The Richmond Pond Association, Inc. (RPA) is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2000 from a committee representing the Town of Richmond Conservation Commission, the City of Pittsfield Conservation Commission, the Boys’ & Girls’ Club of Pittsfield (now the Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires), the Western Massachusetts Girl Scouts’ Council (now the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts), and Lakeside Christian Camp (Northeast Baptist Conference). All are non-profit organizations or governmental bodies that, together with a few homeowners, held a common concern about the health and vitality of Richmond Pond. Nestled in the heart of the Berkshire Hills and shared by the Town of Richmond and City of Pittsfield, Richmond Pond is a 218 acre lake.
Cursor down this page for a description of What We Do, and a list of the volunteer RPA board members and our contact information. Please feel free to contact us with your questions and suggestions.
Further down the page are our two most recent Annual Reports.
How to Donate, Our Budget, and how to Stay Informed are found at the bottom of this page.
For Current News, including details on the Goose Management Plan, click on the News page in the above menu. See Calendar page for upcoming meetings & events.
Since its creation, the RPA has conducted a volunteer water quality monitoring program to regularly take test samples for analysis of the lake and its four tributaries, from June through September. It also raises funds for the monitoring and control of invasive, exotic aquatic vegetation through draw-down and aquatic herbicide treatments. The RPA creates displays, postings, pamphlets and newspaper articles to provide public information and education about the Pond and related environmental issues. The RPA has engaged local school children in a bumper sticker contest and watershed education. Public education is an ongoing process, as are all the RPA activities to improve the water quality of Richmond Pond.
Clean Water - The RPA has also been working to identify and mitigate impact from storm water runoff that causes erosion, sedimentation and lake pollution. In 2002, the Town of Richmond was awarded a matching grant under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act of 1987, in the form of federal funds administered in Massachusetts by the Department of Environmental Protection and awarded to towns to control non-point sources of water pollution. The RPA worked in cooperation with the Town of Richmond for the 60/40 match, providing volunteer manpower to do much of the necessary work planting trees, bushes, monitoring the installation of drop inlets (catch basins), providing rip-rap to storm water erosion channels, monitoring the construction of detention basins, and working with engineers who designed the structures. The grant was issued to the town. No funds were received or expended by the Richmond Pond Association.
Sewers replace septic tanks - As part of this effort, a sewer system was also installed, serving all of the cottages and camps around the Richmond side of the lake (those in Pittsfield were already served by sewers). The septic systems, some of which had been leaching into the lake, were all de-commissioned as hookups to the sewer system were completed in 2006 and 2007. The water quality of the pond, as documented by the RPA’s water monitoring, improved substantially.
Communication - The RPA provides a forum for interaction between the major stakeholders at the Pond and allows a coordinated response for environmental issues facing the pond. Its focus on public education also helps bring about the goal of permanently protecting and preserving our beautiful Richmond Pond. As part of that effort, the RPA regularly updates this website, and periodically updates its brochure, which is available at the Richmond Town Hall, the boat launch ramp kiosk, Bartlett’s Orchard and in response to requests.
Ken Kelly, President Independent cottages firstname.lastname@example.org
(413) 329-9678 (cell)
Louise Brogan, Vice President At Large email@example.com
Doreen Donovan, Secretary Richmond Shores Civic Association
(413) 441-7455 (cell) firstname.lastname@example.org
Carl Foote, Treasurer Branch Farm Association email@example.com
(413) 441-9742 (cell)
Laura Rosenthal, Asst. Treasurer South Pond Farm Assn. firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonna Gaberman Whitewood Assn. email@example.com
Cam Stockton Camp Russell (Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires)
Matt Linick Camp Arrow Wood (Mill Town Capital)
Miles Garfinkel At Large firstname.lastname@example.org
Ex Officio Directors (non-voting)
Danielle Fillio Richmond Town Administrator
(413) 553-7803 email@example.com
Jim McGrath City of Pittsfield firstname.lastname@example.org
(413) 499-9344 (office); (413) 464-5527 (cell)
Tom Potter Richmond Conservation Commission
Ron Veillette (Alternate - Richmond Conservation Commission)
(Alternates may vote in the absence of the Director from their camp or association)
Joe McGovern Camp Russell email@example.com
Kais Abderrahim Camp Russell firstname.lastname@example.org
Jon Millburg Camp Arrow Wood email@example.com
Barry Kellogg Richmond Shores firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Grebeldinger Richmond Shores email@example.com
Kitty Levitan Whitewood Assn. Lennielit@aol.com
Gordon Dinsmore South Pond Farm Assn. firstname.lastname@example.org
Al Nardacci Independent cottages email@example.com
Tim Mason Independent cottages TMason74@outlook.com
Kerry Hamilton At Large firstname.lastname@example.org
Please provide any list updates to Ken Kelly by email or cell phone.
RPA meetings have traditionally been held monthly, April through October, on 4th Tuesdays at Richmond Town Hall. But during restrictions imposed by COVID during 2020 and 2021, meetings have been held virtually, at 7:00 pm, using Zoom conferencing technology. When 7:00 pm monthly meetings resumed in 2022, the first several meetings were held by Zoom. Subsequent monthly meetings may return to Richmond Town Hall. See Calendar page for meeting dates & Zoom links, which are posted there a few days before each meeting.
We are an all-volunteer association. Please feel free to contact any of us for additional information about the pond, pond management, the RPA or your related questions or suggestions. We welcome your input, and our monthly meetings are always open to the public.
COVID-19 again prevented meeting in person. The RPA met monthly using the Zoom format with good attendance. The RPA’s annual meeting was held July 27th, in person, and was hosted at Camp Arrow Wood. The camp staff led tours for the many attendees.
The former Lakeside Christian Camp, initially named by Mill Town as The Camp at Bousquet, was subsequently rebranded as Camp Arrow Wood. They have been making renovations to the property and applied for permits from Pittsfield's Conservation Commission to make improvements to the athletic fields. They have also been working on a master plan for remediation work that needs to be done to the dam. Their 2022 summer camp sessions will span from late June to mid-August. The coed sports-themed overnight camp will be for children between the ages of 8-15. Carrie Holland, managing director for Mill Town, is the voting member for the camp. Jon Millburg, director of construction, is the alternate. Both have been actively involved with the RPA.
With the Town’s financial support, the RPA and the Town continued the vendor’s management of invasive weeds. The pond’s invasive weeds were treated on June 8th with good success. However, the planned test treatment of the native tape-weed could not be done, as the Town had not filed for the necessary permits through Natural Heritage. The Town is working on this, and hopes to have the permits ready for tape-weed treatment in summer 2022, in addition to the regular treatment for invasive weeds.
The canal restoration initiative began on June 22nd. A 3-year permit was issued by the Conservation Commission and Natural Heritage, and Aquatic Roots was contracted by RPA for this project. The first phase of the project began at the outflow of the canal into the Pond and back to the Shore Road bridge. A 10-foot-wide path was created to help promote access for boating and swimming. The weeds were hand-pulled by scuba divers; support staff in kayaks transported the weeds to shore. The weeds harvested were removed away from the Pond for composting. Weeds harvested were primarily Elodea, a native weed, and Brittle Naiad, which is invasive. These were carefully removed. A second harvesting was done August 17th. The next phase of the project, in summer 2022, will be to harvest a channel of weeds from the Shore Road bridge back to Town Beach Road.
RPA officer elections were held in the fall, with most reelected. Susan Benner declined to be re-nominated to serve as vice president due to work obligations, though she continues to serve as the voting member for Whitewood. Laura Rosenthal of South Pond Farm was elected to serve as vice president.
· RPA volunteers conducted tributary monitoring, with testing done twice this summer. Lab results after a heavy rainstorm showed higher than average E. coli counts, especially at Tracy Brook and Whitewood Brook. The beaver dam at Tracy Brook Wildlife Sanctuary was partially breached, bringing high water and debris into the Pond. All beaches are tested weekly for E. coli. The beach at Richmond Shores tested positive once for E. coli and was closed, but was able to re-open the next day when its next test was satisfactory.
· Cyanobacteria testing was done bi-weekly, paid for by the RPA. While cyanobacteria are present at deeper levels, the amounts did not approach concern thresholds. Ongoing monitoring is again planned for 2022.
· The Town funded and managed the public boat ramp monitors. This year, they were able to staff the boat ramp with sufficient monitors and hire lifeguards for the town beach.
· RPA’s goose management plan was continued for its third year. In general, the overall goose population was lower than it has been for the past two years. The decision to continue with the current management plan for 2022 will be discussed in spring and likely will continue.
· The Town has been working with Camp Russell to schedule the restoration of the deteriorated detention basin at the camp.
· The RPA website and Facebook page were regularly updated. Pond updates were submitted monthly for the Richmond Record. The Lakes and Ponds Association held their symposium by Zoom in the fall.
· The annual “Developments at Richmond Pond” funding solicitation newsletter was distributed in July. Contributions starting July 1, 2021 were down somewhat from the previous year.
· With the help of many volunteers, and start-up funding by the RPA and several sponsors, the picture book, The Gem of Richmond - A History of Richmond Pond, was finalized, and was published in January 2022. With over 165 books pre-ordered, its initial press run of 300 sold out, and a second printing was ordered. Its 30-chapter Table of Contents and how to purchase it or have the book shipped to you is posted on this website, under the More tab on the menu bar.
The book, The Gem of Richmond – A History of Richmond Pond, published in February 2022, is available now for purchase locally for $20 at Bartlett's Orchard, Balderdash Cellars Winery, Shaker Mill Books, Hancock Shaker Village, and The Bookstore (in Lenox).
If you need to have book(s) delivered, call The Bookstore at (413) 637-3390 to provide your mailing address, and pay by credit or debit card. There will be a shipping charge.
More detail is available on this website's News page.
With COVID-19 preventing meeting in person this year, the RPA was very successful with moving all meetings to a Zoom format with good attendance. The annual meeting picnic format in July at Camp Russell could not be held, so the annual meeting also moved to Zoom format. Camp Russell was able to operate a safe and successful summer camp, opening a week late with reduced capacity.
After 40 years on Richmond Pond, Lakeside Christian Camp announced its permanent closure, effective April 1st. As the property was placed on the market, the RPA strongly encouraged Lakeside’s parent entity, Converge Northeast, to consider sale of the property to a similar organization, to preserve the character of the pond.
The successful bidder, Pittsfield’s Mill Town Capital, was announced by press release on December 18. The RPA immediately reached out to the new owners, and RPA’s executive board met, by Zoom, with their Managing Director. We introduced each other, learned more about their plans, discussed our concerns, and invited The Camp By Bousquet to become a voting member of the RPA. Their plans to retain its rustic camp character appear very compatible with the values of the RPA.
With the Town’s financial support, the RPA and the Town continued the vendor’s management of invasive weeds. The pond was treated on June 11th and then re-treated on August 26th with good success. However, the native tape-weed has become more prolific this year, causing late-season concerns for swimmers and boaters. Plans are underway to address this in 2021.
Work continues to enact a cyanobacteria bloom prevention/management/
communication plan in collaboration with the Town and other Berkshire lakes and ponds. The RPA is also collaborating with the Town to get the detention basins cleaned at Camp Russell.
Development of a canal restoration plan is in progress, involving collaboration with the Town, ConCom, RPA and the Richmond Shores Civic Association. Strategies under study include adding alternative weed treatments such as hand-pulling a channel of the native weeds (in 2021) and hydro-raking (in a subsequent year).
The Town has jurisdiction over farm function permits at the relatively new and locally popular Balderdash Cellars Winery, across the railroad tracks from the Richmond Pond boat launch. The RPA has become an additional forum for expression of both concerns of some near-corner Richmond Shores residents about noise from their live music, and support from others, including regular patrons, about this nearby family-oriented amenity. Following several related discussions, the RPA opted not to take a pro or con position regarding their live music, but to serve in a neutral role to facilitate related discussion.
Two new at-large board members were elected, filling both vacancies. The RPA contracted for Directors & Officers Insurance this year, covering its board members and volunteers for the first time. The RPA also endorsed the ConCom’s recommendation to have parcel #142, the northern corner of Shore Road and Town Beach Road, be turned over by the Town to the Conservation Commission to be preserved in perpetuity as conservation land.
· RPA volunteers conducted tributary monitoring, and all readings were within “safe” parameters.
· The RPA expressed concerns that active dam management continue during Lakeside’s “for sale” period. Lakeside’s on-site property manager stayed on to manage the dam and the pond’s annual drawdown and has been retained by the new owners.
· The Town funded and managed the public boat ramp monitors, though it was challenging this year to get the positions filled. The Town also staffed the Town Beach, which needed more monitoring this summer due to increased use, as most other area beaches were closed.
· RPA’s goose management plan was continued for its second year, preventing expansion of the resident goose population and reducing their impact on the pond’s beaches. There were no E.coli readings at any of the beaches around the pond that exceeded safe levels for swimming. RPA expects to hire Wild Goose Chase, NE again next year, and include Whitewood and The Camp By Bousquet in their rounds.
· The RPA website and Facebook page were regularly updated, and monthly pond updates were submitted for the Richmond Record. There were no local, regional or state pond management seminars this year.
· The annual “Developments at Richmond Pond” funding solicitation newsletter was distributed in July; contributions starting July 1, 2020 were up from last fiscal year, excluding the fall 2019 large donation from Balderdash.
· A Richmond Pond history project (a picture book) is well on its way to a target publication and sale date in late spring 2021. There have been more volunteers helping with this project, and its funding has been approved. Its Table of Contents is posted on the RPA’s website, www.richmondpondassociation.org, under the More item on the menu bar
Ken Kelly, President
Susan Benner, Vice President
Carl Foote, Treasurer
Doreen Donovan, Secretary
Developed, implemented and evaluated a multi-faceted all-pond goose management plan to address E-coli contamination and related public health concerns from the resident Canada goose population explosion. The goose herd-chasing by trained border collies appears to have been at least partially successful, as the resident goose population on the pond was reduced by about 50% from 2018. Planning for a somewhat scaled back goose management strategy is in progress for 2020.
Oriented Richmond’s new town administrator to Richmond Pond, its assets and its challenges.
Continued the vendor’s management of invasive weeds with Town financial support. While the annual treatment occurred later than usual, the post-treatment assessment indicated that it was successful. A possible separate treatment for native tapegrass was studied, but a decision was made to “let it be.”
Sponsored 3rd annual all-town picnic, hosted at Camp Russell with pontoon boat rides; 100 attended.
Assisted with facilitation of community dialogue about noise impacts from the Balderdash Cellars Winery fall harvest concert series and other outdoor events.
· Conducted tributary monitoring, continued review of the dam maintenance program, and financially supported the 3rd year of the water level monitoring project. The Town funded and managed the public boat ramp monitors, who educated the public about invasives, especially zebra mussels; the Town also staffed the Town Beach.
· Updated the RPA website and Facebook page, submitted monthly pond updates for the Richmond Record, and participated in regional and state pond management seminars.
· Distributed the annual “Developments at Richmond Pond” funding solicitation newsletter; also received a substantial contribution from Balderdash fall harvest concert series parking proceeds.
· Enhanced engagement of Richmond Shores Association leaders with the Richmond Pond Association.
· A Richmond Pond history project (a picture book) is under development, with a target publication date in late spring 2021.
· Created a canal restoration fund, initiated planning for a canal restoration strategy, and started work on the development of a cyanobacteria bloom prevention/management plan in collaboration with other Berkshire lakes and ponds.
Ken Kelly, President
Susan Benner, Vice President
Carl Foote, Treasurer
Doreen Donovan, Secretary
Richmond Pond Association marks another successful year in the preservation and protection of Richmond Pond. We are very appreciative to the Richmond Town Administrator, the Richmond Conservation Commission, the Pittsfield Open Space and Natural Resources Program Manager, and our numerous volunteers and donors without whom we would be less able to maintain this natural treasure. All are cordially invited to join our public meetings, to like our Facebook page, and to subscribe to updates on our website, www.richmondpondassociation.org.
A great highlight of 2018 for us was the relocation of the paddle portion of the Josh Billings RunAground to Richmond Pond due to a toxic algal bloom at Stockbridge Bowl, therefore raising its profile among local paddlers and triathletes. Members of the race committee were very pleased with our work and hope to use Richmond Pond as a backup venue for that leg of the race if ever needed in the future.
Among our priority achievements:
Among our future plans:
Ken Kelly, President
Susan Benner, Vice President
Carl Foote, Treasurer
Matthew Palardy, Secretary
This was a successful year of implementing our newly adopted Lake Management Plan goals for preserving and protecting Richmond Pond. We can only accomplish these goals through volunteer RPA members working in collaboration with the Richmond Town Administrator, Richmond Conservation Commission and City of Pittsfield Open Space & Natural Resource Program Manager. We thank our donors for their generous support, without which far less can happen! We invite you to join our monthly public meetings, our Facebook page and our website subscribers group.
Total Revenues Received $17,940
Total Expenses Incurred $17,531
Donations totaled $12,556, plus $291 in interest. Annual dues from the four community associations, one camp, and the independent cottages raised an additional $1,560. And $1,000 has been received for sponsorships of the pond history book project.
Our major expenses consist of goose management, water level monitoring, and cyanobacteria testing. This summary was computed in late April 2021 before the end of the fiscal year, so does not include the imminent previously approved expenditure of $3,500 to support the pond history book project.
The RPA continues its support of the pond's dam at The Camp by Bousquet. A balance of $22,001 is held by the RPA in its special dam maintenance reserve fund, to assist the dam owner with maintenance, repair and inspection expenses, as we all benefit from the dam. A second reserve fund was more recently established to focus on maintaining the inlet canal in Richmond Shores; it has a balance of $4,703.
Ask us - If you have questions about anything pond-related, please call or email one of our officers. We'd love to hear from you! See our contact information above.
Volunteer - The Richmond Pond Association relies upon volunteers to achieve our goals. If you have time to help out, please call or email one of our officers. Click on the Contact Info link above to access our contact information.
Become a Subscriber - Whether or not you currently have time to volunteer, either regularly or occasionally, we encourage anyone with an interest in the pond to become a free subscriber to our website. All subscribers receive a monthly email newsletter with agendas for our meetings (late spring to early fall), including referral to new minutes posted on the website, plus occasional alerts and updates about pond-related events and developments. We do not share our subscriber list with anyone. Insert your email address below and click on Sign Up.
Donate - We can't keep the pond healthy without your support. Donation options are outlined above.
Your donation helps support such expenses as the inspection, maintenance and repairs to the dam, pond-related education, weed management expenses, tributary monitoring, and the hiring of boat ramp monitors to inspect all boats for invasive species, especially zebra mussels. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so donations are fully tax-deductible.
To donate by check - Please make donation checks payable to Richmond Pond Association and mail them to: Richmond Pond Association, PO Box 447, Lenox, MA 01240. Include a return address so we can acknowledge your donation.
To donate by credit card or PayPal - Click the Donate Now link below and follow the instructions.
Stay Informed About the Pond - Become a Website email alert Subscriber (free)