Richmond Pond Association
Tuesday, August 27, 2019, 5:30 pm, Balderdash Cellars Winery
1. Opening items – Ken introduced new Richmond Town Administrator Danielle Fillio (who will serve on the RPA ex officio/non-voting). She had taken an orientation boat tour of Richmond Pond, including the canal, with Ken last Monday. Other new RPA board members, from Richmond Shores Civic Association, were introduced – Barry Kellogg, voting representative, & 2 alternates – Doreen Donovan (also RSCA secretary) & Brian Grebeldinger (also new RSCA president). The RSCA board has also decided that the former RSCA voting representative & alternates – Rosanne Frieri, Linda Kay, Matt Melillo, Miles Garfinkel, & Seth Pitman – will no longer officially serve on the RPA board.
Ken read an email of resignation from Matt Palardy, resigning from his Secretary position & his independent public member position on the RPA board, based on his imminent start in a graduate program leading to a change of career. Another resignation was received from independent public member alternate Lucy Hoffman, given conflicts with her college courses in Boston & study abroad.
2. Approved 6/25/19 & 8/6/19 special meeting minutes – Ken suggested one correction to the 8/6/19 meeting minutes; Barry Kellogg had been listed as an alternate on the draft minutes, but he should be listed as a guest. While he had previously been an alternate, he was not currently on the alternate list. Both 6/25 & 8/6 minutes were then approved. The 7/23/19 (picnic/annual meeting) minutes will be approved at the September meeting, as the draft had not yet been shared or posted to the website.
3. Election of officers for 2019-2020 – Ken announced that he, Susan, & Carl have expressed willingness & interest in being re-appointed to continue as president, vice president, & treasurer, respectively. Ken then asked if anyone else wished to run for one of these positions – no one else expressed interest. He then asked who might be willing to run for secretary, & read out loud the duties of secretary, as spelled out in our By-laws as follows: "In absence of the president and vice president at a meeting, the secretary shall assume all powers and perform all duties of the president. The secretary shall cause to be published and distributed all notices which are required by the Corporation, its officers or board of directors. The secretary shall keep a roll call of those present at all meetings, and shall keep a record of the minutes of all meetings. In addition, the secretary shall have such powers and duties as customarily belong to the office of secretary or as may be designated from time to time by the president or the board of directors." Ken also shared additional qualifications, cited elsewhere in the By-laws – the secretary must be a resident of Massachusetts & must be one of the voting Directors.
Since no one volunteered, a motion was made, seconded & approved to re-appoint Ken, Susan & Carl to president, vice president & treasurer, holding vacant the position of secretary until our next meeting.
1. Weed treatments– Carl reported on Solitude’s follow-up on the 7/19 weed treatment. Solitude’s Kara Sliwoski conducted a post-treatment assessment of Richmond Pond on Thursday afternoon, 8/22. Overall, things looked good - no spiny naiad or milfoil were observed. She had a large boat so could not go all the way up the canal under the bridge, but didn't see anything of concern in there up until that point. The tapegrass is definitely prevalent throughout all littoral areas - some being more dense or a nuisance than other areas, which was primarily the most shallow areas. With there being no spiny naiad or milfoil, she doesn't think we'll need to do another Diquat treatment.
As for management of the native tapegrass, their staff is suggesting doing a "test area" treatment using a combination of Diquat and a chelated copper product, such as Nautique. but we would need to submit a minor change request to both Conservation Commissions, as that is a product that isn't currently on the Order of Conditions. That is a process that we could go through this fall so we're prepared for a test treatment next year, assuming that RPA would like to try that.
After much conversation, it was decided to not proceed with developing a tapegrass test plan. The consensus is that the tapegrass seems to be a minor problem in late August that we have been dealing with for many, many years. Carl will notify Solitude of this decision. Also, Carl spoke to the Town treasurer and learned that weed treatment this year is under-budget, probably since there was only one application, so RPA should not have to augment Town weed treatment funding this year.
People from the Shores commented that the lake side of the bridge canal also looks better this year.
One guest asked about returning to a deeper draw-down strategy to kill more of the weeds & reduce the extent of aquatic herbicide application. Jim McGrath commented that, with all the state regulations now in place, deep draw-down would not be permitted.
The canal’s restoration was not explicitly discussed. But it was mentioned that RPA understands it should be a future priority and is looking for someone from the Shores to chair a project group to conduct further review of alternatives & develop an implementation action plan, including funding sources. In recent years, RPA had a rough estimate from Solitude of $40K to 50K to do hydro-raking, the cost of which did not include the removal & disposal of the materials dropped off on the shore. While the most aggressive solution might be dredging, that would be much more costly, would require additional permitting, & would require a deep lake draw-down, approval for which we’d likely never receive.
2. All-Pond Goose Management Plan - John reported that the current contract with Wild Goose Chase, NE will end on the last day of August. The chasing strategy seems to have reduced the population, but also has encouraged the geese to move to other lawn areas like Whitewood. The dogs have been used at Camp Russell, Lakeside Christian Camp, town beach, and the Levy property (the former Camp Marion White). It was noted that the geese have learned that once campers have left for the day, Camp Russell’s lawn is available for dinner. Ken mentioned that early goose hunting season starts September 3rdwith a daily bag limit of 15.
Two suggestions were made for next year:
· Provide more education to lakeside owners on different methods (vegetation buffers, fences, coyote decoys, etc.) to discourage the geese from bothering your property.
· John plans to reach out to the community to gather interested parties who will want the goose-chasing border collies on their property next year.
With regard to the goose management plan & contract with Wild Goose Chase, NE, as of 8/1/2019 RPA has paid $3,575 for services from April 30th through July 30th. All 5 PIPO (primary impacted property owner) parties were invoiced for the first 2 months ending June 30th and RPA has been reimbursed by the Town of Richmond, Lakeside Christian Camp and Camp Russell. Updated invoices will be submitted to the 5 PIPOs after receiving the August bill.
Other Discussion Items:
1. Evaluation of All-Town RPA-sponsored Picnic on 7/23 – Susan’s report was shared in her absence. Thanks to all the volunteers - Fran and Alan Schneit and Faye Lessner for manning the food tables, Kate Meyer and Bob Benner for grilling, Jade Benner and Rowan for manning the children’s games, & our guides and boat driver: Kitty, Matt, Carl & his wife Laurie & dog Lyla. Without you guys the picnic would not be possible. Special thanks to Faye for going beyond meeting with me about shopping list, helping to clean the camp and with set up. Number of volunteers was great and all were extremely helpful.
Thank you to Lakeside for providing the hamburgers and hot dogs. Thank you to Louise for providing the kids games, and to Holly for providing the historical documents. Thank you to the Boys and Girls Club and Dan - the employees were fantastic this year - very professional and helpful. I was so impressed. The golf cart was very much needed and there was one swimmer.
Susan thought the picnic ran well this year. We ended up with about 100 people and this year did get some families. Soren Smedvig was great as the musician and expressed an interest in coming back next year. The boat rides again were a huge hit. Many children played with the kids’ activities. The advertisements were well done and I thought better than the past (thank you Ken).
Thoughts about things:
· Ran out of cookies and veggie burgers (we had extras of both last year). Had burgers left over but more people ate veggie. The rest of the food seemed okay.
· Bob wondered if there was a way maybe via walkie talkie or something to know when a boat had arrived back during the dinner hour as there would be a surge at the dinner buffet that they were sometimes not ready for at the grill.
· Maybe check Tanglewood schedule to not go up against Tanglewood on Parade.
· Again, someone suggested moving the picnic to June or September (but I cannot not chair the event if that is the case)
· Thought about pairing up with Balderdash in some way.
· Suggestion was made to schedule this on a Sunday afternoon.
Other observations from RPA - commendations to Susan for her excellent management of the event!
2. Kayak Racks for the Boat Launch; next steps – The results of RPA’s initial research on possible parameters were summarized in the 6/25 RPA minutes. Ken asked Danielle to share her recent experience with public kayak rack management at Stockbridge Bowl. From her description of the issues & problems it created for the town, it appears that the strain on managing public racks may not be worth the benefit. Combined with a lack of knowledge of the level of community interest & concerns about clean boat certification issues, the RPA decided not to further pursue the idea at this time. Some of our pond community associations already have kayak storage facilities for their members.
· Treasurer’s Report – Carl reported that the balance in all accounts as of 8/26/19 is $45,253 with $14,340 in the dam maintenance account. Donations to date this 2019-2020 fiscal year are $6,885 compared to $11,895 for all of last year. We had received $7,839 by this time last year. The annual fiscal report due 10/31 to the state is being worked on and should be compoleted by our next meeting.
· Harvest Concert Series at Balderdash Cellars– Christian & Donna – Concert dates (all Fridays) are 8/30 - Tropical Steel Band; 9/6 - Misty Blues Band; 9/13 - Whisky Treaty Road Show; 9/27 - Hotshot Hillbilly’s. The music is scheduled to be early evening 5 to 7:30 pm. Anyone impacted by Balderdash’s regular hours activities Friday to Sunday or their special events is encouraged to communicate directly with the Balderdash proprietors to share their concerns. The RPA was reminded that this early fall series is a test, & will be evaluated by Balderdash, the RPA, & the Select Board regarding future such activities. Donna reminded everyone that they want to be good neighbors.
· Parking & road & marine traffic problems at the boat ramp – The main concern that Danielle will be working on with the state is creating designated parking for vehicles with trailers. Some individuals were parking just anywhere, which blocks the ability to load and unload boats from trailers. Also, there seems to be a need to work on signage to discourage crossing the railroad tracks between Balderdash & the boat launch area.
· Initiatives at Richmond Shores – Barry reported that the Shores is trying to address recent internal & external communication problems. RPA has been frustrated by the recent lack of Shores representation at RPA meetings, & it is great to see the turnout from Shores residents at today’s meeting.
· Stockbridge Bowl & plans for Josh Billings RunAground on Sunday, 9/15 – Ken – The Josh Committee plans to return to Stockbridge Bowl. We are the backup if another toxic bloom closes the Bowl. The Shores requested that more attention be given to traffic flow if the Josh comes back.
· Book on History of Richmond Pond – Ken reported that Gloria Morse continues her research. An editor has not yet been selected. Both camps & all 4 community associations are requested to designate someone to provide a summary of their history & related photos to Ken.
· LAPA-West Symposium will be Saturday, October 5, 8:45 am to 12:30 or so, at Zion Lutheran Church, 74 First Street, Pittsfield. It is free. The primary topic is cyanobacteria blooms & related prevention & testing measures. All RPA members are encouraged to attend this Lakes & Ponds Association event.
Any update items, of interest to all, from camps & community associations:
· Eagles – Carl provided an update on this year’s hatchlings. The smallest of the 3 was evicted by its siblings & was picked up by Mass Wildlife for rehab. The other 2 have fledged but one has been seen with a broken leg, last sighted at Lakeside Christian Camp & South Pond Farm. Richard Stover recently spoke to Mass Wildlife, who would like to hear from anyone if that eagle is seen again.
· Detention basin maintenance at Camp Russell – Holly will be speaking to Danielle about the town’s responsibility to maintain the catch basins, as that work has not been done recently.
· Richmond Pie-nic will be 1 pm to 3 pm, Saturday, September 7th at BNRC’s Hollow Fields Reserve on Perry’s Peak Road – Richard Stover reminded all to bake a pie & come meet your neighbors.
· Matt Melillo of Richmond Shores & a long-time volunteer for RPA has been unable to come north this summer for serious health reasons. It was suggested that cards & well-wishes may be sent to him at 5970 Amherst Drive, Apt. C106, Naples, FL 34112.
· RPA meetings location – A suggestion was made to have all future RPA meetings at Balderdash, which seemed to meet with positive interest, though no action was taken on the suggestion.
· Next meeting – Tuesday, September 24, 5:30 pm – Town Hall
Meeting Adjourned at 6:55 PM
Directors present: Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Danielle Fillio (Richmond Town Administrator), Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield), Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp)
Alternates present: Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond), Doreen Donovan (Richmond Shores), Brian Grebeldinger (Richmond Shores), Kitty Levitan (Whitewood), Judith for Al Nardacci (independent cottages)
Guests present: Ellyn Brown, Bonnie Drewniany (Richmond Shores), Christian & Donna Hanson (Balderdash), Pete Miller (Richmond Shores), Pat Mullin (Richmond Shores), Alex Rosenblum (Richmond Shores), Alan & Fran Schneit (Whitewood), Holly & Richard Stover (Richmond), Chris Thomson (Richmond Shores)
Directors Absent: Susan Benner (Whitewood), Matthew Palardy (secretary, at-large), Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell), Dan Scorpa (Richmond Conservation Commission), Laura Rosenthal (South Pond Farm)
Alternates Absent: Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Louise Brogan (Branch Farm), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell), John O’Brien (Branch Farm), Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Richmond Pond Association
Special Meeting re
Balderdash Cellars Proposed Harvest Concert Series
Tuesday, August 6, 2019, 5:30 pm, Balderdash Cellars
As announced as a Special Meeting, the sole agenda item was discussion of & possible action on the proposed Harvest Concert Series.
The meeting was called to order at 5:30 pm.
After introductions, Christian & Donna verbally described their proposal, as summarized in their one-page proposal, which had been distributed in advance to all RPA board members & to all subscribers to the RPA website. Copies were also shared at the meeting, and the full text of the proposal is included at the end of these minutes. Christian & Donna stressed their duty to maintain good community relations and not to alienate their neighbors with music of an inappropriate type or played at high volumes. They expressed a desire to hew closely to the wording of town by-laws and to address any complaints appropriately. Conversation followed.
Potential benefits include more money to the RPA for priority projects such as dam maintenance undertaken with Lakeside Christian Camp and treatment of the canal beyond the routine annual weed treatment - to be undertaken when the Richmond Shores Civic Association or Shores residents take a leading role in the project.
Paula praised the vision of Balderdash and of the Town of Richmond in promoting the Pond, but stressed that residents have had issues with the lighting and music at the camps and wondered if another special event venue might not be changing the character of the pond & its neighborhoods. Donna stated that she understood these concerns, but noted the impossibility of pleasing everyone.
Following this discussion, a motion was made: “The RPA endorses the proposed Harvest Concert Series as an experiment this fall, within the parameters described, to include up to 4 events, subject to any parameters established or to be established by the Board of Selectmen.” It was seconded and approved unanimously.
· Richmond Town Administrator – Danielle Fillio started yesterday with a welcome luncheon at Town Hall.
· InterPrint – Bill Hines of InterPrint reached out Ken to advise us that the loud humming noise from InterPrint is a rooftop HVAC motor that is dying. A new motor has been ordered & should be installed before the weekend. – Ken
· Regular August RPA meeting will be Tuesday, August 27, 5:30 pm at Balderdash. Agenda to include election of officers, evaluation of picnic, status of weed management & goose management plan, etc.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:25 pm.
Directors present: Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Susan Benner (vice president, Whitewood), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Matthew Palardy (secretary, at-large), Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell), Laura Rosenthal (South Pond Farm)
Alternates present: Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores)
Guests present: Joanne Blauer (Richmond Shores), Ellyn Brown (Richmond Shores), Christian & Donna Hanson (Balderdash), Tim Notnur (Richmond Shores), Paula Patterson (Richmond Shores), Neal Pilson (Richmond Select Board), Chris Thomson (Richmond Shores)
Directors absent: Danielle Fillio (Richmond Town Administrator), Rosanne Frieri (Richmond Shores), Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield), John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp), Dan Scorpa (Richmond Conservation Commission),
Alternates absent: Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm), Louise Brogan (Branch Farm), Miles Garfinkel (Richmond Shores), Lucy Hoffman (public), Linda Kay (Richmond Shores), Kitty Levitan (Whitewood), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell), Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores), Al Nardacci (independent cottages), John O’Brien (Branch Farm), Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Proposal from Balderdash Cellars, as shared by email 7/31/19 with Richmond Pond Association:
Balderdash Cellars Harvest Concert Series
Balderdash Cellars is proposing hosting 4+ concerts on Friday evenings this September/October on their property for the purposes of raising funds for the Richmond Pond Association (RPA) and increasing awareness of Balderdash Cellars. Potentially, if positively received, we could create an annual harvest concert series to support the RPA. We believe that we have a great opportunity to leverage a recently constructed grass amphitheatre on the property to attract a sizeable audience to achieve these goals. All events would be strongly promoted as family friendly.
Below are some key details for the proposed Harvest Concert Series:
• Events would be on Fridays from 4-8pm. Events would either start September 6th or 13th.
• Music would be from approximately 5-7.30pm.
• Food would be available 5-8pm.
• If the initial 1 or 2 events are positively received by the RPA, other neighbors, and the Richmond Select Board, we would consider more than 4 events, with the support of the aforementioned parties.
• Patrons would pay $20/car, with all money going directly to the RPA (up to $1,000/event).
• Musicians would be set-up on Balderdash Cellars’ property with speakers facing west, i.e. away from Richmond Pond and into the amphitheatre to minimize noise.
• Patrons would be in the winery tasting room, outside patio, and on the newly constructed grass amphitheatre.
• Noise levels would likely be audible to the Richmond Pond community and other neighbors. However, music would be family friendly, i.e. not a “rock concert”, not rap, etc.
• The attendance level is uncertain, but best estimate is 100-200 people/event.
• Parking would be north of the house at 81 State Rd. In the event that attendance is at the higher end of the estimate, cars might also be directed to park in an open area south of the house. We would leverage as much of the grass parking as possible north of the house before directing cars south of the house.
• We do not feel that a MA State Police detail would be needed to control traffic on State Rd. However, if attendance dramatically exceeded the estimate, we would ensure a MA State Police detail going forward.
This proposal is a bit of an experiment, as it is a first for Richmond. We absolutely intend to improve and refine things as we receive input or have our first couple events.
We would really like to figure out a way to leverage Balderdash Cellars to benefit the preservation and upkeep of Richmond Pond with the support of immediate neighbors and the extended Richmond community. After seeing the challenges other communities have faced with their bodies of water (e.g. Stockbridge Bowl and Pontoosuc Lake), we want to make sure Richmond Pond has all the support needed so that everyone can benefit from such a great resource.
We would like to present this proposal to the Richmond Select Board mid-August (date TBD) for their endorsement. Prior to that meeting, we would greatly appreciate your questions, concerns, support and/or general feedback.
Thank you for your consideration.
Christian and Donna Hanson, Owners of Balderdash Cellars
Richmond Pond Association
Tuesday, July 23, 2019, 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, Camp Russell
Advertising - The “free picnic for all Town residents” function (our 3rd annual meeting in picnic format) was advertised in many ways – notices for 2 weeks in the Richmond Town e-News, invitation emails to all town employees, information on the RPA website, emails to all subscribers to the RPA website subscribers list, notices in Richmond Record, reach-outs to each of the pond community associations & through the RPA Facebook page, fliers posted at Town Hall, Bartlett’s & at locations around the pond & distributed at annual meetings of some of the pond community associations, & in other ways.
Setup - RPA Volunteers arrived for setup at 4:00 pm, & attendees began arriving around 5 pm, assisted by golf cart shuttles staffed by Camp Russell employees.
Activities - Activities included guided pontoon boat rides, swimming with lifeguard staffing, live background music provided by Soren Smedvig, a full picnic dinner, informational posters by Lucy Hoffman about the pond and the RPA, a historical display about the pond provided by Holly Stover, & games for children & adults.
Remarks - Toward the conclusion of dinner, president Ken Kelly welcomed attendees, provided a brief history of the RPA (founded 19 years ago), its goals – to preserve & enhance Richmond Pond, its membership (24 board members & alternates), & its most recent initiatives, including the all-pond goose management plan, weed management, & a collectors’ book on the history of Richmond Pond (still under development).
Two questions were asked:
Question #1 - How’s the goose management plan working? Ken responded that the egg addling phase only located one nest on the pond – most geese were nesting out in the marshes. And despite regular visits by the vendor with his border collies, so far there were still many geese on the pond, creating health issues for Camp Russell, Lakeside Christian Camp, South Pond Farm, Town Beach & others. So, it’s been mixed results so far, but will be evaluated in the fall.
Question #2 - Will the Josh RunAground Triathlon be coming back to Richmond Pond? Ken indicated that the plan is for the Josh to return to Stockbridge Bowl; we’re the backup if a toxic bloom closes the Bowl.
Picnic Attendees were estimated at 85 to 100, including all Select Board members & many Town employees & their families. More children attended this year, & enjoyed the games.
Directors assisting or attending: Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Susan Benner (vice president, Whitewood), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Matthew Palardy (secretary, at-large), Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell), Robert Markel (Interim Richmond Town Administrator), Dan Scorpa (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Alternates assisting or attending: Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm), Miles Garfinkel (Richmond Shores), Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), Kitty Levitan (Whitewood), Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Guests: Many; attendance was not taken.
Next regularly scheduled meeting – Tuesday, August 27, 5:30 pm – Balderdash Cellars Winery
Richmond Pond Association
Tuesday, June 25, 2019, 5:30 pm, Town Hall
1. Opening items – The meeting was opened at 5:30 without a quorum, which was reached at 5:50. Ken introduced new Conservation Commission representative Dan Scorpa and Interim Town Administrator Robert Markel.
2. Upon achievement of quorum, the 5/21/19 meeting minutes were approved unanimously.
1. Weed treatments – Bob Markel reported that the lateness of the weed treatment this year is due at least partly to a combination of transitions - the Town Office not being able to find the contract with Solitude and our past Solitude representative having departed from the company. He explained that legally, any contract amounting over $10,000 must go out to bid, & while Solitude had initially estimated that their bid would likely exceed $10,000, Solitude’s contract price was $8,600. When a related contract could not be located & Bob’s related reach-outs to Solitude weren’t being returned, Bob called a competitor, The Pond and Lake Connection, and e-mailed them the scope of services. If they respond with a figure over $10k, the town will again be in a bidding situation. Bob stated, however, that getting a treatment soon was a priority he continued to work toward. Ken noted that even though both camps on the pond had already started their camp seasons, a one-day pond closure for treatment would still need to occur.
2. Other remarks/updates by Interim Town Administrator – Of the three finalists for the position of Town Administrator, one had withdrawn that morning. The two interviews were scheduled on the same night as this RPA meeting.
3. All-Pond Goose Management Plan – Representatives from South Pond Farm noted that geese are widespread on their property. The adult geese & goslings have accessed their shoreline both by going around the shoreline netting barrier, and have been crossing Barker Road/Swamp Road from Tracy Brook Wildlife Sanctuary to march down the South Pond Farm access road to the grass lawns & beach. Camp Russell also reported heavy goose activity on their shoreline & grassy slope. Matt reported that today the geese had invaded the Town Beach and boat ramp areas, requiring clean-up. A dock at Whitewood has also been invaded by geese.
Wild Goose Chase has begun the herd-chasing phase of the management plan, at this point just herding the geese out onto the pond. John Mead, who is the lead RPA representative coordinating with the vendor, Wild Goose Chase, NE, was unable to attend the RPA meeting, but will be notified of the situation, so he can further update the vendor. Carl shared that inexpensive pinwheels on a dock discourage the geese, ducks & mergansers from turning them into poop-decks. A suggestion was also made to invite goose hunters in the fall, though this met with mixed reactions.
Treasurer’s Report – Carl - $43,107 in all accounts including the $14,240 in the Dam Maintenance account. The first billing of $845 from Wild Goose Chase, NE for April & May services provided has been paid.
All-Town RPA-sponsored Picnic– July 23, 5 pm to 8 pm @ Camp Russell – Susan is chairing the planning committee but could not attend tonight. Planning committee members include Ken & Carl but more are needed (please attend meeting); Fran Schneit volunteered to serve on the committee. Planning Committee will meet at Susan’s house, 39 Lake Road Ext., on Wednesday, July 10 at 3 pm. A separate marketing & advertising committee including Carl & Ken will put out the marketing for this free event, to include details in Richmond e-News, Richmond Record, email to RPA website subscribers list, notices at Bartlett’s & on the RPA website, invitations to all Town employees, & other strategies. Additional RPA volunteers will be needed at the event, to arrive at 4 pm for setup. Format is similar to last year, with swimming, guided pontoon boat tours of the pond, BQ with burgers, hot dogs & veggie burgers, etc.
History of Richmond Pond –The Richmond Historical Commission, chaired by Gloria Morse, met in late May & they are all in support of the proposed book. They were impressed as to what had been collected so far. Gloria has also discovered more on what the Shakers owned on the West Side of the pond. Additional information & photos still need to be gathered, an editor for the project still needs to be designated, & following that, a reach-out to a prospective publisher that has been identified to explore format & pricing options will be among the next steps.
Kayak Racks for the Boat Launch –The Richmond Pond Association's initial research into placing several kayak racks at the Richmond Pond boat launch ramp, probably for residents who don't live right on the pond but who primarily or exclusively use Richmond Pond for their kayaking, has discovered the following:
· There's a state regulation that prohibits storing boats overnight at state-owned boat launch areas.
· A storage shed for the Richmond Fire Department's new rescue boat was approved at annual town meeting & is to be positioned at the boat launch area. The Conservation Commission will be making a site visit to inspect this evening.
· Several pond associations responded to the RPA’s outreach to LAPA-West members indicating that at their ponds, a community association has their own kayak racks for members, & it seems to be usually set up as a “store at your own risk” operation, with no logging in of boats. At Richmond Pond, our own Whitewood Association & South Pond Farm Association both have several kayak racks for their members only.
· Placing kayak racks at the Town Beach area is not advisable for several reasons, one of which is that it is too far from the invasive certification monitoring location at the boat launch area.
· The Town of Richmond owns the abutting parcel just north of the boat launch, so exploration with town officials of that location as an option appears to be the next step.
· Dan Scorpa noted that anything within the pond’s 200-foot buffer zone would require ConCom approval.
Chili & Chowder Fest.This will be taking place Friday, July 12, 6 pm to 11 pm, at Camp Russell; tickets are $25 in advance or at the door, 21 & older only. This is a fund-raiser for Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires. Last year’s attendance was 310.
Richmond Conservation Commission has designated Dan Scorpa as its new non-voting representative to the RPA; Ron Veillette will serve as the alternate. Adam Weinberg & Nick Martinelli are thanked for their previous service on the RPA.
Balderdash Winery’s grand opening is scheduled for this weekend, June 29. Tickets are sold out.
Update items, of interest to all – Matt reported that there was a recent a boat battery fire on the pond, but it was extinguished by the boat’s fire extinguisher. The assistance of an animal control officer has been requested to address a repeat-offender bringing an unleashed dog to the boat launch & town beach areas. Carl reported that Mass Wildlife recently banded 3 eaglets from the eagles’ nest in a pine along the south shore; the eaglets are now learning to fly.
A “Supplement to Agenda – Announcements & Updates” was distributed to all, to help streamline the meeting, to allow members and guests to attend the Town Administrator interviews. This included two additional items:
Stockbridge Bowl– Given the lack of success thus far by the Stockbridge Bowl Association in obtaining approvals for invasive weed treatments, if there’s another cyanobacteria bloom there this fall that closes the Bowl, RPA & Town of Richmond could end up again hosting the paddle segment of the Josh on Richmond Pond on 9/15. We should follow developments there closely.
LAPA-West Symposium– Save the date – The fall LAPA-West Symposium will be on Saturday, October 5, with a primary topic focus on cyanobacteria blooms & related prevention & testing measures.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:15 pm.
Next “meeting” – RPA All-Town Picnic, Tuesday, July 23, 5 pm to 8 pm (set-up 4 pm) – Camp Russell
Directors present: Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Matthew Palardy (secretary, at-large), Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell), Robert Markel (Interim Richmond Town Administrator), Laura Rosenthal (South Pond Farm), Dan Scorpa (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Alternates present: Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm), Kitty Levitan (Whitewood), Al Nardacci (independent cottages)
Guests present: Tom Grizey (Richmond Shores), Alan Schneit (Whitewood), Fran Schneit (Whitewood), Steven Schnoll (South Pond Farm), John Scorpa (Richmond Shores)
Directors absent: Susan Benner (vice president, Whitewood), Rosanne Frieri (Richmond Shores), Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield), John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp)
Alternates absent: Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Louise Brogan (Branch Farm), Miles Garfinkel (Richmond Shores), Lucy Hoffman (public), Linda Kay (Richmond Shores), Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell), Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores), John O’Brien (Branch Farm), Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Richmond Pond Association
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Richmond Town Hall
1. A quorum being present, the meeting was called to order at 5:30 pm.
2. Minutes of the April 23 meeting were unanimously approved.
3. Treasurer’s report – Carl - As of 5/20/2019, there is a total of $44,499 in all accounts, with $14,240 in the Dam Maintenance account. No donations received in the past 30 days. LAPA West annual dues of $100 were paid on May 7. Wild Goose Chase NE has not billed RPA so far.
4. Vote results of pond-related budget items at Richmond Annual Town Meeting– Susan reported that all were approved, though there were reservations expressed about some aspects of the goose management plan, & more emphasis on vegetative buffers was encouraged. There was some debate regarding the Town’s contribution to the goose management plan, but the item was approved by voice vote.
Budget line item 73 – Town Beach (lifeguard and equipment) $15,600
Budget line item 94 – Summer boat ramp monitors $20,600
Article 17 – Fire department rescue boat storage shed at boat ramp $25,000
Article 18 – Weed treatment $15,000
Article 19 – Town contribution to the goose management plan $1,250
Article 31 – New noise general bylaw
Article 34 – Transfer $9,600 to shortfall in Sewer Enterprise Account
5. Short-term dam remediation update from Lakeside Christian Camp – John reports that there was too much rain in the fall to make any repairs. A draft Emergency Action Plan is under review by an engineer, and a Dam Maintenance Plan is being drafted.
6. All-town RPA-sponsored picnic 7/23, Camp Russell; planning committee; PR plan, etc. – The camp is reserved for us and Sue is organizing the picnic. She will, however, be away in late June and asked for assistance in marketing, for which Ken and Carl volunteered. We plan again to use the services of lifeguards and golf-cart drivers. Our boat drivers will be Boys & Girls Club staff and Carl Foote, 1 boat provided by each, with the O’Briens to be asked if they can serve as backups. Ken expressed concern about the lack of engagement with RPA from Boys & Girls Club staff. Sue indicated that she would reach out to them about the picnic before their camp opening on June 24.
1. Weed treatments – Plan for 2019; budgeting & treatment timing; tapegrass plan – Dominic Meringolo is now our main contact at Solitude and has been in contact with Mark. Carl suggested that the town needs to appoint a temporary contact to handle the weed contract. He is also still trying to reach out to Solitude regarding a tapegrass control program.
2. All-Pond Goose Management Plan - John reported that the nest management phase of the program is concluded. Little nesting activity was located on the pond, perhaps due to the late spring, but treatments were made to six eggs in one nest located on a property on the pond with an addling permit.Suspected nesting activity near the fishing trail north of the town beach was investigated and shown to be unfounded. Several attendees reported active goose nesting activity in nearby marshes, and one active nest on the canal, where the owner elected not to seek an addling permit. Some goslings have already hatched. The geese are now beginning to molt, and Wild Goose Chase NE will return in about six weeks for the next phase of the project. It is now advised that property owners begin setting up shoreline barriers.
Additional educational efforts appear to be indicated regarding the importance of vegetative buffers and minimizing lawn space, and of not feeding geese or fertilizing lawns. Ken expressed concern about resistance to the plan from members of Richmond Shores Civic Association, where the use of vegetative buffers may be very important; no one attended this evening from the Shores.
Carl confirmed that four of the five PIPO’s (primary impacted property owners) have committed to financially support their 10% of the project costs. Based on Ken’s discussion with the Richmond Shores president after Town Meeting, their board will be discussing whether they can make a decision on funding support for the goose management plan or whether it will need to wait until their annual meeting in July.
3. History of Richmond Pond – Ken met mid-April with Gloria Morse & Holly Stover to review the outline & firm up who was working on which content segments of the outline. While the Richmond Historical Commission has not yet met to formally discuss & commit to their lead role with the book project, chairperson Gloria Morse has informed members about the project, and several of them are already working with her on gathering related information. Ken has reached out to each of the pond’s community associations, to request submission of historical information from each of their organizations. John reported that there was a reunion at Lakeside this past weekend of campers & staff of the former Camp Allegro on its 100thanniversary. Matt reported that he has reached out to Hancock Shaker Village staff to gather information on their historical connections with the pond.
1. Kayak Racks for the Boat Launch – At last month’s RPA meeting, a suggestion was made to encourage the Town to explore adding kayak racks to the proposed new storage facility for the rescue boat that will be sited at the Richmond Pond boat launch. Ken followed up with Peter Beckwith & Mark Pruhenski, sharing that one of the components of the Richmond town park proposal for the purchase & recreation-related development of the Camp Marion White property (which failed to gain the required vote support at annual town meeting several years ago) was to convert the storage shed already existing at their shoreline to a kayak storage facility, with likely annual fees charged by the Town for those who store their kayaks there.
There has for a long time been interest by local homeowners who don't live on the pond for some sort of public access storage facility on the pond for car-top boats, so frequent paddlers of the pond don't have to schlep their boats to & from the pond every time they paddle. One idea might be external kayak/canoe racks on one or more sides of the rescue boat storage barn, with bike locks or something similar. Another idea might be public facility storage racks nearby, also with annual fees for Richmond residents to store their boat there, locked to the structure. The South Pond Farm Community and the Whitewood Association both have several such racks at their shoreline for their homeowners who aren’t on the shoreline.
Mark & Peter had suggested waiting to see whether the rescue boat storage shed funding was approved at town meeting & then developing a related proposal, as it would take several months to permit & build or buy the shed. That funding for the shed has since been approved. It was noted that storage space is available at Stockbridge Bowl and at Lake Garfield in Monterey, and that Jim McGrath is interested in the idea, for Lake Onota &/or Pontoosuc Lake. Neal volunteered to reach out to other towns, and Carl or Ken will reach out to LAPA-West members, to see which ponds have boat racks for the public & find out how they are managed.
· Richmond Town Administrator search update, interim plan & implications for RPA – Neal noted that 23 applications have been received so far, and that the hiring process may run through mid-June. He also reports that Bob Markel, a former mayor of Springfield, has been hired as interim town administrator.
· Balderdash farm functions zoning variance & Special Permit Applications requests – Three hearings have been held so far, continued to June 12. Two types of functions may be held outside of normal hours, which may include music, usually inside or on patio, with speakers facing away from pond. According to Neal, seven or eight one-day special event permits have been improved, with the noise levels to be monitored. Proprietor Christian Hanson must move the Balderdash parking area and must get a variance for a special permit.
· Website updates & sought calendar items – Ken added a segment on the News page on vegetative buffers, content provided by Ron Veillette.
· Facebook page updates – Carl - May 6 picture of the kayak dock was posted to thank the town road manager for preparing the boat launch for this season. This reached about 100 people, getting 6 likes. May 2nd kayak rack pictures also reached 106 people; this generated 1 positive and 2 negative responses.
· Amazon Smile purchases with % donation to RPA – Carl reported that we can increase donations for Richmond Pond Association by reminding your supporters to do their Amazon shopping at smile.amazon.com designating RPA to receive the 0.5% of eligible purchases. The next major shopping holiday is Father's Day, on June 16.
· Status of UMass Deep Winter Drawdown Studyof Richmond Pond & other ponds – Ken is awaiting an update from primary researcher Jason Carmignani, U. Mass.
· Richmond Conservation Commission perspectives– Per Ron, a docks permit for the Levy property has been approved, but a beach permit application with sand is still pending study.
· Sewer Users Advisory Committee update– A representative is still sought from Whitewood; Susan will try to identify someone from Whitewood.
Any update items, of interest to all, from each camp & community association
· An End of Town Property sign has been installed on end of fishing trail (at the downed birch).
· The idea of providing biodegradable bags for dog droppings at the boat ramp was proposed.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:55 pm.
Next meeting – Tuesday, June 25, 5:30 pm – Town Hall
Directors present: Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Susan Benner (vice president, Whitewood), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Matthew Palardy (secretary, at-large), John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp),
Alternates present: none
Guests present: Pete Killeen (Branch Farm), Neal Pilson (Richmond Select Board), Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Directors absent: Rosanne Frieri (Richmond Shores), Nick Martinelli (Richmond Conservation Commission), Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield), Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell), Mark Pruhenski (Richmond Town Administrator), Laura Rosenthal (South Pond Farm)
Alternates absent: Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm), Louise Brogan (Branch Farm), Miles Garfinkel (Richmond Shores), Lucy Hoffman (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)
MINUTES - Tuesday, April 23, 2019
A quorum being present, the meeting was called to order at 5:30 pm.
The special meeting minutes from February 26, 2019 were approved unanimously.
Treasurer’s report– As of Friday, April 19, the balance of all accounts was $44,363, including $14,240 in the dam maintenance fund. Donations to date this fiscal year, two months before its end, totaled $11,715, as compared to $7,907 for the whole of the previous fiscal year. RPA has reimbursed the Town of Richmond for the ESS Group contract bill of $3,200 for the second year of the water level monitoring project.
The proposed budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year, portraying the current budget compared to actual expenditures, was shared. A motion was made and seconded to adopt the budget as presented. It was approved unanimously.
Short-term dam remediation update from Lakeside Christian Camp – Lakeside is working with the City of Pittsfield on a hazard mitigation assessment. Only minor work has been done over the winter. Flow into the Housatonic was noted as appropriate, and Lakeside is in discussion with the Commonwealth regarding an engineering report that could cost as much as $10,000.
Annual picnic - The date of July 23 was chosen for the RPA-sponsored all-town picnic at Camp Russell.
Weed Treatments - Mark shared that the treatment permit approved last year by the Conservation Commission should be good for five years. The annual report by Solitude Lake Management was prepared on November 20 and sent to Mark. This details the treatments and three weed surveys with complete observations. The October post-treatment survey found only minimal milfoil regrowth in the canal, no curly-leaf pondweed, and traces of spiny naiad along the shoreline outside the treatment area. They recommend continuing with two treatments in 2019, using Procellacor, a new product, at least for the inlet. Solitude’s Joshua Perry has been in touch with Mark to review plans. The Town of Richmond has budgeted $15,000 for weed treatment.
Lush tapegrass growth was noted to be a continuing nuisance in late summer, and a possible deeper winter drawdown was briefly discussed, though Natural Heritage is unlikely to allow this. We have no price quote yet on the proposed tapegrass “test area” treatment.
Winter project reports:
1. Goose management strategy – A summary of this plan was distributed to all participants, with attendees encouraged to visit the RPA website for further details. It was noted that some mis-information had been circulating, & this summary should help clarify aspects of the plan. John delivered a synopsis of the plan and its rationale, including steps taken to date. The egg-addling training scheduled for April 6 was cancelled due to only three people being able to attend. Four egg-addling permits have been granted to date. John suggested that the addling be limited to that done by Wild Goose Chase, given a lack of volunteers. Susan followed up with additional reasons for the plan, including E.coli contamination and nitrogenation and de-oxygenation of the water, which could lead to excessive algae growth not dissimilar from that currently affecting Stockbridge Bowl. Neal cited that the number of geese could lead to a public health problem.
Open discussion followed, with some inquiry about the effect that the herd-chasing could have on the beaver and duck populations. Michael Daley noted particularly the possible ways the presence of dogs could have on other waterfowl and mentioned that he had a petition against this plan with 300 signatures. John noted that the one or two dogs will visit for one or two hours two or three times weekly, and will always be under the control of their handler. Some concern was raised over the noise the dogs might cause, but it was asserted by several that such noise would be minimal compared to that created by campers and boaters.
2. The history of Richmond Pond – Ken shared a draft outline for this proposed book and described the progress to date. After a brief review and request for information from the camps and community associations, the following motion was made and seconded: “The RPA endorses and encourages work on the proposed collaborative book project on the history of Richmond Pond, with the understanding that the project lead entity will be the Richmond Historical Commission, with financial and logistical support provided by the Richmond Pond Association. At a later time, a financial and marketing plan will be developed and presented for consideration by the RPA. Not until that time will a financial commitment be made.” The motion was carried unanimously.
3. 2018 Annual Report - This third winter project was previously completed by Matt and was approved at the February meeting.
Richmond Town Administrator transition plan - Mark noted that he will remain in his position as town administrator until the end of May, at which time he leaves to take the position of town administrator in Great Barrington. The Board of Selectmen will appoint a search committee for a new town administrator on April 24. The deadline for applicants is May 8, and already 12 people have applied. The Association thanked Mark for his excellent work for the Town of Richmond and for Richmond Pond.
Announcements and updates:
· Safety reminders – PFDs must be worn on paddle craft until May 15. Carl recently attended a boating safety course taught by Massachusetts Environment Police Officer Phil Smits, and asked that his suggestion be more broadly publicized that users of paddle craft and personal watercraft attach a whistle to their PFDs in order to use in case of emergency. Matt noted that boat ramp monitors this summer will be given a copy of state boating laws and training on boating safety.
· Balderdash farm functions zoning variance – Ken shared that he had met with Balderdash proprietor Christian Hansen about the proposed extension in function hours. Ken then submitted a comment letter on behalf of the RPA executive board, which was read into the record at the related hearing on April 10. Neal noted that the Selectmen will consider this matter further at their April 24 meeting.
· Website conversion – Ken reported that the new website was launched on April 22, at the same web address. The PayPal link and subscription system are not yet functional, and descriptions of the community organizations have not yet been added. Critiques and submissions of photographs were encouraged.
· Facebook page- A recent post depicting a caught and cooked trout reached 118 people, receiving 11 likes and three comments. Commentary on the page has generally concerned whether there is still ice on the pond and the status of the eagles.
· LAPA West Symposium (November 17, 2018) – Ken, Carl, and Neal attended this. Ken Wagner presented an introduction to lake management, using Laurel Lake as a primary example. He described the “three-legged stool” of lake management: technical effectiveness, affordability, and institutional acceptability, supporting a seat of four parts: prevention, early detection and rapid response, rehabilitation, and maintenance. One session addressed the permitting process for deep drawdown, weed control, and other projects.
An idea was suggested for the Town of Lenox regarding exploring a plan of bringing together all local lake associations, BRPC, and conservation committees with a facilitator to develop support for a very deep drawdown of Laurel Lake in order to kill all the zebra mussels. Based on learnings from the Symposium, RPA may also explore revisiting and updating its lake management plan, developing a watershed management plan, researching the special hunting permit process for goose control, and studying Ken Wagner’s Lake Management Resources in Massachusetts.
· COLAP Spring Conference (April 12) – Carl attended this. He learned that the Worcester area has a well-funded program with a full-time manager concentrating on wastewater management for seven lakes and a river. Might such a program be possible in the Berkshires? Amanda Mahaney of Solitude presented a review on cyanobacteria, a bloom of which shut down Stockbridge Bowl last September, mentioning causes, effects, and possible techniques for maintenance and control of such a bloom. As Mass Heritage has denied Stockbridge Bowl permission to use aquatic herbicides, there is a risk for another closure this summer, with the possibility that Richmond Pond may thus host the boating leg of the Josh Billings Triathlon again.
Zebra mussels were also mentioned. As Richmond Pond’s chemistry is favorable to the growth of zebra mussels, continuing our boat ramp monitoring program and our educational efforts regarding invasive species remain important.
· Nordeen Marsh water level study – The water level in Nordeen Marsh remains constant behind the beaver dam while the lake level fluctuates with drawdown. We are up to date with funding at $3,200 annually. This is the second year of our three-year study.
· Sewer Users Advisory Committee – Andy Kay reported that a member from Whitewood is needed for the committee. Mark noted that the Town of Richmond treasurer has discovered a $250,000 shortfall in the Sewer Enterprise Fund for bond repayment.
· Richmond Annual Town Meeting – This is scheduled for May 15, at 7:30 pm at the Richmond School. Several budget and warrant items involve the pond:
Budget line item 73 – Town Beach (lifeguard and equipment) $15,600
Budget line item 94 – Summer boat ramp monitors $20,600
Article 17 – Fire department rescue boat storage shed at boat ramp $25,000
Article 18 – Weed treatment $15,000
Article 19 – Town contribution to the goose management plan $1,250
Article 31 – New noise general bylaw
Article 34 – Transfer $9,600 to shortfall in Sewer Enterprise Account
A motion was made, seconded, and approved to endorse the above-mentioned articles.
· Partnership with Richmond School – Susan noted that the schoolchildren will not be able to make a field trip to the pond this spring due to time conflicts with MCAS testing.
· Trash at the boat launch area & fishing trail - Concerns were raised about the increasing amount of trash left at the boat launch area, much of which is recyclables. A recycling container was suggested for the boat launch. Additional volunteers will assist in periodically monitoring & cleaning up the fishing trail.
Next meeting: Tuesday, May 21, 5:30 pm, Richmond Town Hall (the third Tuesday of the month to avoid proximity to Memorial Day).
The meeting was adjourned at 7:00 pm.
Directors present: Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Susan Benner (vice president, Whitewood), Matthew Palardy (secretary, at-large), Rosanne Frieri (Richmond Shores), Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell), John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp), Mark Pruhenski (Richmond Town Administrator), Laura Rosenthal (South Pond Farm)
Alternates present: Louise Brogan (Branch Farm), Linda Kay (Richmond Shores), Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), Kitty Levitan (Whitewood), Al Nardacci (independent cottages), John O’Brien (Branch Farm)
Guests present: Michael Daly (Richmond Shores), Cathy Deely (South Pond Farm), Brian Grebeldinger (Richmond Shores), Thomas Grizey (Richmond Shores), Al Hanson (Richmond Select Board), Sally Kellogg (Richmond Shores), Neal Pilson (Richmond Select Board), Jennifer Sabino (Richmond Shores), Susan Sabino (Richmond Shores), Craig Swinson (public), Christine Thomson (Richmond Shores), and several others who were not included on the sign-in sheet
Directors absent: Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Nick Martinelli (Richmond Conservation Commission), Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield)
Alternates absent: Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm), Miles Garfinkel (Richmond Shores), Lucy Hoffman (public), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell), Matt Melillo (Richmond Shores), Adam Weinberg (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Minutes of Special Meeting - February 26, 2019
Call to Order: 5:30 pm
1. Minutes for the regular meeting of October 23, 2018 were unanimously approved.
2. The 2018 annual report was unanimously approved.
3. 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.
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 be 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 raised:
"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 RSCA 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)
The primary topic for the February meeting was to review and approve an all-pond goose management plan.
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.
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.
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:
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 Tuesday, 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.
Any update items, of interest to all, from each camp & community association
Meeting adjourned 7:00 pm.
Next meeting – Tuesday, January 8, 2018 – Town Hall (to review first draft of a pond-wide goose management plan). NOTE - This was subsequently postponed to February.
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)
NOTE - An electronic copy of the minutes of a specific previous meeting may be provided by email in response to an email request to the RPA Secretary.
Minutes for the other meetings in 2018, as well as previous year meeting minutes, will be added to this page at a later time.