RICHMOND POND ASSOCIATION

                                                                MINUTES
                                                 Richmond Pond Association
                                                     Tuesday, June 26, 2018

RPA Business:

Introductions – Self-introductions were made by all 15 attending.

Secretary resignation - Ken shared that Cathy Deely resigned as secretary and from the board effective 6/21.  He shared some of the remarks from her letter, including – “It is with regret that I must resign from the board of the RPA.  I hadn’t expected to learn as much as I have about ponds and the many faceted needs for their care - one that I look at from my home, canoe, swim in and appreciate!  I have great respect for the work of the RPA volunteers.  Leading the major board projects of creating the Lake Management Plan, annual reports, fundraising letters and the script for pond tours; keeping the SPF community apprised of the health and welfare of our most treasured asset and encouraging contributions as well as serving as secretary and performing board duties - were contributions and activities that I hope were helpful to RPA and SPF.  However, increasing responsibilities to my family (for which I am 100% responsible) lead me to present this resignation.  RPA is a vibrant organization that accomplishes so much. It was an honor to serve and I learned so much about things that I hadn't imagined I would learn about or care so much about!”

Secretary transition – Ken will meet with Cathy soon regarding records transfer.  He asked for a volunteer to serve as recorder for today, or a volunteer to serve as secretary.  No one volunteered for either.  Ken indicated he’d try to take notes today & Susan & Carl agreed to review them for accuracy.  Election for secretary (& all the other officers) will take place at our August meeting.

Minutes – The minutes of 5/22/18 were approved.

Treasurer’s report – Carl reported that the balance in all accounts is $38,178 with $10,191 in the dam maintenance fund.  $360 was paid to Microbac for water testing lab fees on June 20th.  One donation of $50 was received from a Richmond resident.

Priority Projects:

Summer picnic planning – Susan, again serving as lead picnic planner, provided an update on details & solicited volunteers for various tasks.  She also shared that she will be out of town for the week preceding the event, so detailed preparations will need to be finalized before she leaves.  Estimated attendance for the July 24 event is 150.  It will again be advertised as a free event for Richmond residents (South Pond Farm residents are included).  Event timing will be: Setup – 4 pm, Public arrives – 5 pm, Dinner served & beach closed – 6:15 pm, Event ends – 8 pm. 

Menu will include hamburgers, hot dogs, some veggie burgers, a salad, chips, sodas & bottled water.  (Dessert to be determined – cookies/ice cream?)  Camp Russell will provide staff (2 lifeguards for pond swimming, 1 pontoon boat driver, 1 parking attendant & 1 parking shuttle cart driver), with RPA payment arrangements for these yet to be worked out.  Volunteers are needed for many roles, & some slots were filled by volunteers at the meeting.  Pontoon boats were identified (1 from Camp Russell; 1 from Leon Nesis); Carl will drive Leon’s boat; tour guides for both boats for before dinner & after dinner tours were identified (Kitty & 1 other) & Carl will provide copies of the script/notes for the boat tour guides.  Louise & Lucy will handle games for children.  Susan reported that Lucy has arranged student musicians similar to last year (payment arrangements to be worked out).  A better sound system will be sought (by Louise, Susan, & Mark) for use for Ken’s & Dan’s remarks about RPA & Camp Russell.  Camp Russell bathrooms have been completed & are working.  Jim shared that the new pond map identifying swimming & no-wake areas will be ready in a week or so, so that can be displayed as well as the 2 RPA posters Lucy developed last year.

Publicity will include an ad in the July Richmond Record (Ken); email blast to RPA website subscribers (Ken); notice in the Richmond Town e-news (Mark?); fliers to Bartlett’s, Richmond Shores kiosk, boat launch kiosk (Louise); & announcements at each of the community association annual meetings/events (by their RPA representative).  Copies of the RPA annual report & RPA brochures will be available at the picnic (Ken).  Susan will schedule a meeting soon with Dan to firm up details on Camp Russell support, etc.

Weed treatment update – In Marks’s absence, Carl reported that weed treatment occurred on Monday, June 4, but since Solitude works directly with Mark now, Carl does not know whether a post-treatment assessment has yet been done or its results.  The canal was also treated, but the boat apparently snagged a rope & was unable to traverse & treat all the way up to Town Beach Road.  Carl is unaware whether an estimate for the spot-treatment of native tape weed has been received. 

Status of Canal – Rosanne reported that it is quite weedy.  A question was raised about whether weed pulling could be done, & Jim explained that his understanding is that invasive weeds could be pulled without a permit but pulling native weeds would require a permit.  No one was present from Conservation Commission to clarify.  Ken agreed to follow up with the Conservation Commission to obtain a clarification & share this back with Rosanne.

Short-term dam remediation action plan – Ken shared John’s interim action plan as emailed on May 24, & John will keep RPA posted as they progress:

Auxiliary Spillway - We are in the process of seeking bids to patch/repair the upstream retaining wall and the downstream retaining walls, and spillway chute.  Based on observations over time, we believe that the seepage under the chute originates on the east upstream corner of the spillway and embankment. We are exploring inserting two or three 12"x12" concrete blocks in ground in front of the of area of concern, and back-filling with dirt. This would occur during the November draw-down. 

Retaining Wall - This summer, we plan to repair the upstream and downstream landscape retaining walls with 8x8 pressure treated beams.

Primary Spillway - We are seeking bids to repoint and patch/repair the wingwalls.

RPA roles in implementation of Richmond Open Space & Recreation Plan – In Mark’s absence, Ken reported that as requested, Mark has shared our report with the Richmond Selectmen & Richmond Agent, for sharing with the Conservation Commission; Ken has been invited to attend the Tuesday, July 10th, 6 pm Richmond Board of Selectmen meeting to discuss the report & answer questions.  Ken invited those present to join him at that meeting.  He is unsure whether the report has yet been shared with the Pittsfield Conservation Commission.  

New Items:

Initiating Community Preservation Act participation? – Holly was absent, so item was tabled.

Announcements/updates:

  • Collaboration between RPA with Richmond Consolidated School & Berkshire Audubon Sanctuaries for study of Richmond Pond – Louise reported that 14 students did visit Tracy Brook Wildlife Sanctuary just before school ended, preceded by 2 or 3 lessons presented by Dale Abrams of Mass Audubon.  The School used the education grant that they already had to pay for the transportation & Mass Audubon instructor.  More pond study activity is planned for fall & spring, possibly to include some plantings, for which they may have to obtain permits.  
  • Enhance Richmond Pond map (include private & public swim areas, no-wake zones) – Jim & Susan reported that the map, with revisions from first draft, will be ready within a week or so.
  • Dam release management overture from Housatonic Valley Association – Carl shared that he’d been contacted by HVA Berkshire Director Dennis Regan with a request to meet about developing a water release protocol to maintain water levels in the Housatonic River tributary.  He & John will meet with Dennis in September after the summer camp season is over.
  • Goose strobe lights @ South Pond Farm & Camp Russell – Jessica reported that, while the South Pond Farm goose strobe light had been recently installed, the SPF Association has decided to remove it - for 2 reasons.  It isn’t effective in keeping the geese off the beach & it continues to generate complaints from pond residents.  They will explore other options, including fencing & posters of mute swans or coyotes.  Camp Russell’s plan regarding their goose light was unknown, though it has been installed.
  • Tributary monitoring results of 6/20 – Carl conducted tributary water testing on June 20th.  Tracy Brook reported a 248.1 e-coli reading, above the safe swimming limit of 235.  Cause is likely upstream animal waste - geese and beavers in the Tracy Brook Wildlife Sanctuary across Swamp Road. The Levy family has been notified of the reading.  The e-coli reading for the canal was 114.5, and 79.4 at Clark’s Brook.
  • Suspected mating pair of aggressive mute swans near boat launch – Matt shared that they were first seen on Saturday & again on Sunday.  They have chased away the geese & ducks from the area between Town Beach & boat launch.  It was suspected that they may be nesting in between, but they were not seen yesterday or today – they may have been scared off by all the boating & swimming activity.  Boaters were being warned not to approach them, as they are very aggressive.  Ken will alert Mass Audubon of the sighting.
  • Sewer Users Advisory Committee – No report.  A question was raised about how repairs to grinder pumps are now to be handled, as there has apparently been a recent change in protocol.  Ken will inquire of Mark & suggest a related posting to the Town e-news that can also be shared with the community associations.
  • Facebook page updates – Carl has been posting photos & encouraged others to do likewise.
  • Website updates – Ken will update photos, as requested.
  • Richmond Conservation Commission perspectives – No report


Any update items, of interest to all, from each camp & community association:

  • Boys & Girls Club - Chili & Chowder Fest Friday, 7/13, 6 pm – 11 pm, $25, 21 & older, @ Camp Russell; order tickets online or purchase at event
  • Snapping turtles – Rosanne asked that all be careful when driving & when children are playing, as the snapping turtles have been roaming around Richmond Shores.


Next meeting – ANNUAL MEETING/PICNIC – 5:00 pm, Tuesday, July 24, 2018 – Camp Russell

 
Directors Present:  Ken Kelly, president (independent cottages), Susan Benner, vice president (Whitewood); Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Rosanne Frieri (Richmond Shores); Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield)
Alternates Present:   Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm); Louise Brogan (Branch Farm); Lucy Hoffman (independent/public); Kitty Levitan (Whitewood); Al Nardacci (independent cottages)
Guests Present:  Seth Pitman (Richmond Shores); Matthew Palardy (Richmond boat ramp monitor); Alan Schneit (Whitewood); Fran Schneit (Whitewood); Marvin Smith (Richmond Shores)

Directors Absent:  Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell); Nick Martinelli (Richmond Conservation Commission); John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp); Mark Pruhenski (Richmond Town Administrator)
Alternates Absent:  Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell); Don Hathaway (Lakeside Christian Camp); Linda Kay (Richmond Shores); Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores); Joe McGovern (Camp Russell); Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores); John O’Brien (Branch Farm); Adam Weinberg (Richmond Conservation Commission)


 

                                                                  MINUTES

                                                 Richmond Pond Association

                                                             August 28, 2018

                                     Balderdash Cellars, 81 State Road (Route 41)

RPA Business:

Introductions – Host Christian Hanson was introduced & provided a short description of Balderdash plans. Others present were introduced by community association or groups. Susan thanked Carl for arranging the off-site meeting, which helped draw larger attendance.

Officer nominations & elections - All officers were re-elected to their positions, with the position of Secretary remaining open. Matt volunteered to keep notes for this meeting.

Treasurer’s report – Carl reported that there is $44,539 in all accounts, which includes $14,214 in the Dam Maintenance account, after transferring in the budgeted $2,000.  Thus far, 66% of the 2018-2019 dues have been collected.  Donations to date this fiscal year are $7,840 compared to $4,350 at this time last year, or $7,900 for all last fiscal year. Summer RPA picnic expenses were under the $1,000 budget, with special thanks to Susan and Faye. Microbac was paid $360 lab fees for the June 20th tributary testing. Jessica will be sharing a special solicitation letter to South Pond Farm residents this weekend, & letters will go out soon to several local businesses. Several questions were raised about the amount RPA will be contributing toward dam repairs; this will likely be addressed at our next meeting.

Priority Projects:

Summer picnic/annual meeting evaluation – Susan shared observations – About 75 attended, in perfect weather. A comment was made that attendance likely would have been even higher, had it not been advertised as a meeting as well as a town picnic. Pontoon boat tours were well-attended. Only one lifeguard went swimming. Shuttles to & from the parking lot & the pontoon boat dock were well-utilized. As happened last year, some families new to Richmond attended & appreciated the introduction to the pond.  Lucy’s posters were again displayed, RPA brochures & annual reports were made available, & Holly Stover’s historical display about the pond drew interest. During dinner, Ken summarized the activities of the RPA, guided by the lake management plan. Many RPA members & several others volunteered to cook, serve as boat drivers or guides, & assisted with setup & breakdown. Richard Stanmeyer again provided very well-received musical entertainment. The initial sentiment afterward was that it went very well & is worth doing again next year, with similar format & menu, as it reaches many more than our former annual meeting format, the PowerPoint presentation format in Town Hall. It also provides effective educational outreach for both the RPA, Camp Russell and Richmond Pond itself as a valuable resource.

It was suggested that next year’s picnic be shifted to the June meeting, with Dan endorsing the suggestion. But Susan indicated that she may be unable to organize it next year if this were the case.

Weed treatment, post-treatment assessment, & 8/23 treatment – Carl reported that the pond’s second weed treatment of 2018 was done on 8/23 by Josh of Solitude, with the pond closed that day for swimming, fishing & boating. Diquat was used to target the non-native Spiny Naiad. Carl asked him to expand the coverage to all of Richmond Shores, including the canal. Solitude’s bill for 8/23 will not exceed the $5,000 budget which is funded by the town. But RPA may need to help the town with next spring’s weed treatment costs.  Proliferation of the “stringy” nuisance native tape grass has been observed in August, & impacts swimming, fishing & boating in the littoral zone areas. It would have to be cut with a harvester, but Solitude’s experience suggests that the cuttings just re-root and cutting causes a thicker growth. The fall post-treatment survey is scheduled for late September. 

The LAPA-West Fall Symposium is scheduled at BCC on Saturday, September 29th, 8:30 am to 12:30 pm, at no cost (registration starts 7:45); RPA members are encouraged to attend. Weed management is on the agenda. (NOTE – This symposium was subsequently postponed until November.) Several questions were raised concerning a deeper winter drawdown.

Status of Canal – Rosanne reported that the water in the canal is stagnant, and the beaver dam was partially breached in the center.

Short-term dam remediation action plan & costs – John was unable to attend, but asked that the following be shared: The retaining wall on the upside of the dam has been repaired. We expect to do the other side this fall.   We also re-graded the road along the dam and have regularly trimmed the vegetation on both sides of the earthen dam.  We're waiting on a price for an epoxy type application to patch the sparing in the concrete. In response to a question, an explanation of Lakeside Christian Camp’s responsibility for the dam and the Richmond Pond Association’s role in assisting them was offered. Holly noted that the dam was initially built in the mid-1800’s and added 90 acres to the pond; our 218 acre pond will be much smaller if we don’t care for the dam.

RPA roles in implementation of Richmond Open Space & Recreation Plan – responses from Town officials, Conservation Commission & next steps – Ken shared observations made by the Selectmen at the July 10 Board of Selectmen meeting, which Ken attended.  Ken shared why the RPA developed their status report – in response to the Board of Selectmen decision last year to request each entity charged with one or more implementation items in the OSRP to submit an annual progress report. During discussion, while the Selectmen expressed interest in restoring part of the old Indian trail around the pond, it was noted that most entities along that trail would not welcome public usage, and using Town Beach Road or other roads as part of a trail system raised safety issues. They indicated that they were reaching out to the other entities to request an annual report on progress with their assigned OSRP initiatives.

New Items:

Should RPA encourage Selectmen to sponsor forum (jointly with W. Stockbridge) on whether to participate in Community Preservation Act? Holly requested that this item be deferred until the September meeting, after the Town has addressed sewer betterment fee arrears. Jim noted the ways in which the City of Pittsfield used Community Preservation Act funds.

Airport impact on pond & future follow-up – Ken noted that when he & Cathy met several years ago with the airport director, expressing concerns about airport noise over the pond, they both learned quite a bit about airport operations & plans.  Once a new director is chosen, he recommends that another such meeting occur. Jim reported that the master planning process for the airport was already underway. Several expressed that airport noise should just be tolerated, especially where development occurred under the known take-off pattern.

Proposed by-laws changes regarding creating at-large directors & making a correction) – The Executive Board (Ken, Susan & Carl) proposed two changes to our By-Laws, which were moved & seconded, & then tabled for discussion & action at the September meeting:

Add the following paragraph to Para. 2.02.01: “There may one or two additional "at-large" directors, who may come from any of the 7 constituencies mentioned above.  They would be appointed, following written application, by majority vote of the directors then in office.”

Change the name of the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Pittsfield (Camp Russell) to Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires (Camp Russell), to reflect their recent name change.

Announcements/updates:

New alternates – Matt Palardy, as an alternate to help represent “other interested parties,” was nominated and approved.

Town Beach closure timing & boat ramp monitor timing – Ken reported for Mark that the lifeguards have returned to school now, but the beach will remain open for about another week.  The porta-let will be removed after Labor Day weekend and the dock, float lines, etc. will stay a bit longer, weather permitting.  The Town will want to get them out before the water temp starts to get cold since the crew has to be in the water for a while.  The boat ramp monitors will be wrapping up shortly after Labor Day as well since our seasonal worker permit from the state expires on the 8th or 9th. As far as the water quality testing goes, the Board of Health now has a plan in place to address closures/signage, etc. going forward. 

Collaboration between RPA with Richmond Consolidated School & Berkshire Audubon Sanctuaries for study of Richmond Pond – Louise reported that there will be more activity this school year, including field trips.

Tributary monitoring update – Carl reported that he conducted tributary testing on August 2, after a heavy rain.  The e.Coli numbers were very high (816) for the canal (sampled under the Bridge Street/Shore Road bridge); Clark’s Brook tested at 648; the water color was noted as tea color and cloudy.  The cause in the canal is clearly the geese. Above Clark’s brook is agriculture; the high numbers are likely from the heavy rain runoff.  Results in June were below the 235 safe swimming level.   Last year Carl learned that the Housatonic Valley Association testing group only did river testing during dry non-rain periods.

Goose-related impacts on beaches, & strategies – Rather than just chasing the geese back & forth on the pond, the idea was put forward of a pond-wide plan involving all association members to combat the flock of resident geese numbering over 100. A consultation with Eric Johnson and his business Wild Goose Chase in New Lebanon was suggested. Steven Schnoll of South Pond Farm volunteered to do this reach-out & conduct initial research for an effort to develop a comprehensive goose management plan.

Sewer Users Advisory Committee – A shortfall in predicted revenues was reported.

Next meeting–Tuesday, September 25, 2018 – Town Hall

Directors Present:  Ken Kelly, president (independent cottages), Susan Benner, vice president (Whitewood); Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Rosanne Frieri (Richmond Shores); Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell); Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield)

Alternates Present:   Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm); Louise Brogan (Branch Farm); Lucy Hoffman (independent/public); Linda Kay (Richmond Shores); Kitty Levitan (Whitewood)

Guests Present:  Laurie Foote (Branch Farm); Christian Hanson (Balderdash Cellars); Peter & Margaret Killeen (Branch Farm); Faye Lessner (Branch Farm); Matthew Palardy (Richmond boat ramp monitor); Alan & Fran Schneit (Whitewood); Steven Schnoll (South Pond Farm); Holly & Richard Stover (East Road, Richmond); at least 2 others

Directors Absent:  Nick Martinelli (Richmond Conservation Commission); John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp); Mark Pruhenski (Richmond Town Administrator)

Alternates Absent:  Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell); Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores); Joe McGovern (Camp Russell); Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores); Al Nardacci (independent cottages); John O’Brien (Branch Farm); Adam Weinberg (Richmond Conservation Commission)

                                                               MINUTES
                                                Richmond Pond Association
                                                    Tuesday, April 24, 2018


RPA Business:

Introductions – Two new Directors were heartily welcomed - Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell) and Rosanne Frieri (Richmond Shores).  There is also a new alternate - Joe McGovern (Camp Russell).  The board member contact list was circulated for corrections.

Minutes – Minutes of 11/28/17 were approved.

Treasurer’s report – Carl reported that as of 4/10/18, balance in all accounts is $41,252 with $12,791 in the dam maintenance fund.  All 2017 dues have been received.

Dam inspection results - John reported on key findings from the draft report of the dam inspection, conducted 8/25/17 by Schnabel Engineering.  Key findings and recommendations of the report include:

  • ·  Repair water seepage under the auxiliary spillway chute, which is under the camp’s meeting hall
  • · Reinforce the auxiliary spillway chute walls
  • · Repair/patch superficial cracks in the wingwalls of the primary spillway
  • · Repair/replace landscape retaining walls


The report also recommended developing a formal operations manual and emergency action plan.  

Although the dam is rated as "poor," the engineering firm does not believe the condition of dam is critical, provided that regular maintenance and repairs are continued.  John will keep the RPA board apprised of repair and maintenance plans, including the possibility of a more detailed analysis by the engineering firm, estimated to cost $10,000.  Ken, who had also reviewed the draft report, shared that the recommended modifications were estimated by Schnabel to cost about $225,000, which will have future implications for RPA funding support for the dam.  As a next step, John was asked to develop a draft short-term plan to remedy primary issues, with estimated costs, and share that for discussion at the next RPA meeting.  


Lakeside Christian Camp’s funding reimbursement request of $2,600 (which is 2/3 of the total inspection bill of $3,900), was approved, to be paid from the RPA dam maintenance fund.

Priority Projects:

Weed treatment planning, permitting & budgeting – Ken shared Town Manager Mark’s report - The RFQ for the 2018 weed treatment was posted in early March and responses were due by April 9th.  Two bids were received. The contract was awarded to Solitude and will be signed at the April 25th meeting of the BOS.  The contract for our 5-year NOI application process was signed by the BOS and will also be managed by Solitude.  Our current NOI expires on May 14th.  Mark believes it’s on the Con-Com agenda for May.  Solitude will treat prior to May 14th, just in case there is any delay in the approval.  Notifications to all abutters of the lake (within 100’) are being printed and packaged now.  They will go out within a week.

Weed treatments for Eurasian milfoil & curly-leaf pondweed treatments (late May/early June?); & spiny naiad, if needed, early August; amounts requested for the pond in town budget request = $20K boat ramp monitors; $15,595 town beach; $15K weed treatment contract); to be voted @ annual town meeting 5/16.  Also, potential July tape-grass treatment of a test area, to be paid for by RPA if the town allocation doesn’t cover it; cost is not yet known, as RFQ was requested late March.  The town will expend the full budget before requesting any additional RPA funding for treatments, but the NOI absorbed $3,000 of the weed treatment budget for this year, and it was unexpected.  It was recommended that a routine agenda item be added under Priority Projects – Status of the Canal.

Winter project reports:

1. Collaboration between RPA with the Richmond Consolidated School & perhaps Berkshire Audubon Sanctuaries for study of Richmond Pond.  Louise Brogan (lead), Susan Benner.  RPA expressed an interest in providing resources and collaboration with the Richmond School.  In talking with school staff, Louise learned that they have been working with Mass Audubon on a several module watershed and environmental education program for 5th graders that will conclude with a field trip to study Tracy Brook Wildlife Sanctuary or Richmond Pond.  The curriculum was shared with the RPA board.  The students plan to share their findings at the RPA annual picnic.  It was suggested & approved to provide up to $500 for student transportation for the related field trip(s).


2.  Explore possible partnership for the annual RPA picnic with Richmond Recreation Committee. Susan Benner (lead), Lucy Hoffman, Holly Stover.   Susan will follow up with the committee and meet with Camp Russell staff for details on what they could each provide.  RPA’s contract with Camp Russell for the July 24 event has been signed.   Initial promotion plan regarding advertising in Richmond Record was approved 11/28/17.

3.  Enhance the Richmond Pond map.  Susan Benner (lead), Ken Kelly.  RPA was delighted to learn that the City of Pittsfield can provide a GIS map of any size, including public & private swim areas, no-wake zones & related information.  Susan will coordinate with Jim on next steps.

4.  Write Richmond Pond Association Annual Report.   Cathy Deely (lead).  Generation of an annual report is noted in the Lake Management Plan.  The plan was shared & approved.  It is to be posted on the website & Facebook page, handed out @ the picnic, & used in fundraising.

5.  Review Richmond Open Space & Recreation Plan.  Ken Kelly (lead), Holly Stover.  Last year, the Richmond Board of Selectmen decided, rather than creating a new OSRP implementation committee, to request of each town committee, department or related non-profit to annually provide a progress report on implementation of “their” listed items.  The Richmond OSRP was therefore reviewed to identify stated RPA roles in the implementation of pond-related initiatives.  The resulting report provided status updates on all initiatives in which RPA was listed as a partner.  Highlighted are four priority initiatives.  Copies of the draft report were shared, for review & detailed discussion at the May RPA meeting.  It is anticipated that a final report will be endorsed by the RPA, shared with the Selectmen, & become a model for town departments & committees, thereby furthering implementation of the OSRP.

New Items:

Town Smoking Policy implementation, especially at boat launch & town beach - See April Richmond Record article & full policy on town website, Board of Health page.  Ken reported for Mark that the BOH is working with Peter Beckwith on the signage.  They wanted the full board to approve the language, so they will be discussing this at their next meeting.  The signage will only take 2-3 days to make once ordered.  The signs will be installed very soon (large signs at the beach and boat ramp, small signs at other town-owned properties).  Enforcement will be the responsibility of the BOH.

Boat launch parking fees research – Rosanne shared her research on parking fees charged at some boat launch parking areas in eastern MA, including in Westport.  Jim shared that Pittsfield recently studied whether to enact parking fees at Onota & Pontoosuc Lakes, but decided to retain its no parking fees approach for all of its town parks.  Ken shared Mark’s initial reaction to the idea – “This is something that has not been discussed with the BOS (first I’ve heard of it actually), so I can’t really comment other than to say that I think we are unable to charge for parking or entry because of the State Grants accepted for both the beach and boat ramp.  I wouldn’t expect to run this by our Town Counsel unless I was instructed to do so by the BOS.”  Rosanne will further explore this idea with Mark.

Announcements/updates:

  • The kayak/canoe launch dock has been installed for the season at the public boat launch.
  • It was reported that people having been driving their vehicles out onto the new fishing piers at the boat launch area, & access to the 2 benches there has become difficult.  There are now 3 kiosks at the boat launch, making it look cluttered & confusing – removing one might result in a less cluttered look.
  • Nordeen Marsh water level study – The initial report dated 12/19/17 covering 9/26/17 to 11/28/17 documents lake drawdown period with no resulting de-watering of the marsh.  The second data report dated 3/27/18 covering 11/29/17 to 3/22/18 documents, “Shore Road & dam monitoring locations rebounded in sync with the completion of drawdown event.  The Wetland location maintained a stable water level throughout the entirety of the drawdown event.  All stations responded with spikes in water levels occurring during significant rainfall events.”  Backup data-monitor was installed sub-surface on 1/16/18 @ no charge.
  • Sewer Users Advisory Committee – Ken reported for Mark that the Sewer Users Advisory Committee has only met once.  He tried at least twice to organize a follow-up meeting but was unable to gather a quorum.  One additional member would help this if anyone is interested.  Rosanne shared that Tom Plainter had recently volunteered to serve on this committee.  After Town Meeting, Mark will try to convene a meeting.
  • Status of UMass pond drawdown study of Richmond Pond – Results are expected late 2018.
  • Jim reported that the planned pilot project at Onota Lake of the Geosyntech watershed management plan development software did not receive funding, so will not be happening.
  • Facebook page updates – Carl reported on photos posted & # of views, & encouraged others to post photos, as it increases activity.
  • Website updates - Ken has updated the contact list of RPA members & calendar items.  Dates of Camp Russell’s chili/chowder festival & fishing derbies will be added soon.
  • Richmond Conservation Commission perspectives – (No report)
  • Proposed Zoning Bylaw - Short-term rentals – Ken (for Mark) shared highlights & referred people to the summary on Town Website homepage; this will impact non-resident cottagers who rent out their cottage for 1-30 days.  It will be on the warrant for approval at the Annual Town Meeting on May 16.
  • Memorial Day Parade – Rosanne, who serves as chair of the parade committee, invited all to attend the parade, which starts at 8:00 am at the Firehouse & progresses to the Richmond School, where all the festivities will occur.  Deval Patrick plans to participate. 


Next meeting – May 22, 2018 – Town Hall

Directors Present:  Ken Kelly, president (independent cottages), Susan Benner, vice president (Whitewood); Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Cathy Deely, secretary (South Pond); Rosanne Frieri (Richmond Shores); Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell); Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield); John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp)

Alternates Present:  Louise Brogan (Branch Farm); Linda Kay (Richmond Shores); Kitty Levitan (Whitewood); Al Nardacci (independent cottages)

Directors Absent:  Nick Martinelli (Richmond Conservation Commission); Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores); Mark Pruhenski (Richmond Town Administrator)

Alternates Absent:  Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell); Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm); Lucy Hoffman (independent/public); Jesse Kellam (Lakeside Christian Camp); Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores); Joe McGovern (Camp Russell); John O’Brien (Branch Farm); Adam Weinberg (Richmond Conservation Commission)

Guests:  John Scorpa (Richmond Shores); Holly Stover (Founding member of RPA)

2018 Minutes of the

Richmond Pond Association

                                                               MINUTES

                                               Richmond Pond Association
                                               Tuesday, September 25, 2018
                                                       Richmond Town Hall


RPA Business:

Quorum present; meeting called to order. Two items were moved forward on the agenda - Evaluation of Richmond Pond Use for paddle segment of Josh Billing Triathlon and Keeping all Mass lakes healthy (Stockbridge Bowl algae bloom), as we have 2 guests here for those items, one of whom has another commitment. Introduced were Neal Pilson, Chair, Richmond Board of Selectmen and Lou Oggiani from Josh Billings Race Committee, sitting in for Patty Spector.

Evaluation of Richmond Pond use for paddle segment of Josh Billings Triathlon:

Ken talked with Patty Spector, race director, Sunday – She expressed heavy appreciation for the help provided by the Town and RPA in “saving” this year’s race. Plan is to return to Stockbridge Bowl next year, in part for spectator access, but fine-tune a “backup plan” for Richmond Pond while it’s all fresh.

Lou expressed great appreciation for the association’s work on short notice. The race committee intends to return to Stockbridge Bowl, but would like to keep other options open due to the nebulous situation at that lake caused by years of misuse. He indicated that, if the Josh should return to Richmond Pond, he would hope to be able to use Lakeside Christian Camp’s property for spectators.

Mark noted that the Town of Richmond was very enthusiastic. The Richmond Highway Department, despite being down one crew member, did an excellent job preparing the roads. Information dispersal, however, created an early problem.

Neal expressed his gratitude, and also noted that the state of Stockbridge Bowl has made him consider speaking to state representatives about a statewide plan for lakes, so as to help prevent a similar problem at Richmond Pond.

Rosanne, giving the perspective from Richmond Shores, noted that the committee ran the race well. One issue in which a resident motorist was unable to get through was noted, but all in all the traffic control was rated good. A concern was registered by Holly that the retention basin at Camp Russell was not being maintained.

John noted that Lakeside would be open to assist if the race should take place on Richmond Pond again, but also that they book groups months in advance and may therefore be occupied.

Carl noted that there were some transportation issues for the racers and too many cars in the vicinity of the pond.

Kitty indicated that the residents of Whitewood were pleased and enjoyed watching the race.

Summary:

       Pros - Clean lake; great support from Richmond and Josh committee.
       Cons - Lack of viewer access; could be addressed by shuttle bus from parking @ Tanglewood or from Balderdash, to Camp Russell &/or Lakeside Christian Camp.


Keeping all W. Mass. lakes healthy (Stockbridge Bowl algae bloom, etc.) – Carl noted that the water chemistry of Richmond Pond had changed after the installation of the sewer system. However, the problem of the large flock of Canada geese still needs to be dealt with in conjunction with the Richmond Board of Health. Treatment of invasive aquatic plants – first Eurasian milfoil and curly-leaf pondweed, and now spiny naiad – has been mostly taken over by the Town of Richmond. A potential future problem is native tapegrass. Carl noted that the tapegrass dragged on a kayak during the Josh Billings. 

It was noted that the LAPA-West Berkshire lakes organization symposium was postponed until November.

Discussion/action on proposed By-laws amendments (see below & separate rationale), presented by Ken

Proposed By-laws Amendments:

  • ​​In Para 2.02.01, change the name of the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Pittsfield (Camp Russell) to Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires (Camp Russell), to reflect their recent name change. The motion was carried unanimously.


  • Add the following paragraph to Para. 2.02.01: “There may one or two additional "at-large" directors, who may come from any of the 7 constituencies mentioned above. They would be appointed, following written application, by majority vote of the directors then in office.”


John suggested that the director be a resident of a member organization, and also floated the idea that each organization should add two representatives. Ken noted that many residents were seasonal, and that the purpose behind the amendment was to expand options for an eligible candidate for secretary. The initial motion carried 4-1.

Appointment of At-Large Director(s) & election of a Secretary – Matthew Palardy had volunteered in writing to serve as at-large director and was unanimously approved. He then volunteered to serve as Secretary, which was also unanimously approved.

8/28/18 minutes – The minutes of the August meeting were unanimously approved.

Treasurer’s report – Carl reported $44,843 in all accounts, $14,214 of which is in the Dam Maintenance Account. All dues for 2018-2019 fiscal year have been collected. $225 donations received since last meeting. None had yet been received from the solicitation letter given to Josh participants. There have been $8,065 donations to date; last year final number was $7,900. Annual report due to the state of Massachusetts due 10/31 has been drafted and is being reviewed. Last year’s expenses exceeded income due to the investment in the water level monitoring equipment for Nordeen Marsh and the canal.

Priority Projects:

1.      Weeds – update on tape grass options – Carl has requested a report from Solitude on the 30-day post-treatment assessment after the August spot treatment of 30 plus acres. No report yet. Carl also shared a note from Josh Perry, Environmental Specialist, Solitude Lake Management: There are some management options for tapegrass which can be performed moving forward. We would recommend focusing on smaller, high recreational use areas for treatment. Tapegrass is a beneficial native species, which provides habitat for fish and other aquatic life. We can monitor the growth next year, and provide some pricing for treatment of priority areas next year. We would also have to go in front of the Conservation Commission to request use for an alternative herbicide which is used on the tapegrass.

2.     Status of Canal – Rosanne noted that the water was high and stagnant. It was brown in color, and many weeds were present. Carl kayaked the canal Sunday, 9/23 and observed clearer water visibility; it has been cloudy all summer. He also observed partially breached beaver dam & some Spiny Naiad and Milfoil; this was reported to Solitude. The beavers are apparently not rebuilding the beaver dam.

3.     Update on short-term dam remediation action plan & costs – John noted that the dam was inspected in fall 2017. The upstream retaining wall has been replaced. A draft Emergency Action Plan was submitted to an engineer for review and will also be sent to Jim McGrath with the City of Pittsfield. An Operations & Maintenance Procedure is being drafted, with completion expected November 2018. Brush and saplings were cut back, and Lakeside is seeking a permit to cut dead or dying trees. The primary spillway will receive a concrete patch in December. An epoxy fill on a crack is also needed. A corner on the auxiliary spillway is deteriorated and will be repaired in December. Quotes are being sought for auxiliary retaining walls repair/replacement. John indicated that no financial support from RPA for dam-related work is yet being requested. He also reported that they had not yet hired a new property manager.

New Items:

Development of all-pond goose management strategy – Jessica reported that Steven is pursuing contact with Eric Johnson of Wild Goose Chase on this matter, but has not yet received a response.

Should RPA encourage Town of Richmond participation in Community Preservation Act? – Mark indicates that the Selectmen are not considering this at this time. Holly opined that raising money for the sewer debt is more important, and that CPA is more of a matter for the Land Trust than for the RPA. Ken noted that he will bring this matter to them.

Announcements/updates:

LAPA-West Symposium has been postponed until November, but new date is not yet confirmed.
Collaboration between RPA with Richmond Consolidated School & Berkshire Audubon Sanctuaries for study of Richmond Pond – Louise reported that eight lessons are planned this fall regarding water keeping. The Mass Audubon teacher who would instruct those classes is out until October 1.  
Sewer Users Advisory Committee – Mark reported that they have met 4 or 5 times, and Andy Kay is chair. The Committee has requested financial assistance from the Town of Richmond to address a shortfall in the sewer fund and may raise an Article by Petition at the Special Town Meeting.
Tracy Brook Wildlife Sanctuary update – Ken – Falling tree hanging over Swamp Road was addressed by the Town; barrier posts requested last year by Mass Audubon have still not been installed by Town. Mark will bring this matter to the attention of the Richmond Highway Department.
Facebook page & website updates – Carl & Ken posted on both platforms details about the relocation of the Josh to Richmond Pond, reaching 150 Facebook “friends” & about 50 website subscribers.
Winter project ideas – This will be a primary topic for the October meeting.

Next meeting–Tuesday, October 23, 2018 – Town Hall (last scheduled meeting of 2018)


Directors Present:  Ken Kelly, president (independent cottages), Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm); Rosanne Frieri (Richmond Shores); John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp); Mark Pruhenski (Richmond Town Administrator)

Alternates Present:   Louise Brogan (Branch Farm); Kitty Levitan (Whitewood); Matthew Palardy (independent/public)

Guests Present:  Lou Oggiani (Josh Billings Race Committee); Neal Pilson (Richmond Board of Selectmen); John Scorpa (Richmond Shores); Holly Stover (East Road, Richmond); Chris Thomson (Richmond Shores)

Directors Absent:  Susan Benner, vice president (Whitewood); Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell); Nick Martinelli (Richmond Conservation Commission); Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield)

Alternates Absent:  Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell); Lucy Hoffman (independent/public); Linda Kay (Richmond Shores); Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores); Joe McGovern (Camp Russell); Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores); Al Nardacci (independent cottages); John O’Brien (Branch Farm); Adam Weinberg (Richmond Conservation Commission)

                                                         MINUTES

                                          Richmond Pond Association

                                               Tuesday, May 22, 2018


RPA Business:


Minutes – Minutes of 4/24/18 were approved following reading of revised section on the dam inspection report submitted by Lakeside Christian Camp.

Treasurer’s report – Carl reported that as of 5/21 we have $38,461 in all accounts with $10,192 in the dam maintenance account.  Since the last meeting there has been no income and we have reimbursed Lakeside Christian Camp $2,600 to help fund the recent dam inspection.  $170 was also spent to print the updated brochures for our kiosk at the boat launch. 

Carl presented an itemized proposed 2018-2019 fiscal year budget totaling $10,885.  Projected revenue is $11,940 ($10,000 donations, $1,860 membership dues & $80 interest).  Major expenses include $3,200 for year two of Nordeen Marsh water level study, $2,600 estimated additional weed treatment, $1,000 annual all-town picnic/annual meeting, $700 water quality monitoring, & up to $500 for Richmond school bus for Pond field trip.  Last year’s budget was $15,355, though actual expenses are $18,086 to date, given the unanticipated expenditure of $2,600 toward the dam inspection.  A discussion ensued about reduction in revenues (low participation from Richmond Shores).  Following discussion, the budget was approved.

Priority Projects:

Weed treatment permitting & budgeting; date of treatment & notifications – Mark reported that no date had been set yet as the weeds are not far enough along; the Notice of Intent was renewed. When the date is set, posters will be displayed, notifications will go onto the Town website and Facebook page and he will notify RPA to communicate to subscribers & put a notice on the RPA home page.  RPA has not yet received but anticipates soon an estimated cost for tapegrass treatment of a test area. 

Status of Canal – Rosanne reported that it is weedy & stagnant, but one can still paddle through it.  A year ago, she tried to start a task force to take an interest in the canal, but there was no interest in anyone taking the lead. A brief and general discussion followed about alternatives to maintaining a clear and healthy canal, including dredging or hydro-raking.  Roseanne will study options further, including monitoring the Stockbridge Bowl deep drawdown & dredging plan which is currently stalled relating to a non-listed snail.

Short-term dam remediation action plan – No report was presented, as there was no representation from Lakeside, so this item was tabled.  (NOTE - John submitted an update the next day that will be reviewed at the June meeting.)

Summer picnic planning & role of Recreation Committee – The primary purpose of the annual picnic is to raise awareness about the pond.  Susan reported that she met with the Richmond Recreation Committee and that they decided not to cosponsor or provide volunteers.  Estimated attendance for the July 24 event is 150.  Lakeside: burgers; hire Camp Russell staff for pond-side activity; pontoon boats were identified as well as tour guides; Louise will handle kids’ games; Town of Richmond will provide lifeguards; similar music to last year will be provided (student musicians); better sound system will be sought for RPA & Camp Russell staff remarks. Looking into ice cream.  Bottled water will be provided.  While there was no representation today from Camp Russell, it was known that they are reconstructing the bathrooms, which will need to be ready before camp opens.  Event timing will be: Setup – 4 pm, Public arrives – 5 pm, Dinner served & beach closed – 6:15 pm, Event ends – 8 pm.  Susan is the lead planner; volunteers are needed for many roles.

RPA roles in implementation of Richmond Open Space & Recreation Plan & related action steps – Ken shared that the intent of this report is to comply with the expectation set by the Richmond Select Board last year that each entity charged with full or shared implementation responsibility for one or more components of the Richmond Open Space & Recreation Plan will prepare & submit an annual progress report.  This requirement was set to ensure that the OSRP would remain an active guide for related implementation actions.

Mark shared that he appreciated this first of other hoped-for reports regarding Plan follow-up.  A motion passed to endorse the document, with an instruction that it be shared with the Richmond Select Board and the Conservation Commissions of Richmond and Pittsfield.

New Items:

Action on proposed zoning regulation of short-term rentals – Mark reported that a revised regulation passed at Annual Town Meeting and can be found on the Town website.  Implementation will follow after Attorney General approval, likely in August.

Requesting an RPA page in Richmond Annual Town Report – Cathy asked whether RPA could have a page in the Report to highlight the pond as a public asset & acknowledge the investments by the Town and RPA.  Mark agreed & indicated that RPA material would be due February 1, 2019.

Initiating Community Preservation Act participation – Ken reported that Holly plans to explore this with town officials & others.  The City of Pittsfield just passed it.  One of the four categories for State matching funds is conservation of land.

Announcements/updates:

  • RPA Annual Report – next steps (already on website & in April Richmond Record) – Cathy indicated that it will also be available at the annual picnic.
  • Collaboration between RPA with Richmond Consolidated School & Berkshire Audubon Sanctuaries for study of Richmond Pond – Louise reported that she believes the pond studies have been postponed until the fall due to Mass Audubon staff & school staff availability.  It was agreed that the RPA funds that are already allocated for the school bus trip are available to assist in any other related way.
  • Enhance Richmond Pond map (include private & public swim areas, no-wake zones) – Jim presented a draft map put together by the City.  Some additions & corrections need to be made.  A final version will be developed with Susan’s input & then reviewed & posted, likely on large UV protected paper, plus perhaps smaller versions for renters & others.
  • Boat launch parking fees research update – As part of a short discussion about what is done in Westport, Mashpee, Lee & Pittsfield, Mark indicated that since Richmond receives state funds for the beach & boat launch, access cannot be restricted, so parking fees are not an option.
  • Sewer Users Advisory Committee – Mark reported that a quorum has not yet been achieved, though he has obtained an additional volunteer.  He has done a Doodle poll to arrange a joint meeting of the Sewer Commission & Advisory Committee.
  • Brochure update – Ken reported that 100 copies of an updated brochure had been made at a cost of $170, for distribution at the boat launch kiosk, Bartlett’s Orchard, annual town meeting & RPA picnic.
  • Website updates – Ken added the July 13 date of the Chili & Chowder Fest at Camp Russell with a link to details (6 pm to 11 pm, $25, 21 & older only).  He was asked to update some of the website photos.
  • Richmond Conservation Commission perspectives – No report.


Any update items, of interest to all, from each camp & community association:

  • Ken reported, for Holly, that BNRC now has an agreement with Berkshire Farm to purchase about 300 acres of property on Perry’s Peak in Richmond.
  • Rich Levy has granted perpetual rights to RPA to continue monitoring Tracy Brook on their former Camp Marion White property.
  • Ken shared that as of today, 6 members of the RPA Board are still not active website subscribers, so are not regularly receiving minutes, agendas or pond-related alerts.  They are: Cathy, Rosanne, Dan, Joe, Don & Jessica.  They were encouraged to sign up on the website.


Next meeting – June 26, 2018 – Town Hall

Directors Present:  Ken Kelly, president (independent cottages), Susan Benner, vice president (Whitewood); Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Cathy Deely, secretary (South Pond); Rosanne Frieri (Richmond Shores); Mark Pruhenski (Richmond Town Administrator)
Alternates Present:   Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm); Lucy Hoffman (independent/public); Kitty Levitan (Whitewood);
Guests Present:  John Scorpa (Richmond Shores)

Directors Absent:  Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell); Nick Martinelli (Richmond Conservation Commission); Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield); John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp); Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores)
Alternates Absent:  Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell); Louise Brogan (Branch Farm); Linda Kay (Richmond Shores); Don Hathaway (Lakeside Christian Camp); Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores); Joe McGovern (Camp Russell); Al Nardacci (independent cottages); John O’Brien (Branch Farm); Adam Weinberg (Richmond Conservation Commission) 


                                   DRAFT MINUTES - Richmond Pond Association
                                                 Tuesday, October 23, 2018
                                                      Richmond Town Hall


RPA Business:

Quorum; Meeting called to order at 5:30 pm. New alternate for South Pond Farm, Laura Rosenthal, was introduced.


Minutes - 9/25/18 minutes unanimously approved.


Meeting schedule for 2019 – Dates would be 4/23, 5/21, 6/25, 7/23, 8/27, 9/24 & 10/22. The third Thursday was chosen for May due to members possibly being out of town for the Memorial Day holiday. Also, the June or July date might be the picnic, but to be discussed later. All dates were available at Richmond Town Hall, and the meeting dates were unanimously approved.


Treasurer’s report – Carl reported that balance in all accounts is $45,044, including $14,214 in the dam maintenance fund.  We have received $8,570 in individual donations to date, compared to the $7,900 we received in donations throughout all of 2017. He also recommended that we vote to approve committing funds to pay for year #3 of the ESS Group water level monitoring contract with the Town of Richmond, for $3,200, so that the Town could approve a 2-year contract for the remainder of the 3-year project, knowing that the funding is committed from RPA. (Year #2 cost of $3,200 has already been committed, with this spring’s approval of our 2018-19 annual budget.)  Mark indicates that he will bill the Association as the Town gets billed in order to avoid accounting difficulties due to the Town’s fiscal year. The measure was approved unanimously.

Priority Projects:

Weeds – update on tape grass options – Carl reported that Brea (one of Solitude’s biologists) performed the year end survey on October 1st.  She noted, as Carl had mentioned previously, that there was an overwhelming amount of growth of tapegrass. This has historically been a non-target species, however with the amount of growth this season, perhaps this is something that should be targeted in future seasons.  Other than that, things seemed to be in good shape. She didn’t note any re-growth of treated non-native species (Milfoil, curly-leaf pondweed), which is an encouraging sign. There were a few other native species present such as coontail, thin-leaf pondweed species, and some elodea. A more detailed Year-End Report, which will elaborate on everything above, is expected in November as she is still finishing up field work.

Status of Canal & Solitude’s hydro-raking webinar – Carl and Ken have viewed this webinar & have shared it with Rosanne, who will share this with other Richmond Shores residents. The estimated cost for this is between $40,000 and $50,000, not including removal of debris to off-site disposal.

Update on short-term dam remediation action plan & costs – John reported repairs are proceeding as reported last month.  The front right corner auxiliary spillway will be repaired during the drawdown. If seepage does not stop, an engineer will be consulted. He indicated that he’s not submitting a funding request to RPA at this time, but expects needing help next year with the planned installation of rip-rap along the earthen part of the dam which has eroded from wave action.

New Items:

Dam water level management proposal from Housatonic Valley Association – John shared that Michele Craddish & Kate Benson of Mass Fish & Game, Division of Ecological Restoration, and Dennis Regan of Housatonic Valley Assn. met yesterday with John at Lakeside (Carl & Ken also attended) to propose the adoption of a dam management guidance document (water release plan) that would stabilize outflow into the main headwater creek of the Southwest Branch of the Housatonic River, in the interest of preserving natural conditions for flora & fauna living in the creek. Unlike several other artificially dammed lakes in the Berkshires, Richmond Pond has already been managing outflow during drawdown and refill to gradually adjust permitted lake levels, thereby preventing sudden gushes or a dry streambed, while maintaining recreational pond levels during the summer season. The goal of their proposal is to as much as possible mimic natural rainfall impacts on the stream.

Mass Fish & Game will install a water level gauge shortly below the dam, collect a year’s worth of data, & also study the pond level data that RPA is sharing with them from the ESS Group monitoring program. With regard to water quality, they shared data from their own 2017 & 2018 samplings of water for E. coli at many points along the Southwest Branch; the six readings in 2017 at the dam were so low (2 to 21.6) that they discontinued sampling at the dam for 2018!  Michele also mentioned that there’s a MA dam & seawall program that can provide partial funding for dam repairs or removals. It requires a 25% match. She will send related information about it to John.

Development of all-pond goose management strategy – Steven, John – In Steven’s absence, Laura read the entire 10/8/18 proposal to Steven Schnoll (South Pond Farm) from Eric Johnson of Wild Goose Chase NE, utilizing trained border collies.  Fees would be $65 per half hour with most visits in the 2-hour range ($260), with likely several visits/week.  There would be two components - Spring to discourage nesting, with an option 1 and option 2, and summer to haze, chase (herd-chase) families/flocks of geese.  A power boat & kayak would have to be provided by the client.

Other factors relating to goose control were mentioned by others:

  • Most nesting is in inaccessible marshes.
  • Inability of adults to fly during molting season (while goslings are young); shoreline fencing &/or thick shoreline vegetation buffers keep birds off grass during this period.
  • Don’t have lawns – having a lawn invites the geese onto it & to Richmond Pond.
  • Hunting, with limited pond access, is unlikely to have a major impact.  There are 2 seasons; Canada goose bag limit = 15 daily in early season 9/4 to 9/21; bag limit = 3 daily in regular season 10/10 to 11/24 & 12/3 to 12/13.
  • Liquid goose repellents made from non-toxic grape extracts, fencing systems, and predator decoys were also discussed, but goose strobe lights were discouraged.
  • A cost-sharing plan would have to be developed, likely involving both camps, the community associations, the town and RPA.


Carl stressed the need for a pond-wide goose-control plan, & there appeared to be support for RPA to contribute something toward the effort. A concern was expressed about how much financial support RPA should provide, given the pending possible costs of dam repair, also noting that some areas of the pond have thus far been minimally impacted (Whitewood & Branch Farm).

Identification of winter projects & staffing of project teams – It was determined that goose control and management should be a winter priority. John, Sue, Laura, and Matt agreed to form a group, chaired by John, to study this issue and make recommendations to the board at an RPA meeting scheduled for Thursday, January 8. An educational component will be considered, and community organizations and the Richmond Conservation Commission will be asked for input.

Keeping all W. Mass. lakes healthy (Stockbridge Bowl algae bloom, etc.) – Carl reported that he expects this will be addressed at the LAPA-West Symposium.

Capturing the history of the dam, canal, town beach, weed treatment, the camps, etc. & collaboration with Richmond Library history project, Richmond Historical Commission & others – Ken shared his initial outreach to Gloria Morse (Historical Commission) & Candy Mountain (Library). Ken and Matt will research these areas, involving other individuals, & prepare drafts for spring review.

Development of annual report 2018 – Matt volunteered to do this.

Announcements/updates:

  • LAPA-West Symposium – Saturday, November 17, 8:45 am to 1:20 pm @ BCC (free) – All are welcome to attend.  (NOTE – Because of facilities issues at BCC, the Symposium has been relocated to the Zion Lutheran Church, 74 First St., Pittsfield.)
  • Update from Josh Billings Committee – Ken reported that after the Josh, Patty Spector met with the Selectmen to solicit feedback, as did Lou Oggiani with RPA. Josh Committee held their evaluation meeting & more kudos to Town of Richmond & RPA for our extensive cooperation. They intend to return to Stockbridge Bowl, but want to fine-tune their Richmond Pond back-up plan in the case of future need.
  • Winter draw-down plan (starts November 1st) – John has been in touch with Jim on this and is awaiting the City permit. He advised an email to website subscribers, some of whom still have boats on the water. Refill will start in mid-February, with the pond to be full by April 1.
  • Collaboration between RPA with Richmond Consolidated School & Berkshire Audubon Sanctuaries for study of Richmond Pond - Susan will talk to Don about property access through Whitewood. Mark will write the Town’s insurer about potential liability to property owners.
  • Sewer Users Advisory Committee – Mark reported that the committee is working with town treasurer to develop a plan to address the sewer enterprise fund shortfall. He has advised that the committee deal with the shortfall gradually over time rather than asking for a significant amount up front.
  • Upcoming Special Town meeting Tuesday, October 30, 6:00 pm, Town Hall.
  • Farm function zoning bylaw amendment concerning the need for a permit for amplified sound between 10 am & 11 pm.
  • 11th annual Pancake Breakfast, Sat., Nov. 17, 7-10 am, Richmond Congregational Church, 1515 State Road, $5 adults; $3 age 10 & under, to benefit Richmond Food & Fuel Fund.
  • Tracy Brook Wildlife Sanctuary update – Richmond DPW has installed barrier posts between parking pull-off & beaver pond for safety reasons.
  • Facebook page & website updates – Carl posted several photos, with mixed results.  Ken posted a notice about lake draw-down & Josh photos on home page& also posted last month’s bylaws change.
  • Richmond Conservation Commission perspectives – Mark reported that money has been set aside for 50 years to buy conservation land, but that has never been acted upon. The commission is now considering a purchase.


Any update items, of interest to all, from each camp & community association

  • Branch Farm will be closing its access gate on November 1.


Meeting adjourned 7:00 pm.

Next meeting – Tuesday, January 8, 2018 – Town Hall (to review first draft of a pond-wide goose management plan)

Directors Present:  Ken Kelly, president (independent cottages), Susan Benner, vice president (Whitewood); Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Matthew Palardy, secretary (independent/public); John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp); Mark Pruhenski (Richmond Town Administrator)

Alternates Present: Laura Rosenthal (South Pond Farm)

Guests Present: Neal Pilson (Richmond Board of Selectmen);

Directors Absent:  Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm); Rosanne Frieri (Richmond Shores); Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell); Nick Martinelli (Richmond Conservation Commission); Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield)

Alternates Absent:  Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell); Louise Brogan (Branch Farm); Lucy Hoffman (independent/public); Linda Kay (Richmond Shores); Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores); Kitty Levitan (Whitewood); Joe McGovern (Camp Russell); Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores); Al Nardacci (independent cottages); John O’Brien (Branch Farm); Adam Weinberg (Richmond Conservation Commission)