DRAFT MINUTES - Richmond Pond Association
                                 Special Meeting - Tuesday, February 26, 2019
                                                   Richmond Town Hall

Call to Order: 5:30 pm
RPA Business

Minutes for the regular meeting of October 23, 2018 were unanimously approved.

The 2018 annual report was unanimously approved.

Treasurer’s report – Ken (for Carl) – As of today, balance in all accounts was $47,475, including the $14,248 in the dam maintenance fund.  While our budget for fiscal year 2019-2020 won't be presented & approved until later this spring, we can afford the proposed RPA financial commitment outlined in the Goose Management Plan budget that will shortly be explained, especially as the Town of Richmond proposed budget for 2019 again includes the funding for weed management & boat ramp monitors.

Priority Projects:

All-Pond Goose Management Plan – Discussion of draft & approval – John outlined how the plan was developed, walking attendees through the plan and its financial parameters. Referring to our goose management plan, he noted conversations with other lake and pond associations about this issue and how different solutions would be needed for the specific situation of Richmond Pond.

Eric and border collie Skye of Wild Goose Chase NE were introduced to share their experiences elsewhere. Eric noted that he uses farm-based border collies due to their strong herding instinct and their weaker bite. He and Skye provided a brief demonstration of herd-chasing, a tactic they use to control geese at country clubs, school facilities, and the public lands of numerous municipalities. He noted marked reduction in flocks of 200-300 geese over periods of 2-3 years, but that Richmond Pond was difficult to assess due to the number of marshes, and that he anticipated returning in future years.

An open conversation followed, in which Ken raised the possibility of feeding the geese contraceptives, to which Kris replied that he had used this method at Niagara Falls Airport. Kris also commented that he had used bio-acoustics for goose control there, but that this was not likely feasible on Richmond Pond. Ken and Jim spoke about Pontoosuc Lake Association volunteers harassing geese and addling eggs in their nesting sites on the islands in Pontoosuc Lake. Eric mentioned that no permit was necessary for the harassment of geese, but that permits for addling eggs were the responsibility of the owner of the property on which the geese nested. Property owners are also responsible for keeping & reporting data, and Ken floated the idea that the RPA collect and report all data on the behalf of the property owners.

A list of property owners on whose land geese may nest had been developed, including: the Town of Richmond, the Boys & Girls Club, Lakeside Christian Camp, Richmond Shores property owners, InterPrint, the Levy property (the former Camp Marion White), CSX, the owner of the strip of land between Balderdash Cellars Winery and InterPrint, and the owner of Mud Pond (off of Tamarack Road near the Pittsfield Airport). Ken noted that the Massachusetts Audubon Society was not amenable to harassment or addling efforts at Tracy Brook Wildlife Sanctuary.

Sue brought up the idea of using natural barriers such as fencing or shrubbery. Peter discouraged fencing due to experiences at the public beach. Ron noted that native plants used as barriers require no special permit, but other habitat modifications might. Kitty brought up the idea of grass treatment, but this is not listed on the state’s approved list of control methods.

At the end of the conversation, the following motion was made & seconded:

"Motion to approve the 2/21/19 all-pond goose management plan, including budget provisions as follows - The contract with Wild Goose Chase NE will be signed by & operationally managed by Lakeside Christian Camp, with the understanding that RPA commits to cover 50% of the maximum contract cost of $12,480.  Contract language will specify that billings are to be sent to Treasurer, Richmond Pond Association, PO Box 447, Lenox, MA 01240, with a copy to Lakeside Christian Camp.  Pending reimbursement to RPA by the 5 PIPOs (primary impact property owners) of their 10% each contribution, RPA will also cover the other 50% of the contract cost, so that bills from Wild Goose Chase NE can be paid in a timely fashion."

Susan proposed an amendment (which was not seconded), making this motion contingent on all five PIPOs committing to pay. Ken commented that this would likely postpone plan implementation until 2020. Susan withdrew her motion. Paul noted before voting that some Richmond Shores Community Association members are not partial to contracting with Wild Goose Chase. Ken asked for a sense of those present, including those not on the RPA board, whether they supported the plan; all did.

The initial motion was approved unanimously by the RPA board.


  • Richmond Pond History Project update (winter project) – Ken reported that he’d communicated with Gloria Morse, chairperson of Richmond Historical Commission, & met with her after she’d already done some research & writing; they then merged their 2 draft outlines (see handout).  Holly Stover & Gloria are writing additional segments; Ken will provide items lifted from the website; Matt has volunteered to research & write some “missing pieces.”  The Historical Commission has assumed leadership for the project, with RPA in a support role.  Printing costs & purchase price have yet to be determined, though a possible printer that specializes in small runs has been identified; more details to be provided at April RPA meeting.
  • Stockbridge Bowl & related developments – Ken shared that he’d provided a letter to Will Laidlaw, president of Stockbridge Bowl Association, outlining our successful experience with aquatic herbicides, which was shared by the SBA with Stockbridge Conservation Commission at their 1/22/19 hearing on the matter.  SBA has subsequently appealed ConCom’s decision to prohibit use of herbicides there. Berkshire County League of Sportsmen has publicly expressed their opposition to herbicides in Stockbridge Bowl (their letter was forwarded from Jim McGrath).  The RPA exec board considered responding to the League of Sportsmen, but does not plan to comment further publicly. Matt raised the idea of a letter to the court in the case of litigation, but this was deemed unnecessary in the light of previous correspondence.
  • Spring pond re-fill plan – John noted that refill has already started as of mid-February, with the pond already nearly full, to be completely full by April 1.
  • Lake Garfield cyanobacteria (Blue-green) monitoring plan – Ken reported that Friends of Lake Garfield has committed to buying a hand-held fluorometer & hiring staff to monitor these bacteria real-time weekly, June-September. Other local lakes have been invited to participate. When we know more, including cost, we may participate in this effort.
  • Website - Ken reported expense of $504.26 for 3-year contract, with discounts, for updated GoDaddy URL renewal & software with SSL security feature, on which he will re-build the RPA website, before the April meeting; content suggestions & photos are welcome.
  • Summer picnic – Susan noted a need to firm up date of all-town summer picnic (6/25 or 7/23) at the April RPA meeting.
  • Town Administrator update – Ken noted plans for Mark Pruhenski to become joint town administrator for both Richmond & W. Stockbridge.

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

  • Susan noted that language in Richmond’s proposed regulation on the public use of buildings (including the boat ramp) banning dogs was still present in the draft she had seen before the School Committee.  Ken commented that he’d discussed this concern with Mark, who clarified that the boat ramp was included in the draft regulation in error, & would be removed; dogs will be allowed at the boat ramp.

Adjournment: 7:00 pm

Next meeting – Tuesday, April 23, 2019 – Town Hall (first regularly scheduled meeting of 2019)

Directors Present:  Ken Kelly, president (independent cottages), Susan Benner, vice president (Whitewood); Matthew Palardy, secretary (independent/public); Rosanne Frieri (Richmond Shores); Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield); John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp)

Alternates Present: Kitty Levitan (Whitewood); Laura Rosenthal (South Pond Farm); John O’Brien (Branch Farm)

Guests Present: Peter Beckwith (Dir. of Public Works, Town of Richmond); Paul Brown (Richmond Shores); Miles Garfinkel (Richmond Shores); Christian Hanson (Balderdash Cellars Winery); Eric Johnson (Wild Goose Chase NE; with his dog Skye); Kris Keane (Pittsfield Airport); Paula & Stevan Patterson (Richmond Shores); Tom Sakshaug (Pittsfield Airport Commission and Conservation Commission); Daniel Scorpa (Richmond Conservation Commission); Rob Van Der Kar (Pittsfield Conservation Agent); Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission)

Directors Absent: Carl Foote, treasurer (Branch Farm); Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm); Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell); Nick Martinelli (Richmond Conservation Commission); Mark Pruhenski (Richmond Town Administrator)

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