consistently low levels since that time – a definite success story.
2013 Plans - Secretary Ken Kelly then reviewed current year 2013 plans, with Matt Kerwood providing additional detail about the boat ramp monitoring program. Ken encouraged boat owners to take advantage of the RPA-sponsored boat safety checks being conducted this Saturday morning by the Berkshire Sail & Power Squadron. Folks were also encouraged to visit the RPA’s website, www.richmondpondassociation.org, to sign up as a subscriber to receive regular updates from the RPA. Copies of the RPA’s annual fund-raising letter were then distributed to all; this letter will soon be mailed out to all Richmond residents. Ken emphasized the importance of individual contributions to the RPA, as our annual budget exceeds $12,000, yet only $2,150 of that is generated by the annual dues from the 3 camps, 4 community associations, and the unaffiliated cottages. Contributors may now designate a portion or their entire donation to the maintenance fund for the dam.
Ken mentioned that the Town now has a 5-year plan for weed management. The plan allows increased flexibility in approaches, but could result in increased costs next year, if the primary herbicide used changes from Diquat to the more expensive Triclopyr, as outlined in the plan. The RPA’s by-laws will be reviewed over the coming year, as no updates have been made since the RPA’s formation in 2000.
Ongoing Concerns - Ken reviewed ongoing concerns, including boating safety, swimming safely (swim with a spotter boat or float if swimming in deep water), adequate washing of boats to prevent invasives, dead trees along the shoreline, and the proliferation of geese on the pond.
Holly Stover shared an additional concern and background information on the silt-laden runoff into the pond that has been originating from Camp Russell’s ball fields that adjoin the pool, also clogging and further eroding the detention basin and rip-rapped swale on Branch Farm property in between Camp Russell and the pond. This problem has worsened since huge amounts of topsoil were removed from the old ball fields to create the new ones adjacent to the Camp Russell access road. She reported that a swale needs to be constructed by the Boys and Girls Club along the northeast corner of the old ball fields, located above Branch Farm, to divert runoff water away from the pond. The need for this has previously been pointed out to the Boys and Girls Club, but there has apparently been no action taken on this to date.
Carl Foote, speaking on behalf of the Branch Farm Association, as their secretary, expressed similar concerns. He reported on the Branch Farm Association’s recent meeting, at which he was asked to present a motion to the RPA, which was presented as follows, “The Branch Farm Association requests that the RPA send a certified letter to the executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Pittsfield, with copies to their Board of Directors and to the Richmond Conservation Commission, requesting that the Boys & Girls Club address the runoff from their ball fields. That runoff continues to wash sediment into the detention basin, the rip-rapped swale, and Richmond Pond itself. The detention basis and rip-rapped swale were constructed with a 319 state (DEP) matching grant, Town and RPA funding. A response date and action date should be suggested.”
This motion was seconded and approved by those present.
Q&A - Linda then facilitated the Question/Answer segment of the meeting.Linda shared some additional detail from a summary report compiled by Alan Schneit on boats launched this summer from the launch ramp. She thanked all for attending, and thanked Matt Melillo for making the arrangements for the refreshments.
Next meeting – Tuesday, August 13, 5:30 pm.
Richmond Pond Association Minutes - July 9, 2013
Present: Linda Kay, president (Richmond Shores); Kitty Levitan, vice president (Whitewood); Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Ken Kelly, secretary (independent cottages); Matt Kerwood (Richmond Town Administrator); Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores); Al Nardacci (independent cottages); Alan & Fran Schneit (Whitewood); Herb Zweig (Richmond Shores)
Absent: Cathy Deely (South Pond); John Hultman (Girl Scouts); Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield); John Mead (Lakeside Christian); Maria Metlay (South Pond); Mary Miller (South Pond); Jim Mooney (Boys and Girls Club); Jack O’Brien (Branch Farm); John O’Brien (Branch Farm); Holly Stover (Branch Farm); Dorothy Walchenbach (Richmond Shores)
Minutes - The minutes of 6/11/13 were approved with one correction – the date for the weed treatment was actually 6/26.
Weed treatment update – Matt reported that the weed treatment was applied by Lycott on 6/26. He had already shared the 2013 pre-treatment map with the Conservation Commission, Natural Heritage, and the RPA officers. The post-treatment map won’t be generated until later. Matt today provided 2012 pre- and post-treatment maps to Carl. It was suggested that all 3 maps be incorporated into the PowerPoint for this year’s annual meeting, as this is a subject of high public interest.
Status of E-Coli testing & status of public beaches – Matt reported that the Camp Russell beach was recently closed due to high E-Coli counts, though all the other pond beaches tested within acceptable ranges and remain open; the Dept. of Public Health conducts the tests of the public beaches. A discussion about the goose problem this year ensued. While geese are protected except during their hunting seasons, there are some strategies that can be used, including the use of “harassment dogs” – South Pond reportedly used such dogs successfully this year.
Summer boat ramp monitors update & boating activity report – Matt reported that the boat ramp monitors continue their duties this summer; he will invite the “lead” monitor to attend our annual meeting and provide a short report. He explained that, unlike Onota & Pontoosuc Lakes, which have one monitor per shift, our boat launch ramp is in a remote area, so 2 monitors are on duty during all shifts for safety reasons; this is the recommended procedure for remote launch ramps. Matt also shared a copy of the daily activity reports that the monitors complete, spanning May 29 through July 8. Alan volunteered to review and summarize these reports, so boating activity and related patterns can be shared at the annual meeting. Matt reported that the state Environmental Police have periodically been checking the pond, and some citations have been issued. It was suggested that Environmental Police contact information be added to the website, so this will be done.
It was noted that no one appears to be testing the pond this year for evidence of zebra mussel infestation; this appears to be an omission that needs to be addressed. Ken agreed to reach out to Jim McGrath and John O’Brien for advice on how to initiate such testing.
Boat safety inspections – Ken reported that the Berkshire Sail & Power Squadron has committed to conduct boat safety checks at the boat ramp on Saturday, July 20, from 9 am to 12 noon. Ken will meet & welcome their volunteer, Rick Gore, that morning on behalf of the RPA.
Finalization of agenda for July 16 Annual Meeting – Carl shared an updated PowerPoint, which will be used as a visual to help structure the meeting. Some additional changes were suggested for the PowerPoint, and Carl will make these updates. Presentation responsibilities were finalized, and Matt will arrange for the projector and screen for the PowerPoint. Those presenting various segments are asked to provide Carl with the order in which they plan to present segments, so he can update the PowerPoint accordingly.
In addition to annual meeting marketing efforts already accomplished, Matt has inserted a notice in the e-news from Town Hall. Mention will be made in Richmond Record, though its mailing is targeted for the day before our meeting. Ken will send a website subscriber email blast about the meeting. Others are asked to market the annual meeting to their members, including at their community association meetings. Ken will submit a calendar notice to the Berkshire Eagle.
RPA members are encouraged to arrive at least half an hour early, to assist with setup for the meeting.
Treasurer’s report – Carl provided a brief update, as there had been minimal financial activity since our last meeting. All membership dues for 2012 have now been paid.
Fund-raising letter – Ken shared a draft letter for review by the group. Several amendments were suggested. Ken will make the changes, and get the final version to Kitty, who volunteered to take it to Berkshire Print Shop, and make the remaining arrangements for the mailing, with return envelopes. It is hoped that the mailing will go out prior to our annual meeting. Ken agreed to coordinate with Cathy Deely, South Pond representative, as Cathy has indicated that South Pond residents seek to have something about the Richmond Pond Association distributed to them in their mailboxes. (Most of them would not be included in the set of mailing labels generated by the Town of Richmond, as South Pond residents have Pittsfield addresses.)
Update on By-Laws revision & next steps – Ken reported that he had discovered, in some old RPA files, a copy of a draft of the RPA bylaws that was labeled "BCK Draft" dated November 20, 2000. He compared them to the bylaws that were sent to the IRS in 2008, and they are almost identical. The November 20 document must have been an almost final draft of the bylaws, as there appear to have been only a few minor changes made prior to adoption. The 6/9/2000 version that we've been using would have been an earlier draft of this, though it was unfortunately not labeled as a draft. Ken also shared that since the date of filing with the Commonwealth of the RPA's Articles of Organization was 12/29/2000, and since the subsequent granting of IRS tax exempt status was backdated to that same date, 12/29/2000, it would seem logical to also post an effective date onto the bylaws of 12/29/2000.
Ken therefore suggested the following motion, "Following review of materials relating to the evolution of the RPA's bylaws, the Board of Directors confirms that the Bylaws submitted in 2008 in support of the RPA's application for IRS tax exempt status are the ones that govern the organization moving forward. It is recognized that some provisions of these bylaws require updating. A study of recommended changes is hereby initiated, with a target date of the summer 2014 annual meeting for approval of changes." This was moved, seconded, and approved.
Following adoption of the motion, Ken recommended that these 2008 (12/29/2000) bylaws should be posted on the website, as they currently exist, but with a preface stating that the bylaws are currently undergoing review, with proposed changes to be presented for approval at the summer 2014 annual meeting. This action was also endorsed.
Town Beach sticker pricing – In response to an inquiry, Matt summarized the history of the evolution of the current Town Beach sticker pricing (free for Richmond residents, and $35/year for all others, including Pittsfield residents), and fielded several related questions.
- Boat Safety Checks @ boat launch ramp - July 20, 9 am-12 noon, by Berkshire Sail & Power Squadron - Ken
- Chili & Chowder Festival changed to 7/27, 4 pm-11 pm, $25, @ Camp Russell
Next meetings – Annual Meeting Tuesday, July 16, and regular meeting, August 13
Richmond Pond Association Minutes - June 11, 2013
Present: Linda Kay, president (Richmond Shores); Kitty Levitan, vice president (Whitewood); Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Ken Kelly, secretary (independent cottages); Matt & Teesie Melillo (Richmond Shores); Jim Mooney (Boys and Girls Club); Al Nardacci (independent cottages); Holly Stover (Branch Farm); Herb Zweig (Richmond Shores)
Absent: Cathy Deely (South Pond); John Hultman (Girl Scouts); Matt Kerwood (Richmond Town Administrator); Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield); John Mead (Lakeside Christian); Maria Metlay (South Pond); Mary Miller (South Pond); Jack O’Brien (Branch Farm); John O’Brien (Branch Farm); Alan & Fran Schneit (Whitewood); Dorothy Walchenbach (Richmond Shores)
Safety Alert – Large Bear - Linda reported that a large bear has been regularly roaming the Richmond Shores cottage areas in early morning and late afternoon. There is also some indication that someone may be putting food out for it, in violation of related laws.
Minutes - The minutes of 5/14/13 were approved.
Town Beach – In Matt’s absence, Carl shared Matt’s email indicating that the town beach would open this Friday, June 14. The hours of operation will be 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, Tuesday to Sunday. The end date will be in late August, but the date has not yet been finalized. It was also mentioned that town beach stickers are now available from Town Hall.
Weed treatment timing & related notices – Carl shared Matt’s email indicating that new Orders of Condition were approved by both Pittsfield and Richmond, and both forms have been filed with the Registry of Deeds. There is no date yet set for the 2013 weed treatment, but Matt is working with Lycott to nail that down. It is expected that Matt will arrange for the posting/sending of treatment notices, perhaps with some posting assistance from the associations. (Note: We subsequently learned that the weed treatment will be June 26, weather permitting.)
Linda reported that the RPA has still not received copies of the pre-treatment and post-treatment weed mapping charts for the last 3 years. It was requested that Matt obtain these from Lycott and share them with the RPA, so we can evaluate the effectiveness of weed treatments from year-to-year.
Summer boat ramp monitors – Carl shared Matt’s email reporting that the ramp monitor program began on Memorial Day weekend. The program will operate the same as in years past - seven days a week coverage (weather permitting) 6:00 am to 6:00 pm with two monitors on at all times. The state is once again providing $6,000 toward the program. This, plus the City of Pittsfield's contribution, makes $9,500. The total cost of the program is again roughly $18,000. Matt requested that the Association consider a motion to fund the costs of the program not covered by the other funding sources. If approved, he will work with Carl to determine how to invoice the Association. A motion was made and approved to allocate up to $8,500 for the 2013 ramp monitor program, with the final payment to be subject to receipt of an itemized accounting of actual program costs. It was also requested that Matt provide a monthly summary report at each of our meetings, with such information as number & types of boats launched, patterns & problems encountered, etc.
Boat safety inspections – Ken reported that he’d left messages for the designated representative from the local chapter of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, to request the scheduling of a boat safety inspection at the Richmond Pond boat ramp. After a delay, he received a call-back, and suggested several possible weekend dates. Despite repeated reach-outs, he has not been able to confirm their availability. Ken recommended, and the RPA agreed, that we now turn to the Berkshire Sail & Power Squadron for this service. Ken will reach out to them to schedule an inspection visit to occur after our annual meeting.
Communications with Natural Heritage – Linda again reported that there has still been no follow up from Natural Heritage since their 3/28/13 email indicating that they were communicating at that time with Lycott to develop an outline/protocol to fulfill the data needs to move forward to consider a deeper draw down. So we still have not received the requested parameters.
Treasurer’s report – Carl reported that the current balance of all accounts is $19,439.59. There was minimal activity this quarter, with gift and interest income totaling $50.37, and offices expense & software renewals totaling $185.89.
Carl shared a spreadsheet depicting actual annual fiscal year expenses and revenues starting in year 2004 through 2013). For fiscal year 2013 to date (the fiscal year will not be complete until June 30), our expenses exceed revenues by $2,997.61, as indicated below.
Membership dues 1,860.00
Investment income 45.90
Total Revenue 9,049.90
Professional fees 135.00
Ramp monitors 8,590.75
Dam inspection/maintenance 1,320.00
Water monitoring 626.00
Fund raising expenses 818.80
Education (newsletter/website) 556.96
Total Expenses 12,047.51
Based on recent historical patterns and additional known parameters, Carl presented recommendations for a fiscal year budget for 2014, though some blanks are yet to be filled in. The decision was made to develop and send a fund-raising letter later this summer; Ken was requested to & agreed to draft such a letter.
Preparations for July 16 Annual Meeting – Carl shared an updated draft of the PowerPoint that used last year. Suggestions were made to enhance the outline, and Carl will make these updates. Linda will lead off the meeting with opening remarks. A review of 2012 activities will be followed by a review of 2013 plans, including mention of ongoing concerns and summary of the role of Pittsfield in supporting the pond. Presentation roles will be shared by several (yet to be designated); Matt Kerwood & Jim McGrath will also be asked to present. It was requested that Matt invite the monitors, and also select one of the monitors to speak about their role at the launch ramp.
Ken shared copies of related fliers & posters; Holly will post them at Town Hall, the Post Office, SOMA, Bartlett’s, & Hilltop Orchards. Ken will post a laminated one at the launch ramp. Ken will submit a notice for thee-news from Town Hall, & for the Richmond Record, & send a website subscriber email blast about the meeting. Others are asked to market the annual meeting to their members, including at their community association meetings.
Updating of the By-Laws – Ken reported that he had prepared an itemization of the segments of the 2000 Bylaws that appear to need updating. But he discovered that a different set of more detailed but undated Bylaws were submitted to the IRS in 2008 as part of our application for tax exempt 501(c)(3) status. He has reached out to the attorney who assisted the RPA in preparing that application, for clarification of how those Bylaws came to be. While much of the content of the two versions is either identical or similar, there are substantive differences. He suggested that we wait on trying to update them until we have clarified which version is the most recent one that has been approved by the RPA.
In the interim, it was acknowledged that the respective roles of the RPA, the Town of Richmond, and the City of Pittsfield have evolved over the years. The RPA’s actual operating practices have evolved as well, & the RPA currently is not strictly complying with the some provisions of both versions of the Bylaws.
Ken suggested that there are two macro-level questions that we should answer before Bylaws revision can proceed. These are: (1) How “rigid” vs. “ad-hoc” do we wish to be as an organization? (2) Have we truly evolved to a predominantly advisory group rather than a managing agency, & if so, are we OK with that? A motion was made & adopted to table further work on the Bylaws, pending receipt of a clarifying response from the attorney.
Erosion from storm water run-off - Holly raised concerns about the erosion to the swale from the Branch Farm detention basin on the Camp Russell property that needs to be addressed. Part of the rip-rapped bank of the swale between the lake and the culvert from the retention basin has washed out & needs to be restored. The retention basin should probably be cleaned at the same time. There is also a swale needed on the edge of the ball field to drain that run-off into the swamp; the need for this has been brought to the attention of the Boys & Girls Club previously, but it has not yet been addressed. Follow up with them is needed. Holly said the retention basin concern should be put on the Branch Farm agenda for their annual meeting in July. It was suggested that an update on runoff concerns also be provided at the RPA annual meeting. A discussion about possible RPA funding support for some of this work followed, though no decisions were made.
Next meeting – Tuesday, July 9 (plus annual meeting Tuesday, July 16)
Richmond Pond Association Minutes - May 14, 2013
Present: Kitty Levitan, vice president (Whitewood); Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Ken Kelly, secretary (independent cottages); Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield); Matt & Teesie Melillo (Richmond Shores); Al Nardacci (independent cottages); Jack O’Brien (Branch Farm); John O’Brien (Branch Farm); Holly Stover (Branch Farm); Dorothy Walchenbach (Richmond Shores); Herb Zweig (Richmond Shores)
Absent: Linda Kay, president (Richmond Shores); Matt Kerwood (Richmond Town Administrator); Cathy Deely (South Pond); John Hultman (Girl Scouts); John Mead (Lakeside Christian); Maria Metlay (South Pond); Mary Miller (South Pond); Jim Mooney (Boys and Girls Club); Alan & Fran Schneit (Whitewood)
Kitty chaired the meeting in Linda’s absence. All wished Linda a quick recovery from her broken foot.
Minutes - The minutes of 4/9/13 were approved. It was requested that future minutes include page numbers.
Weed treatment status – Jim McGrath reported for Matt, in his absence, that the Richmond Conservation Commission will again be discussing the Notice of Intent for treatment activities. Lycott had just provided to Matt, Jim & RPA officers (today) a detailed 5-year treatment plan, with proposed multiple approaches to provide flexibility going forward. Both the Richmond and Pittsfield Conservation Commissions will be reviewing this plan at their respective meetings this week. It is anticipated that both Commissions will be approving Orders of Conditions at those meetings. Once approved, the treatment will be scheduled, with the goal of the beginning of June. It is anticipated that Matt would arrange for the posting/sending of treatment notices, perhaps with some posting assistance from the associations.
Jim pointed out that the Town of Richmond’s Warrant for the annual Richmond Town Meeting (tomorrow) includes an item (Article 4, line 89) to increase the Richmond Pond Weeds line item in the budget from $10,000 to $20,000, in part because the number of acres to be treated has increased. (Footnote – The Town’s budget increase to $20,000 for weed treatment was approved at the Town Meeting.)
Natural Heritage & requirements for deeper draw-down – A 3/28/13 email communication from Natural Heritage stated that, with regard to the drawdown, “We’ve spoken with Lycott (Joy) several times and they are in the process of developing an outline/protocol to fulfill the data needs to move forward to consider such a draw down.” So we still have not received the requested parameters.
Treasurer’s report – Carl reported a balance of $19,440 in all accounts. Richmond Shores has still not paid last year’s dues. Year-to-date, since January, we have received $550.00 in unsolicited donations. We paid our final commitment of $4,152 to the Town of Richmond to help support the 2012 boat ramp monitor program, which cost a total of $19,547 from all sources. For the coming year, $6,000 is expected from the state to support the town budget for ramp monitors, and Pittsfield has budgeted $3,500 to assist with lake management of Richmond Pond (could be used for weeds or monitors); we do not yet know how much may be requested from RPA to support 2013 ramp monitors or weed management.
Website status report – The first email “blast” to subscribers to the RPA was sent out on 5/12 to 14 subscribers (8 of whom are RPA members); there were 8 others whose status was “pending” in the system (they hadn’t yet opened the “confirm” email & clicked “accept), so they didn’t receive it. It include a welcome message that encouraged subscribers to suggest to their friends, relatives, and others with an interest in Richmond Pond to also subscribe, and included the April meeting minutes. The format of the first message unfortunately went out “text only” to some (if you checked “text” rather than “HTML” format), it stripped out the attractive template, pond picture, and other formatting. Since the email blast, several more have subscribed – there are now 19 confirmed subscribers & 8 others pending (some of whom are RPA members). Most RPA members have “signed onto” the website subscriber list; those who have not are: Matt & Teesie Melillo (Richmond Shores), Mary Miller (South Pond), Herb Zweig (Richmond Shores) & Jim Mooney (no email) (Boys & Girls Club). I do plan to use the subscriber list only for May minutes distribution, so those not signed up won’t get them (but they will be mailed to Jim Mooney). It was suggested that the community associations each encourage all members to subscribe.
There have been 2,859 page “hits” since mid-August; 426 this April & 223 so far in May; average page hits/month = 357. The domain name has been renewed, as has the website maintenance software. Two events have been added to calendar page: 6/16 - Reach the Beach with Dad 5K (Richmond Recreation Committee) @ Camp Russell, and 7/20 – Chili & Chowder Festival (Boys & Girls Club) @ Camp Russell. Language has been added to the website about the ability to earmark contributions for dam maintenance. It was suggested that, in the absence of more specific fish consumption advisories for Berkshire lakes, the MassDEP page “Mercury in the Environment” be linked to our website.
By-Laws updating plan – Ken distributed copies of the most recent Bylaws dated 6-9-00, for review by all prior to next meeting. It was acknowledged by several that a number of changes have occurred since the year 2000 that have impacted both what the RPA does and how it functions. There are therefore provisions in the Bylaws that no longer reflect how we are functioning. Dorothy & Ken volunteered to conduct an initial Bylaws evaluation to identify an initial list of Bylaws segments that appear to need updating or clarification; this list will be shared at our June meeting. Others are also invited to submit suggestions to Ken (by 6/4 if possible). A decision was made not to post the current Bylaws on the website until next meeting, so that all RPA members will have a chance to review them. It was acknowledged that the revision process will take some time, given required review parameters outlined in the Bylaws. Jim advised that if changes are to be made in the Bylaws, there are related state & federal forms that would need to be filed, as we’re an incorporated entity with 501c3 tax-exempt status.
Annual meeting date – The annual meeting will be held Tuesday, July 16, @ 5:30 pm @ Richmond Town Hall. Kitty will reserve the Town Hall. Carl & Ken will locate last year’s PowerPoint presentation, as a template for updated use this year. Up to $100 was allocated for refreshments, to be organized by Matt & Herb. Ken will contact Matt to arrange related notices in the e-news from Town Hall, an RPA subscriber email blast, etc.; the community associations are also asked to publicize the annual meeting to members.
Boat safety inspections – Jim reported on the 4/26 presentation by the local chapter of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, which he & Ken attended, about how they can assist Berkshire lake associations by offering free boat safety inspections @ local boat ramps. These are also done by the Berkshire Sail & Power Squadron, which will do them soon at Onota & Pontoosuc Lakes. It was agreed that we should schedule a weekend date for boat safety inspections with the local Coast Guard Auxiliary, avoiding the scheduled bass tournaments & road races, & advertise this through the e-news & other mechanisms. Ken offered to reach out to schedule one this summer.
Ken also mentioned that vessel identification stickers for canoes, kayaks, or rowboats (to enable their return to the owner if floated away, & potentially eliminate the need to devote resources to searching for possibly capsized missing occupants), & many educational brochures, are available from the US Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Concerns about unsightly tree slashing by CSX along railroad bed adjacent to Richmond Shores – Ken & Holly reported on their discovery, during Richmond’s annual town cleanup day, of the highly visible (from Town Beach Road) ragged & unsightly tree cutting job that CSX or their contractor had done along the railroad tracks. Ken reported this concern to Matt, who reached out to both CSX and town Conservation Administrator Susan Bubenas. Susan & Matt communicated directly with CSX, with whom she’d been collaborating on other matters, and while CSX has no obligation to do so, they’ve committed to coming back with chain saws, as time permits, to remedy the most concerning portions that are visible from Town Beach Road. Susan was asked to expand upon her communications with CSX (as she was present, preparing for the Conservation Commission meeting to follow ours). She emphasized that CSX has been cooperative with her on both this and other matters that she has brought to their attention, and reminded us that CSX’s primary concern with the trimming is for the safety of rail passengers, freight, & equipment. She also cautioned that the railroad bed is private property and folks should not trespass on or near the tracks. The RPA thanked her (and Matt in his absence) for their reach-out to and communications with CSX to address our concerns.
Control of invasives – In Matt’s absence, Jim reported that he did not have any additional information about implementation details for Senate Bill 1904 of 2011, signed into law in January 2013, to protect lakes and ponds from aquatic nuisances (especially zebra mussels). He reported that the law is now in effect, and when boat ramp monitors are trained this summer, both in Richmond & in Pittsfield, details about enforcement & sanctions will be included, though the monitors would have no authority themselves to issue a formal violation citation.
Announcement – Conservation Restriction - Ken (a Lenox resident) reported that a Conservation Restriction, on 948 acres in the Lenox watershed on Yokun Ridge/Lenox Mountain, to be held jointly by Lenox Conservation Commission & Berkshire Natural Resources Council, was approved at the 5/2/13 Lenox annual town meeting. Matt has indicated, given that a portion of this property is in Richmond, that the Richmond Board of Selectmen will need to approve the Conservation Restriction as well. This CR, coupled with other restrictions already in place for adjoining lands, should prevent any future efforts to develop or site wind turbines on Lenox Mountain.
Next meeting – Tuesday, June 11
Richmond Pond Association Meeting Minutes – April 9, 2013
Present: Linda Kay, president (Richmond Shores); Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Ken Kelly, secretary (independent cottages); Cathy Deely (South Pond); Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield); John Mead (Lakeside Christian); Al Nardacci (independent cottages); Holly Stover (Branch Farm)
Absent: Kitty Levitan, vice president (Whitewood); Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores); John Hultman (Girl Scouts); Matt Kerwood (Richmond Town Administrator); Maria Metlay (South Pond); Mary Miller (South Pond); Jim Mooney (Boys and Girls Club); Jack O’Brien (Branch Farm); John O’Brien (Branch Farm); Alan & Fran Schneit (Whitewood); Dorothy Walchenbach (Richmond Shores); Herb Zweig (Richmond Shores)
Guests: Robert Van Der Kar, Conservation Agent, City of Pittsfield
Minutes – The 11/13/12 minutes were approved. Ken thanked Carl for taking those minutes in his absence.
Chapter 91 dam license – Jim McGrath reported that the application for the chapter 91 license for the Richmond Pond dam has been submitted, reviewed, and approved, so the pond is now fully compliant with related requirements. This license also allows continuation of an annual drawdown of 2 feet. John Mead of Lakeside Christian has the original and will be officially recording the permit.
Ice-out – Several folks reported that today the ice was completely gone from the lake, and spring re-fill appeared to be approaching normal water levels.
Weed treatment status – Approval for the late spring weed treatment has not yet been obtained, though the request does explicitly include treatment of the Richmond Shores canal. Jim McGrath reported that the Pittsfield Conservation Commission has “continued” action on the order of conditions/notice of intent for weed treatment of Richmond Pond, pending action first by the Richmond Conservation Commission, which is scheduled to review the application this evening. Linda reported on her meeting with Matt yesterday, when he briefed her on the immediate change state-wide to a more comprehensive approach for such lake weed management approvals. They will henceforth list a variety of treatment modes to provide more flexibility in applying several options (draw-down, chemical Diquat, the newer & much more expensive Trichlopyr, hand-pulling, etc.), without having to go back for additional approvals. Matt reported that Trichlopyr was tried at Onota Lake with disappointing results.
Report on communications with Natural Heritage – Linda reported that despite repeated reach-outs from Matt and from her, Natural Heritage staff has still not provided the clarification of expectations for future deeper draw-downs that was requested last spring and again last fall.
Treasurer’s report – Carl reported a balance of $19,464 in all accounts, including the $4,000 earmarked thus far to support maintenance of the dam. Cash flow since July 2012 included income of $8,900 ($1,800 in membership dues and $7,100 in donations) and $11,950 in expenses, $8,600 of which supported the boat ramp monitor program. Richmond Shores still appears to owe last year’s dues.
It was suggested that the website specify that contributions can be earmarked for maintenance of the dam, as we do wish to grow this fund – all lake users benefit from the dam, so its maintenance costs should not fall exclusively on Lakeside Christian. In response to a question, it was also suggested that the annual dues structure, (which is $300 each community association or camp and $30 each independent cottage), be listed on the website, also noting that most of the association’s funding comes from voluntary contributions. Carl also reported that the PayPal contribution link is active and working, though only a couple of test contributions had been received through it thus far.
Website status report – Ken has added 2013 calendar items to the site including the RPA meetings, opening and closing dates for the town beach, four scheduled bass tournaments, and a 5K race. Several other event dates are being sought. He had difficulty just before the meeting accessing the data report on # of website views, so will report on that at the next meeting. He indicated that only about half of the RPA members had “signed onto” the contact list through the website to date; he will be reaching out to those who have not, as this list will be used to distribute minutes and announcements going forward. Ken indicated that website re-registration and software renewals are coming due, with minimal costs; it was agreed that these scheduled payments should be made.
Testing for fecal coliform, E. Coli – Ken & Holly shared reported results of the fecal coliform testing conducted in 2012 by Richmond Board of Health. Four sites (town beach, Camp Russell, Camp Marion White, and Richmond Shores) were each tested on 16 dates from May through September. The maximum allowable for swimming for E. Coli is 235 per 100 ml. All sites on all dates tested showed results well below this threshold. But a concern was expressed that the analysis of these tests, as well as of the testing done by RPA of lake tributaries, was done by Berkshire Enviro Labs. This lab is currently under investigation for fabricating and/or mis-reporting of test results, so we should be cautious about relying upon this data. It was noted that we should seek another vendor for future testing.
Mercury deposits & impacts on area lakes – Matt had shared a report by Mass DEP on mercury in the environment, mercury concentrations in fish, and fish consumption. The only Berkshire Lakes whose fish were tested (in 1994 and 1999) for mercury by DEP were Buckley Denton Pond (Becket), Center Pond (Becket), Yokum Pond (Becket) and Bug Pond (Savoy). Matt will further research test results and provide suggested language for our website on generic fish consumption advisories, though it was noted that most of those who consume fish from local ponds do so only occasionally or consume primarily stocked fish (trout) raised in more controlled conditions.
Development of draft Harbormaster rules & regulations (floating docks & moorings) - Jim McGrath & Linda (for Matt) both reported no additional progress on this other than sharing with each other of several model regulations. The consensus was to table further development on these for now, referring any related questions or concerns to Matt for resolution as they arise.
By-Laws updating – Linda recommended tabling this until our next meeting, so this was done.
Meeting schedule for 2013 (all second Tuesdays @ 5:30 pm) – Linda reported that she has reserved Town Hall for all of the proposed dates with the exception of May 7, which is unavailable; the May meeting will therefore be May 14. The revised RPA meeting is: 4/9, 5/14, 6/11, 7/9, 8/13, 9/10, 10/8.
Date for annual meeting – Date selection was deferred until our next meeting.
Boater safety trainings – Ken & Jim McGrath shared information about an upcoming presentation by US Coast Guard Auxiliary about how they can assist Berkshire lake associations by offering free boater safety trainings at local boat ramps. Linda & Ken will attend the Wed., April 24, 6:00 pm session in the Pittsfield City Council chambers, and report on options at our next meeting.
State Legislation on Aquatic Nuisances – Ken shared that State Senator Ben Downing’s Senate Bill 1904 of 2011, amending Chapter 21 of General Laws, Section 37B, was signed into law in January 2013, to protect lakes and ponds from aquatic nuisances (especially zebra mussels). This has provisions with implications for public education & enforcement. Jim McGrath will follow up to solicit implementation details, including implications for boat ramp monitor training, etc.
Fishing line recycling stickers & boat insurance – Ken shared stickers obtained free from Boat U.S. that could be affixed to a special bin at the boat launch ramp. Linda shared that a trash receptacle was recently placed by the town at the boat launch ramp – that should help with reducing unsightly discarding of all forms of trash. While there was not interest in currently creating a fishing line recycling bin, it was suggested that Ken mention in the minutes and on the website that Boat U.S. sells reasonably priced boat insurance to members; for details on membership and boat insurance, visit www.BoatUS.com.
Next scheduled meeting – Tuesday, May 14, 5:30 pm. (Note amended date.)
(Please provide any corrections to Ken Kelly, RPA secretary.)