Richmond Pond Association - Draft Minutes
Tuesday, August 25, 2020, 7:00 pm, via Zoom online
Welcome – Ken welcomed all in attendance and made an announcement on a dog that has gone missing. The owner is Deb Plantier of Richmond Shores and the lost dog is Gigi. Gigi has been missing since Sunday afternoon from Richmond Shores. (Photo shown) She's around 33 pounds with black and brown coloring. She's 3 years old and a rescue. She's unfamiliar with this area and is running scared. She does have a microchip. She's very friendly but shy. If seen, please call Deb at 1-413-441-9257 or 1-413-698-2641. A few attendees have seen the dog and will contact Deb. (Update – A successful outreach & Gigi was back home by Wednesday evening.)
Approval of minutes of 7-28-20– Doreen asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the RPA meeting on 7-28-20 with one amendment in the listing of attendees; Dan Scorpa should be listed as Ex-officio absent, not as Directors absent. The minutes were approved as amended.
Financial report – Carl reported donations to date in the current fiscal year (since July 1st) are $8,000; related fund-raising costs for the solicitation mailing were $780. The total in all accounts is $63,740, including $20,000 in the dam maintenance fund and $3,500 in the canal restoration fund. $2,000 is to be added to each of these earmarked accounts this fiscal year, & a motion was made & approved to do so.
Total payments to Wild Goose Chase, NE are at $5,470, billed to the RPA through August 4th. All participants have paid their share. Total budget for the goose management program was set at $6,000. No bills have yet been received from the Town of Richmond for RPA support of the boat ramp monitoring program.
Officer elections– Doreen reported that all four current officers are willing to continue to serve in those roles for another year, if reappointed – Ken Kelly, president; Susan Benner, vice president; Carl Foote, treasurer; and Doreen Donovan, secretary. Other nominations or self-nominations were invited for president, vice president, treasurer or secretary. Hearing none, a motion was made and approved to reappoint all four for another year.
Election to an At-large position on RPA board – Paula Patterson and Miles Garfinkel submitted their resumes in application for an At-large position on the RPA board. Ken summarized a communication that had been sent out in advance of the meeting to all RPA directors, ex-officio members, & alternates, describing the history of the recently created at-large positions on the board, their intent, related wording in the by-laws, & details of the two recently received applications from Paula & Miles.
Following discussion by the executive board, they decided to fill only one of the at-large positions at this time – for two reasons, (1) The two at-large voting positions were created to provide opportunity for folks who don’t live on the pond, but are pond users, to have regular input on pond matters. Both were initially filled by persons who did not live on the pond, but have now been vacant for a full year. While our By-laws provide more flexibility in who may fill these positions, holding one of the positions open, while more proactively seeking an applicant who doesn’t live on the pond, seems appropriate to honor the intent of these at-large positions. (2) The other reason is to avoid a potential over-representation of one community on our board, as both applicants live in Richmond Shores; appointing both applicants would result in 3 voting representatives from the Shores community; all other communities only have one.
Each candidate was given the opportunity to make a statement & field questions. A vote was then taken (by voting directors only), resulting in the appointment of Miles Garfinkel to the board.
Major developments at the pond:
Status of Richmond town beach – Danielle reports that the beach is still open as it has been. This is the last week for lifeguards as they are heading back to school. She did not have any updates on Labor Day weekend as that is on the agenda for the Board of Selectmen to discuss tomorrow night. (Update - The Selectmen decided at their 8/26 meeting that the Town Beach would be closed following Labor Day. But at their subsequent meeting on 9/2, in response to a request, they reconsidered and decided that the Town Beach would remain open during September.)
Monitors at the boat ramp – Danielle also reported that two more monitors have been hired, enabling all shifts to be filled. Monitors can stay on until Labor Day, September 7th. Danielle was unsure of when the kayak launch dock would be removed. She will get back to Ken when she has the answer. She did not know how long the Porta-potty remains at the boat ramp, as these are owned by the State.
Pending sale of Lakeside Christian Camp – John provided an update on the status of the camp and asked for a letter of support from the RPA for the anticipated bid by a purchaser on behalf of the Lakeside4Christ organization to acquire the camp & continue its activities as a Christian all-season camp & retreat facility. John provided draft wording of such a letter to Ken this afternoon, & this was shared. John’s concern is that the Lakeside4Christ organization will be bidding against developers with more money and feels that a letter of support could help the current ministry’s bid to buy the camp.
Discussion followed about the appropriateness of a specific letter of support for one organization, especially with no knowledge of who other bidders might be, or whether a more general letter of support that might apply to other bidders, may be appropriate. Discussion included whether to act on John’s request today, or to table it & schedule a special RPA meeting prior to the September 18th bid submission deadline, to discuss & potentially act on a letter of support that might be more general in nature.
Ken shared that he’d talked by phone yesterday with the lead realtor for the listing agency, and while the realtor shared that they’ve received lots of interest in the listing – exceeding their expectations, he could not share any information about numbers of inquiries, numbers of potential buyers scheduling tours, or categories of prospective buyers. The timetable remains as previously announced; a “call for offers” is planned the 2nd week of September, with bids due on September 18th by 5 pm.
Discussion from those in attendance voiced their support to keep this a Christian Camp with John’s organization as they have been good stewards of Richmond Pond. A motion was made to write a supportive letter on behalf of Lakeside4Christ. This motion was approved, with John abstaining from the vote. The RPA executive board will draft a letter and have John review the draft before its submission.
Camp Russell summer camp evaluation (its last day was August 21) – Dan was not in attendance, so there was not an update. It was mentioned that Dan will be requested to turn off & leave off their annoying pond-side flashing floodlight (on the shoreline shed).
Weed treatment & pond closing on August 24 – Carl posted Pond Closing fliers around the pond the Thursday before the treatment. Residents were also notified in advance about the Monday pond closing in multiple other ways, and boat ramp monitors were present all day to deter launching. Solitude provided the 2nd treatment on Monday, including the entire canal. One observer reported that a complete coverage of the canal was done, expressing gratitude for the treatment. This treatment also addressed the invasive Spiny Naiad from the town beach to Richmond Shores. Carl reported that the native stringy tape-weed is surfacing around the pond, clogging our props and challenging our swimmers. The yellow haze on the quiet pond seems to be the seeding from the tape-weed. The lack of heavy rain and the low tributary flows are not washing the surface collection to the shores & downstream. The RPA voted last year not to try the marginally effective special tape-weed treatment, but to “let it be.”
Tributaries testing – Carl reported that on 8/18 all four tributaries and the outlet were tested for E.coli, Nitrates and Phosphate. All readings were in the acceptable ranges.
Canal restoration plan development – Doreen presented the idea of forming a subcommittee to work on a comprehensive plan for the canal. The hope would be to have representatives from the Town, ConCom, RPA and RSCA. No one volunteered at the meeting, from any of these organizations, though Doreen mentioned that Linda Kay had expressed a willingness to serve on it. In response to a question, Dan Scorpa felt that he was too busy, but would talk with others on the Conservation Commission.
Carl spoke to the Solitude representative the day of the weed treatment; she will provide the contact information for the person at Solitude who would respond to a request for an updated cost estimate for canal hydro-raking. Ken did encourage all with questions about hydro-raking to view the hydro-raking video on Solitude’s web site.
Initial test results for cyanobacteria blooms; related communication plan – Carl reported that cyanobacteria testing is ongoing on Thursdays in August. Samples are taken by a contractor in the deeper part of the lake at about 27 feet. The phycocyanin levels are extremely low at 0.10 parts per billion. The samples are collected along with samples from Pontoosuc Lake & Lake Onota under the guidance of Ken Wagner, for Jim McGrath (Pittsfield) and the RPA. Richmond Pond is looking healthy.
The Board of Health has expressed interest in Danielle putting together a meeting to have these cyanobacteria-related planning discussions. Any decision (to close the pond) really needs to come from the Board of Health. The Select Board would most likely want to hear their recommendations, but Danielle believes that the Board of Health has the authority to shut down public locations that are a public health safety. If we would like to designate someone from the RPA, they can attend the BOH meeting. If the RPA is looking for a different sub-committee of the Board of Health, we would have to organize it slightly differently.
Ken emphasized that a collaborative communication plan should be developed, perhaps modeled after the beach testing protocol, on how to notify residents & others about a pond closing, should it become necessary. Richmond & Pittsfield Boards of Health, Richmond Select Board, Town Administrator & RPA should have input to the plan.
Goose management progress & status – Laura reported that Wild Goose Chase is currently taking a break from weekly visits. Overall, Richmond Pond has had smaller flocks of geese than prior years and so beaches and shores, while certainly not goose-free, have been less contaminated. At this time of year, all the geese are flying, so herding them can be a bit more challenging. Also, none of our properties have reported excessive goose problems in the past two weeks, so Eric Johnson has been more “on call” rather than a weekly schedule. We have also run up costs to the budgeted amount. However, if anyone around the Pond needs additional border collie visits, Laura can call Eric back to address the situation. Whitewood plans to participate next season. One person attending expressed concern about the increase in the duck population.
Swimming safety – Susan report that there are not any new updates, but if anyone knows the swimmer who is swimming across the pond at dusk to tell her that her light is not bright enough. Susan also reviewed guidelines for swimmer safety - have a float attached, have a safety boat accompanying, or swim only in the safer areas by the shore.
Cleaning of catch basins at Camp Russell – Ken relayed that Danielle had asked if there is a request for the town to clean something, she would ask that it be sent to her in writing and she will share it with the Highway Superintendent. It appears there has been some issue with who is responsible for what. Ken asked Holly if there is some sort of agreement somewhere stating who is responsible for the cleaning. She did not know, but will reach out to Linda Kay, who may know.
Marijuana indoor & outdoor cultivation @ EOS Bittersweet Farm – Laura doesn’t have any real updates on the pot farm, but Richmond Record did a nice article about it in the August issue, and she’s been encouraging people to read it.
Odds & ends:
· Format & timing for September & October RPA meetings – The format for the next two meetings will continue to be held through Zoom and at 7:00 pm.
· Book on the history of Richmond Pond – Ken announced that there is a volunteer from Whitewood to help with at least that segment of the book. He also relayed that a vote for funding this project needs to be done at either the September or October meeting in order to move this forward.
· Website & Facebook updates – Carl reports that there are not any new updates on the Facebook page; Ken has added new pictures and updates to the RPA website.
· Noise concerns – Ken had called InterPrint a few weeks prior with concerns about noise from their plant. This has improved. Ken will send a suggested letter he drafted regarding the Pittsfield Airport noise to the Board of Selectman. Miles shared a statement from himself and 25 other residents of RSCA voicing their disappointment with the BOS in their response to the noise level from Balderdash, which has included encouraged yelling & beating of drums. RSCA residents have called and emailed the Board on numerous occasions asking for help with this issue. Those concerned also feel that there has been inadequate help from Balderdash, as the problem continues. Neal Pilson invited Miles and others to attend the BOS meeting tomorrow night at 6 pm. The noise from Balderdash is on the agenda with thoughts of having a professional service measure the noise level.
Jet-skis - Ken recently paddled around the Pond and observed that there are 5 jet-skis at different properties. If inappropriate behavior is witnessed, please take a picture and report the incident to Danielle, Ken &/or the MA Environmental Police.
The next meeting, by Zoom – Tuesday, September 22, 7:00 pm
Meeting adjourned at 8:28 pm.
Directors present (voting): Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Susan Benner (vice president, Whitewood), Doreen Donovan (secretary, Richmond Shores), John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp), Laura Rosenthal (South Pond Farm)
Ex-officio present (non-voting): Danielle Fillio (Richmond Town Administrator), Dan Scorpa (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Alternates present: Brian Grebeldinger (Richmond Shores), Al Nardacci (independent cottages), Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm Association), Kitty Levitan (Whitewood), Louise Brogan (Branch Farm)
Guests present: Miles Garfinkel (Richmond Shores), Holly Stover (RPA founder & Richmond resident), Neal Pilson (Richmond Town Selectman), Linda Edelstein (Richmond Shores), Paula Patterson (Richmond Shores), Joann Blauer (Richmond Shores), Jon Adelman (Richmond Shores), Scott Kelly (independent cottages), Peter Miller (Richmond Shores), Fran Schneit (Whitewood)
Directors Absent: Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell)
Ex-officio absent: Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield), Ron Veillette (alternate Conservation Commission)
Alternates Absent: Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Tim Mason (independent cottages), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell), John O’Brien (Branch Farm)
Executive profiles – A company is only as strong as its executive leadership. This is a good place to show off who’s occupying the corner offices. Write a nice bio about each executive that includes what they do, how long they’ve been at it, and what got them to where they are.
Richmond Pond Association – Minutes - Annual Meeting
Tuesday, July 28, 2020, 7:00 pm, via Zoom online
Opener – Ken welcomed all the attendees to Zoom and started the meeting with a quote that a recent donor to the RPA, who lives in Richmond Shores, included in the envelope with her donation check to the RPA. - "The pond is my sanctuary - my haven. It must be protected." Ken said this is what RPA is all about. It is our sanctuary, our haven, & we exist to protect it. And the pond has been especially important to us during the restrictions & fears that COVID-19 has thrust upon us this year. So a great big thank you to the pond, for its serenity, its wildlife, its recreational value, & how important it has been to us, especially this year.
Share tips on participation in Zoom - Ken reviewed the etiquette for the meeting via Zoom with the attendees
Acknowledgement of RPA board members participating – Doreen acknowledged the board members and the alternates who were present at the meeting.
Financial report – Carl reported that our fiscal year ended June 30th and he is drafting the annual financial report that is due to the state on October 31st. The good news is:
1. Total funds have grown from $43,660 in 2019 to $59,195 at FY end June 30th, 2020.
2. Contributions in FY 2019-2020 were $19,712 versus $11,905 prior year; thank you Balderdash!
3. Expenses were about the same at $8,500.
Since our last meeting, in June we have spent:
1. Wild Goose Chase, $2,470. All partners have been invoiced to reimburse RPA for their share.
2. Fundraising mailing to 1,010 addresses on 7/17; ZIP n Sort, $778.
3. The Richmond Record annual advertising, $290.
As of 7/28, we have already received $1,946 in donations in response to the solicitation letter.
Approval of minutes of 6-23-20 – Doreen asked for a motion to approve the minutes from 6/23/20. This was seconded and the minutes were approved.
Major developments at the pond
Pending sale of Lakeside Christian Camp – John reported that there will be an open bidding process for the sale of the camp. The most attractive bids will be presented to the trustee, Converge Northeast, and they will decide on whom to sell to. It will not necessarily be the highest bidder, but could be a competitive bidder who they think may enable the spirit of the camp to continue. John was asked about potential buyers. He knows that the Boys and Girls Club and Milltown Capital have expressed interest. John also mentioned the Lakeside4Christ initiative, which is also interested in buying the camp and keeping it as a Christian camp. They have their own website; its link is on RPA website News page & on Lakeside’s website.
Ken added that the organization that owns the Lakeside property, Converge Northeast, has given the exclusive listing to Ellis Realty Advisors (Norwell, MA). Anyone potentially interested in purchasing the property are to contact them. Contact info is on RPA website & Lakeside website. Ken’s recent communication with the listing realtor (Colin Moynihan) indicated they plan to “take the property to market” the first week in August.
John also reported that there has been a problem with trespassers on the property coming in from the water. There are No Trespassing signs posted, but if residents see trespassers, please call John.
Status of Richmond town beach – Danielle reported that the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Health have been monitoring the public beach on the weekends and intermittently during the week. They observed that the people present were following the social distancing guidelines. There is still a lot of garbage left behind. This seems to happen after the lifeguard leaves at 5 pm. The town administration wants to keep the beach open past 5 pm so that residents can come after work, but continued littering may jeopardize this.
Monitors at the boat ramp– Danielle reported that the Town has hired another boat ramp monitor. He will work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 8am-2pm. The other monitor continues to work Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Their pay is $15 an hour.
Camp Russell summer camp– Dan reported that camp is going great. They are keeping the children in the same groups, all are wearing masks and hand washing is done frequently. There are 90 campers this year due to following the state guidelines, compared to 364 last year. There were a few openings available for the last two sessions.
Weed treatment(s) – Carl reported that the Pond was treated 6/11, post-treatment assessment on 7/15. While the related report had not yet been received, the results reported by email from Kara of Solitude stated, “There wasn’t much spiny naiad, just a bit near the launch The channel was relatively clogged with various growth per usual and I got to chat with those channel neighbors who wanted to talk about things. I’d say if we do treat the naiad, we should do the channel as well to keep water flowing since it has been relatively drought-like.”
Carl also reported that he’d paddled the pond on Saturday, starting at Branch Farm on the south side, then counter-clockwise. Tapegrass was observed on the bottom. When he got past the town beach, more growth was seen. When you get to Richmond Shores by the boat launch the water turns murky and the tapegrass is flowering on the surface. Once you pass the canal the murkiness resides but the tape grass is thick. He saw spiny naiad in front of the canal, but did not go into the canal. Then he reached Camp Russell and no more surface weeds were seen. There does not seem to be much water flow coming out of the canal at this time, even though we had a few downpours this week. Carl will contact Kara about re-treating the canal. And there was a large downed weeping willow about 100 feet from the Nordeen Marsh bridge. Brian has spoken with the homeowner and he is working on removing parts that are in the water. Brian also asked Ron Veillette about removing debris that was washed into the canal last year. Ron will come and look at it. He will also investigate if a permit is needed to place weed mats on the canal floor to help stop weed growth. Ron asked if the water samples are tested for Phosphorus; Carl said that they are.
Planning for possible cyanobacteria blooms – Jim reported that Pittsfield initiated testing of Onota & Pontoosuc Lakes for cyanobacteria by Shannon Poulin of Westfield State in mid-June, & thus far all samples have been OK. She reportedly also tested Lake Garfield & Lake Buel last year. The 9-page 2/28/20 description of cyanobacteria by Water Resources Services, Inc. (Ken Wagner) was shared back then as a resource, & indicates that these blooms are most likely in September, & also likely in August or July. A summary model strategy was to have been developed by Pittsfield& then shared with the other lakes & ponds in the Berkshires; but no separate protocol has been developed. On 5/31/20, RPA received a communication forwarded by LAPA-West from Bay State Health, about a cyanobacteria testing vendor identifying Ms. Poulin as a testing resource. Jim has asked Shannon to include Richmond Pond in her weekly testing. Carl will work with Jim on this.
There is a concern that there may be a repeat bloom in Pittsfield lakes, as the conditions this year are favorable to this. Jim also said that it is important to know the type of bloom it is (only some are toxic) and be proactive about the messaging to the community.
Canal restoration plan development – Brian relayed that he and Andy & Linda Kay met with Kara Sliwoski of Solitude Lake Management after she did the post-treatment weed assessment. Kara agreed that the inlet and canal needed additional treatment for native weeds and that treatments should be part of the weed maintenance program. She was going to reach out to the Town and ask if it could be treated soon. She also said that the years that the inlet and canal were not treated contributed to the poor condition that we are currently experiencing. Ken mentioned that permitting requirements with Richmond & Pittsfield could delay treatment, especially for native weeds. Ken recommended that RPA’s canal project group should begin the process of getting quotes for hydro-raking and the permits that would be needed.
Goose management progress– Laura has been working with Eric Johnson from Wild Goose Chase NE. She reports that herding began 2 times a week and will be 3 times a week in August. The time of day varies. There are now 70-90 geese counted on the Pond, though they are not here all the time, as they can now fly. There have been no reports of E.coli outbreaks at the pond’s beaches. The program seems to be helping us keep the pond as a balanced preserve. Contributors to the goose management program are the Town of Richmond, South Pond Farm, the Levy parcel and Camp Russell. RPA pays the rest of the balance. Susan is going to recommend to Whitewood Association that they start to participate. Dan Joslyn questioned the effectiveness of the hazing at Camp Russell and Laura informed him that the property manager there had asked Wild Goose Chase to leave the property and not return. Dan will follow up with this. Paula Patterson and Joann Blauer of Richmond Shores shared concerns about the increased goose activity on their property and the aggression from the geese. They questioned why Richmond Shores was not participating in the program. The Shores had voted against participating last year. Brian did inform them that the RSCA annual meeting is August 2nd and they can come to voice their concerns.
Swimming safety– Susan addressed the issue of some deep-water swimmers not wearing buoys or bright caps or being accompanied by a paddler when they are swimming; they are difficult to see. Ken also mentioned that he’s twice encountered a cross-pond swimmer who swims at dusk without floats or accompaniment from the boat launch to the opposite shore & returns at dark – a very dangerous practice. That person has ignored even shouted warnings from Ken. Please warn boaters to motor slowly & be highly alert for such swimmers as dusk & dark approach, to avoid a tragedy. Having information at the boat ramp to remind swimmers to use the safe areas along the shore line for swimming, having a safety boat and a swim buoy in place for safety could be helpful, even though swimming at the boat ramp is prohibited.
Book on the history of Richmond Pond – Ken has posted a summary description of the project, with draft table of contents, on the RPA website. He has also reached out to each of the 4 community associations to identify a lead person to draft content for the book. Thus far, there are volunteers from Richmond Shores & Branch Farm. More writers are needed for the various segments, and a funding vote to support the project should be taken this fall if it to become a reality.
Website & Facebook updates - Ken has added 2 new pages to the website, as drop-downs from the MORE page of the menu bar – Pond History Book Project & Boat Tour of the Pond. Also, the NEWS page includes updates on the town beach & Lakeside Christian Camp. Ken encouraged joining the website subscribers’ group; just send him an email. Regarding Facebook updates, Carl reports that there is not much going on this page, this is not getting a lot of attention; postings are encouraged.
Marijuana indoor & outdoor cultivation @ EOS Bittersweet Farm – Laura recounted, as reported at last month’s RPA meeting, that the South Pond Farm community has cause for concern (about odors & lighting) because they learned recently that there is a marijuana farm being built at 1107 Barker Road, just north of the Richmond/Pittsfield town line. The name of the cannabis enterprise is EOS Bittersweet. From what she knows, there will be a cultivation building and 2 greenhouses. They will also be growing outdoors. She is not sure when the farming will start and it is unknown if the smell and the lights will be a problem. There will be an article about this in the August issue of Richmond Record.
Odds & ends-
· RPA Meetings - Format for this year’s remaining meetings will be Zoom.
· Airport noise assessment: The new airport manager Daniel Shearer started 6/15/20. Ken took an informal poll about the airport noise, compared to last year. Five thought the noise had improved, while 6 thought it was worse and one thought it was the same. There has been military aircraft training coming from the airport. This happens once a month and the noise is extremely loud. Barry Kellogg questioned if this should be a priority for RPA or if this is an issue for the Town. Ken voiced concern for the wildlife, but Mark Lessner, whose cottage is under the nest, has not seen any negative effects on the eagles.
· MA-COLAP - Ken reported on the dissolution of MA COLAP (Council of Lakes and Ponds). Its membership has been incorporated into LAPA-West. RPA is a member of LAPA-West.
· Harassment by jet skis - Jessica relayed that she was harassed by 2 jet skiers when she was paddling on the pond. Ken said that there are related regulations on mass.gov - Personal Watercraft Safety Law Summary. He advised her to look there. Neal suggested that if this happens again, since the jet skiers come from the boat ramp, to ask the boat ramp monitor for license plate numbers and report to the State Police. This could result in a fine to the owners.
· Catch basins - Brian updated the RPA that Richmond Shores had their catch basins pumped recently and wondered if there was any movement with the basins at Camp Russell being pumped. Apparently nothing has been done at Camp Russell with maintenance of the basins. Holly Stover also stressed the importance of this being done. This will be added to the agenda for August.
Meeting adjourned at 8:18 pm. The next meeting, by Zoom – Tuesday, August 25; will include officer elections. (NOTE – After the 7/28 meeting, the meeting time for August 25 was set – it will be 7:00 pm.)
Directors present (voting): Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Susan Benner (vice president, Whitewood), Doreen Donovan (secretary, Richmond Shores), Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell), John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp), Laura Rosenthal (South Pond Farm)
Ex-officio/non-voting: Danielle Fillio (Richmond Town Administrator), Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield), Ron Veillette (alternate Conservation Commission)
Alternates present: Brian Grebeldinger (Richmond Shores), Tim Mason (independent cottages), Al Nardacci (independent cottages), Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm Association)
Guests present: Miles Garfinkel (Richmond Shores), Christian & Donna Hanson (Balderdash), Holly Stover (RPA founder & Richmond resident), Mark and Faye Lessner (Branch Farm), Neal Pilson ( Richmond Town Selectman), Linda Edelstein, Scott Kelly, Steve and Paula Patterson (Richmond Shores), Joann Blauer (Richmond Shores)
Ex-officio absent - Dan Scorpa (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Alternates absent: Kitty Levitan (Whitewood), Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Louise Brogan (Branch Farm), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell), John O’Brien (Branch Farm)
Minutes - Richmond Pond Association
June 23, 2020, via Zoom online meeting
Opener – Ken welcomed all to Zoom and Doreen took roll call; there was a quorum.
1. Approve 5/19/20 meeting minutes –- A motion was made to approve the May 19th minutes. The minutes were approved.
2. Treasurer’s Report – Carl reported that the balance in all accounts is $60,263, with $19,934 of this in the dam maintenance account and $3,501 in the canal restoration account. We currently have the following commitments:
Microbac water testing lab 370
Chubb directors & officers insurance 1,465 (two years coverage)
Town of Richmond ramp monitor program 8,000
Dam maintenance budget 2,000
Canal restoration budget 2,000
Total commitments 13,835
3. COVID-19 State of Emergency Update - Per Ken’s communication with Danielle, cottage rentals are now allowable, though 14-day quarantine by anyone coming in from out-of-state is still encouraged but not required. The town beach hours are 11 to 5 pm, with lifeguard staffing that started 2 weeks ago, except on Mondays. Boat launch monitoring staff is a problem; currently there is only 1 person hired & worked two 8-hours shifts this past weekend & will likely continue that, perhaps adding hours on Thursdays. More staff is needed and all were asked to share this with our communities. Out-of-state boat launching is not being enforced, given our proximity to state line.
4. Pond-related results of Richmond Annual Town Meeting Wed., 6/17 – Ken reported the following: Town beach lifeguards & equipment $15,600 approved; boat ramp monitors $20,600 initially proposed, but only $7,500 recommended & approved, plus $8,000 from RPA – that amount should be sufficient per Danielle’s communication with Ken. $15,000 weed treatment approved; goose management $600 approved.
5. Camp Russell summer camp plans– Dan was not present to report on the opening of the camp. But it is known that they are working with the Richmond Board of Health on opening plans under updated parameters. The hope is to open the camp on July 6th.
6. Lakeside Christian Camp status update– John was not present to provide any updates. Ken shared his communication yesterday with Tim Ponzani, District Executive Minister for Converge Northeast, who indicated that the camp had not yet been listed for sale but that should be firmed up in a week or so. As discussed at our last meeting, the dam at the camp is out of compliance with some items noted in the last state inspection, and realistically these remedies will not happen this summer.
Shared Goose Management Plan – Progress report – Laura reported that Eric Johnson of Wild Goose Chase NE planned to be at Richmond Pond Sunday evening (June 21), Wednesday evening (June 24) and early Friday morning (June 26) to herd any geese that are on the shores of Richmond public beach, Camp Russell (at the Pond and pool), the Levy property, South Pond Farm, and Lakeside Camp.
On June 13, Eric found families of geese at Lakeside Christian Camp in the evening, as well as at South Pond Farm. He herded them by kayak with a dog running on the shore. The geese eventually moved on. He also found geese at Richmond Town beach and Camp Russell. He used the same herding technique. On June 17, he found a family of geese near the town beach, which then they swam towards Richmond Shores although someone was clapping his hands to scare off the geese. A group of 30 geese joined the group, probably coming from the South Pond Farm / Levy’s part of the Pond. He saw about 75 geese that morning. Some of the goslings are very young so those groups have to get to land more quickly than the families with older offspring. The hope is that the geese will find safety down the canal rather than the beaches.
Since there is still a lot of goose evidence on the beaches, we decided to increase the goose chasing to three visits this next week, both morning and evenings. Right now, the geese are very comfortable on our shores, and the goal is to discourage that as well as disrupt their cycle of going from one grassy hillside to another around the Pond.
Laura is emailing interested parties the dates of the goose herding visits.
Cyanobacteria protocol model – Jim was not present, so there was not an update.
· Weed treatment conducted on 6/11 – Carl shared that Solitude performed weed treatment on June 11th for invasive weeds on the west side of the lake from the town beach to Richmond Shores including both segments of the canal. Both invasives - curly-leaf pondweed and Eurasian milfoil - were seen. A late July survey will be done to determine if an August treatment will be needed. Doreen asked about the efficacy of the weed treatment in the canal, as the canal continues to be weed-choked. Carl suggested that she meet with Solitude when they come to do the assessment in July. She is agreeable to this. Ken clarified that Solitude’s treatment only impacts the invasives, and suggested contacting ConCom to ask whether permits are required for homeowners or others to rake native weeds out of the canal.
· Tributaries & beaches – water sampling results – Carl reported that on June 16th Ken and Carl took water samples at Clark’s Brook, Richmond Shores Bridge Street, Whitewood Brook, Tracy Brook (on Levy property) and at the dam on Lakeside property. All readings for E. coli, Phosphates and Nitrates were tested in the safe zone. The E.coli at Clark’s Brook was 137 and was 161 at Tracy Brook which is nicely below the 235 safe swimming threshold.
· Memorial options for Jack O’Brien – Carl updated the group on discussions about memorial options with the O’Brien family. Ken shared the current cost of a bench that would exactly match the two already at the boat launch area; it would be $725 including in-ground mount, by Frog Furnishings, plus $235 shipping, for a total of $960. This is quite a bit more than they cost 4 years ago, according to the vendor, primarily resulting from the recently imposed tariffs. Additional discussions are needed about locations, permissions, installation plans & costs or whether to shift to a plaque or similar approach, as RPA & other pond-related entities honor those who have positively impacted the pond. Carl suggested that just a brass plaque be created & mounted on an existing bench. Carl also had chatted with John O’Brien of Crescent Creamery about this idea, as well as having the family construct something on the lake side of Jack’s cottage so his large family would see it on their visits & stop & reflect on everything Papa Jack has done. This will be discussed more at the next meeting.
· Book on History of Richmond Pond – Ken has communicated with the prospective publisher regarding preferred formats for submission. He is continuing to reach out to seek commitments for segment writers, with limited results thus far. This has been slow progress but the target still is for a late spring 2021 publication date.
· Airport update – New manager Daniel Shearer started 6/15; Danielle reported to Ken that the airport noise-related communication action is on the agenda for Richmond Select Board meeting tomorrow.
· Format/location for RPA 7/28 “annual meeting”– Discussion was held as to where the annual meeting was to be held. Balderdash was suggested but decided against primarily due to Covid-19 concerns. It was felt that the safest way to hold our meetings during this period would be by Zoom. A motion was made, seconded & approved to hold our July & August meetings by Zoom. For next year, it was suggested that it would be nice to hold meetings at other locations around the pond, like town beach, Lakeside Christian Camp, &/or Balderdash.
Any update items, of interest to all, from camps, community associations & others:
· Marijuana farm- Laura reported the South Pond Farm community has cause for concern because they learned recently that there is currently a marijuana farm being built on Barker Road, just north of the Richmond/Pittsfield town line. The name of the farm is EOS Bittersweet. From what she knows, there will be a cultivation building and 2 green houses. They will also be growing outdoors. Susan was able to find the notice which was in the Pittsfield Gazette July 2019.
Next meeting – the “Annual” meeting, Tuesday, July 28, 2020, 5:30 pm Zoom. Meeting adjourned at 6:39 PM. (NOTE - The start time of the annual meeting was subsequently changed to 7:00 pm.)
Directors present (voting): Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Susan Benner (vice president, Whitewood), Doreen Donovan (Richmond Shores), Laura Rosenthal (South Pond Farm)
Alternates present: Louise Brogan (Branch Farm)
Guests present: Peter Miller (Richmond Shores)
Directors Absent: Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell), John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp)
Alternates Absent: Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell), John O’Brien (Branch Farm), Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission), Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm), Brian Grebeldinger (Richmond Shores), Kitty Levitan (Whitewood), Tim Mason (independent cottages), Al Nardacci (independent cottages)
Ex-officio/non-voting Absent: Danielle Fillio (Richmond Town Administrator), Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield), Dan Scorpa (Richmond Conservation Commission)
MINUTES - Richmond Pond Association
Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 5:30 pm, via Zoom online meeting
Opener – Doreen welcomed all to the RPA Zoom meeting and clarified the voting process. Roll call was taken.
1. Approve 4/28/20 meeting minutes - A motion was made to approve the April 28thminutes. The minutes were approved.
2. Treasurer’s Report & approval of 2020-2021 budget – Carl referred to the draft FY 2020-2021 budget that was recently emailed to all board members & alternates. He reported total assets of $60,217, broken down as follows: dam maintenance fund $19,972; canal restoration fund $3,501; and all other bank accounts $36,744. The distributed budget sheet from yesterday now has 3 additions to expenses: expected invoices for the Directors and Officers insurance of $743, the ESS Nordeen Marsh/lake level monitoring program year 3 of $3,200, and LAPA-West dues of $100. Total income to date in FY 2020 is $23,923, which includes the $7,000 donation from Balderdash. Expected expenses to date are about $20,417. This suggests a net income of $3,504. The proposed FY 2021 budget projects $11,060 in revenues, $22,146 in expenses (including the one-time contribution of $8,000 toward boat ramp monitors), for a net loss of $11,086. This would leave us with a balance of $53,131 at the end of FY2021. A motion was made to approve the proposed FY 2021 budget with the mentioned amendments. The FY 2021 budget was approved.
3. COVID-19 State of Emergency& Re-Opening phases – Danielle was not present so Ken relayed her responses to the email he had sent her. The Governor’s declared State of Emergency is still in effect. Each phase will last at least 3 weeks, possibly longer depending on numbers and testing.
a. Impact on cottage rentals to locals and people from out of state – Previously announced restrictions remain in effect under phase 1. However they are working to get that changed prior to phase 2.
b. Date when boat ramp monitors start - Not known at this time.
c. Town beach “soft” opening - Also not known at this time.
d. Official town beach season opening date - Not known at this time.
Ken did cite the current Massachusetts guidelines for beaches shown below.
(Excerpts from 5/18 memo from Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs, subject: Beaches Guidelines for Managers – “All beach visitors shall comply with COVID-19 Order 31: Order requiring Face Coverings in Public Places Where Social Distancing is Not Possible: “…any person over the age of 2,… to wear a face covering or mask when they cannot maintain 6 feet of distance between themselves and others… Masks are not required to be worn while swimming. No groups larger than 10 are allowed to gather.”)
e. Lifeguards begin when, during what days/hours - Not known at this time.
f. Boat launching by out-of-state registered vehicles prohibited - Danielle is trying to figure out the logistics of enforcing this. Neil Pilson reported that he has seen boats with New York license plates at the boat ramp but there is little assistance from law enforcement and the environmental police. He felt that it is impractical to try and enforce this. Jim McGrath felt that it is more important to hire a boat ramp monitor to make sure the boats coming into Richmond Pond are clean and have not been in waters where zebra mussels are present.
4. Richmond Town budget recommendations for pond-related items - Town beach lifeguards, boat ramp monitors (20,600 – 8,000 = 12,600), weed treatment, goose management ($600), to be voted on at Annual Town Meeting, Wed., June 17, 7:30 pm @ Richmond School – All recommended budget items have been voted in favor by the Select Board and will be put to a Town meeting vote.
5. Camp Russell summer camp plans– Dan reports that they are moving forward with plans to open the Camp on June 29th though they are studying social distancing strategies & waiting for the regulations from the State and ACA. The Camp will not open if it cannot do so safely. If they open, there may not be swimming in the lake; they’d use the pool, & they would participate in the goose management plan.
6. LakesideChristian Camp update – John was not present to report on the dissolution of the camp so Ken reported on the dam. Based on the 2017 inspection of the dam and a subsequent legal notice in 2019 from the MA Office of Dam Safety, concerns identified during the dam inspection were to be remedied no later than 8/5/20. Related documents have been shared by John with Rev. Tim Ponzani, District Executive Minister of Converge Northeast. While some of these items have been addressed, others have not, and according to Rev. Ponzani, the dam is now in legal non-compliance. One impact of this may be that the camp would have difficulty being put on the market or sold until the dam is back in compliance with state-listed parameters. And given the need to develop engineering plans, have them approved by the appropriate boards, put the projects out to bid, and schedule & complete the work, all within parameters impacted by COVID-19, there is no way all this can be accomplished by 8/5/20. Converge Northeast is working on this, including re-engaging the engineer who conducted the dam inspection, & will keep the RPA posted on their progress. Neil questioned if there were any documents showing who was legally responsible if anything happens to the dam. That was not known.
Shared Goose Management Plan – Finalize/approve 2020 plan, including cost-sharing – Laura reported that a letter of agreement between Wild Goose Chase, NE & South Pond Farm, Inc. (on behalf of RPA) has been finalized, clarifying the terms of the service, in compliance with the goose-herding parameters outlined by Andrew Madden of Mass Wildlife. The contracting agency is South Pond Farm, Inc., and Laura is serving as the RPA’s communication liaison with Wild Goose Chase, NE. Any concerns are to be relayed to Laura, who will serve as RPA’s point-person with the vendor. Anticipated partners to be serviced by the intervention are the Town of Richmond (town beach & boat ramp areas), Lakeside Christian Camp, South Pond Farm Condominium Assn., the Levy property and Camp Russell. Camp Russell has agreed to fund a higher portion of the total cost (up to $1,200) since Wild Goose Chase will herd geese away from both their beach and their swimming pool area. Total expenditures, as outlined in the FY 2021 budget just approved, are not to exceed $6,000 for the goose management service. Laura will review vendor billings (@ $65/half-hour) for accuracy & forward them to RPA for payment. The RPA will pay the vendor directly and then get reimbursement from the participating properties. The RPA should end up funding about half the total cost. A motion was made & approved to endorse RPA participation in the project.
Cyanobacteria protocol model - Status of protocol development & incorporation into Water Testing & Communications Protocol – Jim shared that Ken Wagner of Water Resource Services, Inc., had participated in a 2/28/20 discussion with City of Pittsfield officials & others regarding the development of a cyanobacteria protocol. Ken Wagner then wrote a 2/28/20 detailed (9-page) “white paper” summary of the group discussion & related information about cyanobacteria, monitoring processes, public interaction, & possible management options. Ken Kelly will share this paper with anyone who would like to read it. Jim recommended that next steps appear to be limiting phosphorus inputs to lakes, & development of recommended cyanobacteria monitoring & sampling protocols for Onota & Pontoosuc Lakes, hopefully within the next month. Protocols would likely include related educational outreach including consistent agreement on public signage to be used. This would then be shared with the Town of Richmond, RPA & other LAPA-West lake & pond associations.
Ken mentioned the related brochure recently developed & distributed by the Richmond Conservation Commission, which includes recommendations on suggested native vegetative borders & minimizing lawns.
Susan would like to start a more proactive educational initiative for property owners around Richmond Pond that addresses how fertilizers with phosphorus can lead to a bloom, with information to be posted at community association kiosks along with sending something to residents. Jim reported that there is information on the City of Pittsfield website that addresses this. He will send the link to Ken to put on the RPA web page.
Holly spoke about the retention ponds at Camp Russell which she believes is where most of the phosphorus into the Pond comes from. They have not been cleaned and are full. The Town is apparently responsible for their cleaning.
· Status of weed treatment vendor contract & estimated weed pre-treatment assessment & weed treatment dates – Carl reported that the contract with Solitude Lake Management has been signed by the Town of Richmond, & pre-treatment assessment & treatment of invasive weeds will proceed as planned. The pre-treatment assessment should happen this week, with the weed treatment of invasive weeds to be scheduled in June.
· Directors & Officers Insurance – Ken reports that the contract was received, with insurance effective 5-1-20; we will be billed soon.
· Book on History of Richmond Pond – Segment writers are being solicited and Ken will be in touch with the volunteers.
· Airport noise - The RPA comments previously submitted to the Airport have been shared with Danielle, for sharing with the Richmond Select Board, but Ken is not sure whether the latter has been done.
· RPA’s all-town picnic/annual meeting planning for Camp Russell – Dan shared that Camp Russell will not host any special events this year outside of the day camp. Given the restrictions of Covid-19, there will not be a picnic sponsored by RPA this year.
· Balderdash opening plans for routine operations, special events – No report.
· Two at-large vacancies on the board – Ken reported that no one has yet expressed interest in filling an at-large seat; there would be a quorum impact if one or both are filled.
Any update items, of interest to all, from camps, community associations & others?
Nordeen Marsh- Ken and Carl reported that the 3-year monitoring study by ESS Group on water levels of Nordeen Marsh & Richmond Pond has concluded. Resulting data document that water levels in the Marsh are not affected by the water levels (drawdowns, refills) in the Pond.
Walkers & Joggers – Susan requested that walkers & joggers on Lake Road Ext., Branch Farm Road, Camp Russell & Richmond Shores keep their dogs on leash & pick up after them. Ken added that anyone walking or jogging through Camp Russell should always refrain from doing so when campers are present. Related signage may be advisable.
The dam’s history - Holly shared some history about the pond’s dam. It was installed in 1865 to power local mills. In the mid-1950’s, the earthen dam, then owned by Camp Allegro, breached. They asked for help with repairs, but received none from any source. The Lakeside Christian Camp property owner is legally responsible for the dam, & the state controls water levels (draw-down permits, etc.)
Next meeting – Tuesday, June 23, 2020, 5:30 pm – likely via Zoom technology
Directors present (voting): Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Susan Benner (vice president, Whitewood), Doreen Donovan (secretary, Richmond Shores), Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell), Laura Rosenthal (South Pond Farm)
Ex-officio/non-voting present: Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield)
Alternates present: Brian Grebeldinger (Richmond Shores), Kitty Levitan (Whitewood), Tim Mason (independent cottages), Al Nardacci (independent cottages), Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm), Louise Brogan (Branch Farm)
Guests present: Miles Garfinkel (Richmond Shores), Leslie Breeding (Richmond Shores), Holly Stover (RPA founder, Town of Richmond), Peter Miller (Richmond Shores),), Alex Rosenblum (Richmond Shores); Neil Pilson (chairman, Richmond Select Board)
Directors Absent: John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp)
Ex-officio/non-voting Absent: Danielle Fillio (Richmond Town Administrator, Dan Scorpa (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Alternates Absent: Kais Abderrahim, Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell), John O’Brien (Branch Farm), Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission)
MINUTES - Richmond Pond Association
Tuesday, April 28, 2020, 5:30 pm, via Zoom online meeting
Opener: Ken welcomed all to the Zoom meeting and introduced the newest alternate Tim Mason, property mgr. of Levy property. He also clarified the voting process (7 primary directors only). Danielle shared usage tips on conducting and participating in the Zoom meeting.
1. Impact of corona virus on the pond, cottage rentals, & RPA – Danielle reported that the boat ramp would not be closed and will be staffed by boat ramp monitors this summer, but all races and fishing derbies have been cancelled. There are signs up that the town beach is not open; it will remain closed at least until May 18, in support of the social distancing parameters of the Governor’s and the Richmond Department of Public Health’s declared state of emergency. The locked gate to the beach was vandalized. This is a problem because there is not staff to monitor. The Town of Richmond has been following state guidelines since 3/15; this includes an order that all forms of short-term lodging rentals, including Airbnb’s, are restricted to medical personnel and other essential COVID-19 workers. If such a renter becomes ill with COVID-19, they must quarantine in place for at least 14 days and may not leave until cleared by public health authorities. This will continue to May 18th as set by the governor of Massachusetts.
2. Lakeside Christian Camp closure – John Mead reported that the closing came as a surprise. There is hope of selling the camp to another Christian entity. John will stay on part time for 9 months to manage transition matters. They are currently getting bids for dam repairs and these bids will be shared with Ken, as partial funding for repairs may be requested from RPA.
3. Approve 10/22/19 meeting minutes– The minutes were approved without any changes.
4. Treasurer’s Report– Carl reports that there is $60,000 in all accounts, including $19,900 in the dam maintenance fund & $3,500 in the canal restoration fund. Donations to date this fiscal year = $19,732 (unusually high & include the fall 2019 Balderdash donations). Expectations are that donations in the 2021 fiscal year (July to June) will fall well below the usual $10K, given COVID-19 hardships.
5. Boat ramp monitors - Cost = $20,600; The Town of Richmond, anticipating COVID-19 related budget stresses, has requested that RPA assist with funding the cost of the boat ramp monitors this summer. Carl shared that RPA had financially supported the boat ramp monitor program at $8,000 per year in 2012 and 2013. Motion by Carl to allocate $8,000 toward summer 2020 boat ramp monitor expenses. This was approved with a unanimous vote.
Shared Goose Management Plan – Laura reported that South Pond Farm will be the contracting agency for Wild Goose Chase NE. Cost = $6,000 maximum; the vendor’s charges will be $65/half hour; minimum visit $130; normal visit = 2 hours @ $260 x 3/week - $780/week. RPA would pay half of the expenses & collect contributions from PIPOs; vendor invoices will be reviewed by Laura & forwarded to RPA for payment. Partners (PIPOs - primary impacted property owners) are expected to include RPA $3,000 or slightly more, Town of Richmond $600, South Pond Farm $600, Levy property $200, (Lakeside Christian Camp – a hardship waiver, to benefit the pond), and Camp Russell $600 or $1,200.
There is still uncertainty if Camp Russell will be open this year. Dan has discussed the cost of participating in the goose management program with his Board and a decision has not been made. Their cost would be higher if they wanted their swimming pool area included. A vote to approve a contract was deferred to the May RPA meeting. Ken reminded all of the brochure recently distributed by the Richmond Conservation Commission encouraging planting & maintaining native vegetative shoreline barriers, minimizing lawns, etc. as additional goose management strategies.
Reports on Winter Research Projects:
· Cyanobacteria protocol model; incorporation into Water Testing & Communications Protocol. Ken reported that the City of Pittsfield had begun developing a cyanobacteria testing and communications protocol, but work on it was suspended when the city’s response to COVID-19 consumed planning energies. Ken shared that Jim plans to rejuvenate development of a protocol, so this item was deferred to the next meeting when hopefully Jim can be in attendance.
· Development of a canal restoration plan – Doreen reported that a core group from Richmond Shores developed an initial list of parameters that should be included in a plan for addressing the canal. This list was shared with Ken, who provided several suggested clarifications for incorporation. Next steps are to insure that the canal is treated in the designated areas from Nordeen Marsh to the inlet and to be assessed for retreatment if necessary. Long term would be to investigate hydro-raking and raising funds if this project was to become a reality.
· Book on History of Richmond Pond – Ken reported that in 2019, after developing a draft Table of Contents, both the RPA & Richmond Historical Commission endorsed the project. After researching options, a publisher specializing in small book runs, Troy Bookmakers, Inc., has been identified. Two cost estimates for designing, formatting & printing a hardcover book of 100 pages, including multiple B&W photos, were provided. Printing of 100 copies would be $3,620 (or $36.20/book). Printing of 250 copies would be $4,275 or $17.10/book. The extra press run of 150 books would cost only $630, at $4.20/book. A detailed cost breakdown of the parameters of the estimates has been received, & a draft marketing strategy with a sale price of $20 has been developed, with a target publication & sale date in late spring 2021. A sponsor or sponsors would be sought to defray part of the cost, but RPA would be asked to front the publishing cost of $2,620 to $3,275, to be partially or fully reimbursed by book sales. A funding commitment from RPA would be sought this summer or early fall. Volunteer writers for each segment of the book are now being sought, & those interested can be provided with much more detail; volunteers are encouraged to contact Ken.
· RPA Annual Report – Has been posted on RPA website & submitted for inclusion in the Town’s Annual Report; formal approval is deferred to our May meeting.
· Status of weed treatment plans & Town budget support – Because the annual Town meeting has been postponed until June, there was discussion on how the Town would fund the weed treatment. In the past this has been approved at the annual Town meeting in May. The pre-assessment from Solitude is usually done in May and the treatment in June. Danielle will look to see if there are any funds available now to fund the pre-treatment. Carl and Danielle will work together with the vendor to clarify financing & timing of the project.
· Develop Watershed Management Plan - Danielle reinforced that this should be a ConCom initiative. Jim will get the related maps to Ron as a starting point.
· Educational initiatives – On hold, per COVID-19 school restrictions. Susan would like to restart the program in the early fall and focus on the younger students from K-3rd grade.
· Filling of 2 at-large vacancies on the board – These are still open.
· Directors & Officers Insurance (cost & coverage’s) – Ken received a quote of $743/year ($733 + $10 for splitting the cost of 2-year policy). Why do we need a D&O policy? Ken shared the following from the vendor, Alliant Insurance Services, Inc.: “Your organization and its board of directors, executives, employees, club members and volunteers should be included as insured on both your General Liability coverage and Directors & Officers (D&O) coverage, and it is important to understand that these policies offer very different types of protection. (General liability responds to allegations of bodily injury or property damage.) A D&O policy defends against allegations of mismanagement including misappropriation of funds, errors or omissions in management decisions, neglect, breach of fiduciary duty, etc. The Conserve-A-Nation D&O policy also includes a separate coverage section designed to respond to allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and other similar claims. Further, without a D&O policy in place, your board members can be held personally liable for certain decisions they make or actions they take as fiduciaries of your organization and it is unlikely that their personal liability or personal umbrella policy will protect against this type of claim.”
(It was noted that SPF & RSA both have D&O for their boards, & attorney Alex Rosenblum, who was participating, recommended that RPA should have it; it’s a cost of doing business, to protect our volunteers.) Motion – To approve contracting for D&O Insurance @ $743/year. Motion passed unanimously.
· Airport noise & sharing of RPA comments with interim airport manager, Anita Akor – Ken recently sent his fall 2019 letter to the new airport manager in regards to airport noise impact on the pond. She responded immediately, thanking him for updating her of our concerns.
· RPA’s all-town picnic/annual meeting planning for Camp Russell (on 7/28) – Dan & Susan will discuss this at a later RPA meeting when more is known about summer activities on the pond.
· Potential support for Richmond School Food Program free lunches - Linda Kay had sent an email to Ken and Holly Stover suggesting that RPA consider donating the funds that RPA would normally expend on the all-town picnic to the Richmond Free Lunch Program if the picnic is canceled. (Ken had responded to Linda & Holly that expending RPA funds for a program completely unrelated to the pond & the RPA’s mission would not be an appropriate use of RPA funds.)
Linda was not present for this meeting, but Holly did speak to the value of the free lunch program, as well as the related food & fuel support activities of the BCAC (Berkshire Community Action Council), and the need to educate our community of what is available for assistance. She & Danielle confirmed that there is funding for the school’s free lunch program until the end of the school year, but funding may be needed if it’s to continue over the summer. While encouraging individuals to donate to the Town or BCAC in support of a summer lunch program was discussed, Holly thought it was wise to wait and see what the Town and the school will do to help support this program, so no action was taken.
· Balderdash – Opening plans for routine operations & special event plans - Deferred
· Richmond Annual Town Meeting postponed to Wed., June 17, 7:30 pm – Richmond School. The Richmond Town Caucus will be held Saturday, May 9, 11:00 am, at Richmond School, with participants staying in their vehicles, listening to a radio broadcast of the session, & raising their hands for nomination & other vote counts.
· Reminder – PFD’s must be worn Sept. 15 to May 15 by kayakers, canoeists & SUP users; must always be worn by water-skiers, personal watercraft users & youth under 12.
Next meeting – Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 5:30 pm – likely via Zoom technology
Directors present (voting): Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Susan Benner (vice president, Whitewood), Doreen Donovan (Richmond Shores), Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell), John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp), Laura Rosenthal (South Pond Farm),
Ex-officio/non-voting present: Danielle Fillio (Richmond Town Administrator)
Alternates present: Brian Grebeldinger (Richmond Shores), Kitty Levitan (Whitewood), Tim Mason (independent cottages), Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm), Al Nardacci (independent cottages), Louise Brogan (Branch Farm)
Guests present: Miles Garfinkel (Richmond Shores), Chris Thomson (Richmond Shores), Leslie Breeding (Richmond Shores), Holly Stover (RPA founder, Town of Richmond), Peter Miller (Richmond Shores), Matt Palardy (former boat launch monitor), Alex Rosenblum (Richmond Shores)
Ex-officio Absent: Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield), Dan Scorpa (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Alternates Absent: Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell), John O’Brien (Branch Farm), Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission)
MINUTES - Tuesday, October 22, 2019, 5:30 pm, Richmond Town Hall
1. Approval of Minutes - Ken opened the meeting at 5:30 and asked for approval of the minutes from 9/24/19. They were approved unanimously.
2. Approve tentative meeting schedule for 2020 (mostly 4th Tuesdays April-October) - 4/28, 5/19 (a 3rd Tuesday, since 5/26 is day after Memorial Day), 6/23, 7/28 (annual picnic, Camp Russell), 8/25 (note - Labor Day is not until 9/7), 9/22, & 10/27. Theses dates were approved.
3. Advertising in Richmond Record – Ken asked for approval to renew our advertising in the Richmond Record but to expand the months we advertise. RPA currently is paying $29/month x 5 (1 month free) = $145 + 38 July = $183. Proposed $29/month x 10 (1 month free) = $290 + 38 July = $328, so a $145 increase. The circulation about is about 400 readers/month. This was approved.
Ken also asked if anyone was interested in writing for the RR. There were no volunteers.
4. Election of Secretary for 2019-2020 – Doreen Donovan was nominated and approved to become the RPA secretary for the 2019-2020 year.
5. Treasurer’s Report – Carl Foote reports that there is $55,716 in all accounts, including $14,340 in dam maintenance fund. Donations to date this fiscal year = $14,865, including $7,000 from Balderdash and $500 from Lee Bank. Carl made two motions, one to create a canal restoration fund and secondly to allocate the donation from Balderdash 50% to the dam fund and 50% to the canal fund. That would be $3,500 each. Both were approved.
1. All-Pond Goose Management Plan – John shared the proposed parameters for the 2020 contract with Wild Goose Chase NE. This would include limited addling, and the use of trained border collies. John recommended that $6,000 be budgeted for the 2020 plan expenses; this was approved. He further recommended that the cost sharing for this include the RPA (50%), with the remainder to be equally shared by the Town of Richmond, Lakeside CC, South Pond Farm, Camp Russell, and the Levy’s. Richmond Shores has opted out at this time. Whitewood may like to participate in the management plan. Susan will double-check on this, as this was the first she had heard about it.
Ken shared that there was a waterfowl harassment complaint submitted to Mass Fish & Game; Andrew Madden, Western MA District Supervisor contacted Eric Johnson, Wild Goose Chase, about it. Both Eric and Ken separately discussed the complaint with Andrew Madden, who advised that his interpretation of a MA General Law meant that, while use of border collies to herd geese off private properties onto the pond was OK, once the geese were off private property, and on public waters, they could not be further hazed, to encourage them to leave the pond. If this is the case, the current vendor has indicated that he will likely not want to work at Richmond Pond.
Jim McGrath will investigate this further, and advised that this interpretation by Andrew Madden be put forth in writing to Mass Fish and Game HQ for a written opinion. Ken, John & Jim will follow up with this. Ken noted, both to Mr. Madden & to the RPA, that the Wild Goose Chase website states that using herding dogs for goose control, or hazing, is endorsed by a number of wildlife and environmental agencies, including: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation, CN Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection, and The Humane Society of the US.
· Development of a treatment plan for the canal – RSCA will begin this process, which would also involve others from the RPA & from the Town of Richmond.
· Update Water Testing & Related Communications Protocol - Ken and Carl attend a workshop sponsored by LAPA-West, which focused on strategies for suspected cyanobacteria blooms. See LAPA-West segment below. Once an emergency protocol for reporting, testing & communications regarding such blooms is developed, it should be incorporated into the Richmond Pond Water Testing & Related Communications Protocol.
· Review & possibly update Pond Management Plan (2016 through 2021) - It is currently on the RPA website – Action on this is deferred, but the Plan ultimately should incorporate the 3-year water level monitoring study, goose management efforts, & canal treatment.
· Develop Watershed Management Plan - Jim McGrath reported that there are funds available through the Commonwealth that will provide 7 free hours from Berkshire Regional Planning Commission toward watershed mapping. He will contact BRPC to begin this process. Danielle shared that ConCom would likely be asked to take the lead on this project.
· Book on History of Richmond Pond - Ken is reaching out to the Lenox Library director for guidance on how to proceed. Gloria Morse is also continuing her research. Laura Rosenthal may be able to gather more resources from a neighbor of South Pond.
· Educational initiatives - Susan has worked with the Richmond school committee & Mass Audubon to arrange to have students come to properties on the Pond as a learning opportunity. They were to have helped with plantings as barriers and also learn about water testing. While scheduling of the visit(s) by the school didn’t happen and the students therefore were unable to visit last year, Susan & Louise will follow up to target student visits for spring 2020. Ron reported that the Conservation Commission has developed educational material that they will be sending out to Richmond residents, excerpting applicable portions of the MA Wetlands Protection Act.
It was also suggested having Berkshire Power Squadron come and do an education program for young boaters; John will follow up on arranging this.
· Annual Report 2019 - Ken will prepare this, as Doreen is new and is not familiar with this report.
(While not mentioned at the meeting, Ken will be requesting interim progress reports from conveners approximately Feb. 1st& April 1st, so that project reports will be ready to present at April RPA meeting.)
Other Discussion Items:
· Balderdash Harvest Concert Series - Danielle reported that at the Board of Selectmen hearing on 10/10, there were discussions from residents as to the impact those concerts & other special events have had on them. There was not any action taken at this time, but comments shared will be revisited in the spring when Balderdash applies for new event permits. Daniele mentioned that 2 residents were also scheduled to appear before the Board of Selectmen on 10/23 regarding the concerts. Christian reported that there are only 5 weddings scheduled for 2020. A special permit is needed for larger parties. Most RPA board members felt that RPA should not take a position either pro or con the harvest concerts but should continue to observe & facilitate communications between the parties.
· Filling at-large vacancies on the board - Deferred. There are 2 at-large director positions open.
· Information from LAPA-West Symposium; management strategy for suspected blooms – Ken shared a 1-page handout summarizing the 10/5/19 workshop, which focused on toxic cyanobacteria blooms. This is a very important and complex subject. He shared the following email from Jim McGrath which said “The City is planning to convene a meeting (or several) over the fall / winter months to discuss cyanobacteria rapid-response planning. We were flying by the seat of our pants this summer, and we learned a few things along the way. We’ll reach out and include Richmond Pond leadership once we have something to review.” Jim will share their plan with the Town of Richmond & the RPA. He feels that it will be beneficial for all the lakes in Berkshire County to have the same signage for posting if a bloom does occur. They know that a rapid response plan and a call chain are critical. This will be a winter exercise.
· Access rights vs. trespassing/homeowner rights– Danielle did not have any new information but will be investigating this more, to interpret the impact of Chapter 91 Waterways Regs (310 CMR 9.00) regarding the extent to which the public has ability to transverse perimeter of great pond regulated by MassDEP, 310 CMR 9.35(3)(b) - (See 9/24 RPA minutes for excerpt of the state reg.)
· Drawdown plan & its permit status – John reported that the permit from the City of Pittsfield was approved. The drawdown will begin November 1st. The drawdown is 1 to 2 inches a day until a 2-foot drawdown is reached.
· Airport noise & comment submitted regarding Airport Master Plan Update – Ken related that he attended the public informal session on 10/2 about the airport master plan to express concern about the few very loud airport takeoffs that occur very early in the morning & at night, & inquire about the airport’s goose management experience this year. He was the only member of the public who showed up, so there was no presentation about the plan, though many handouts were available. His interactions with airport manager Kris Keane & the master plan consultants (from Stantec) were productive. Ken read his draft comment on behalf of RPA to Stantec Consulting Services regarding the Pittsfield Municipal Airport Master Plan Update. Laura asked that Pittsfield be added, as the South Pond Farm community is impacted by the airport. The RPA endorsed Ken’s letter unanimously, with this one amendment.
Susan made a motion to ask the Town of Richmond to support Ken’s recommendations for the Pittsfield Airport. This was approved. Ken will revise his letter to include the Pittsfield residents of the Pond, and will share his letter with the Richmond Board of Selectmen, requesting that they also communicate to the Airport on behalf of Town residents.
· Reminder – PFD’s must be worn 9/15 to 5/15 by kayakers/canoeists, SUP users & water-skiers.
· Parking & road & marine traffic problems at the boat ramp – Danielle will be sending a letter to the State requesting authority to install temporary signs designating parking areas for vehicles with trailers.
· Safety concerns - pedestrians crossing railroad tracks to Balderdash – Christian reported that he has installed roping and signage on their property by the railroad tracks to discourage patrons from leaving Balderdash property and crossing the railroad tracks. No open containers are to leave their property.
Any update items, of interest to all, from camps & community associations
· Linda Kay reported that part of a beaver dam was in the canal. This happened after the rainstorm the week before. She is concerned that the debris is partially covering a culvert under Shore Road. Ken asked that Linda call Danielle asking the Town to remove this debris. She will do so.
· Brian has noticed that there are lights at Camp Russell that are coming on and off every few minutes throughout the night. Ken has already called Dan & left a message about this and Brian will also call.
· Ken is researching information about possible Directors & Officers Insurance for RPA board members & volunteers. He will report on this in April.
Directors present: Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Susan Benner (vice president, Whitewood), Doreen Donovan (secretary, Richmond Shores), Danielle Fillio (Richmond Town Administrator), Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield), John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp), Laura Rosenthal (South Pond Farm), John Scorpa (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Alternates present: Louise Brogan (Branch Farm), Brian Grebeldinger (Richmond Shores), Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Guests present: Tom Grizey (Richmond Shores), Christian Hanson (Balderdash), Linda Kay (past RPA President, Richmond Shores), Neal Pilson (Richmond), Holly Stover (RPA founder, Town of Richmond), Dick Stover (Richmond)
Directors Absent: Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell)
Alternates Absent: Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Louise Brogan (Branch Farm), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell), John O’Brien (Branch Farm), Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm), Al Nardacci (independent cottages)
Next meeting – Tuesday, April 28, 2020, 5:30 pm – Town Hall
MINUTES - Tuesday, September 24, 2019, 5:30 pm, Richmond Town Hall
1. Approval of Minutes– Ken opened the meeting at 5:33 & asked for approval & acceptance of the minutes of 7/23 & 8/27. They were approved unanimously.
2. Election of Secretary for 2019-2020– Susan asked for volunteers to serve as clerk/secretary. Doreen Donovan showed potential interest and will review this for the next meeting. Carl volunteered to take notes today.
3. Canal Treatment Discussion – Barry Kellogg and others from Richmond Shores expressed excitement that the canal is receiving a higher level of attention. At this point the Richmond Shores announced that Doreen Donovan will now be the director representing them, as Barry is seasonal – he will serve as an alternate. They admit that they have a new management team and need to learn about past research. Ken Kelly reminded that an evaluation was done with Solitude, who recommended a $40 to $50K hydro raking project. This project would need additional resources to remove & dispose of the debris. Linda Kay spoke up that the Shores feel that the whole project was being dumped in their lap. Both Ken and Kitty responded that RPA always intended to back & be involved in the project, & despite inconsistent RPA participation by former Shores representatives, has taken many steps to prepare for a more aggressive approach to the health of the canal. Later in the meeting, Linda suggested that RPA create a reserve account, like the dam maintenance account, which would promote donations just for future canal work. The group agreed to put it on the agenda for the October meeting. Linda also shared that the Shores has installed 8 additional catch basins since the initial project. Tom Grizey (Richmond Shores) shared that he managed the dredging project 35 years ago, which was funded by a grant. Ken responded that at our last meeting, Jim McGrath strongly stated that, based on his experience, a deep drawdown will not be approved by Natural Heritage for a dredging project.
4. All-Pond Goose Management Plan
John had summarized last month what appears to have been partial success from the herd chasing. Ken shared that 80 geese remain together, alternating between South Pond Farm or Camp Russell, with other small groups here & there. This is about half of what we experienced last year.
Doreen asked the group to comment on what seemed to work. John reported that the egg addling phase had little effect, as only one nest was found. Vegetation buffers, some fencing, & the dog chasers were discussed. John suggested that we continue with Wild Goose Chase’s herd-chasing process next year, maybe on a smaller scale. John was asked to bring a proposal for the 2020 season, with recommended cost-sharing, to next month’s RPA meeting, for review & possible approval.
Carl reported that billings from visits by Wild Goose Chase NE totaled $5,330, all of which has been paid up front by the RPA, which is absorbing 50% of this cost, or $2,665. Two billings have been issued to the five PIPOs (primary impacted property owners), the second billing only very recently. Camp Russell, Lakeside Christian Camp and Town of Richmond have paid the initial bill, so each now owe the RPA only $390 each. Richmond Shores & South Pond Farm each still owe their entire $533 share. Laura Rosenthal provided Carl with their accountant’s mailing address. (NOTE - After the meeting, Carl received full payment from the Town of Richmond & Camp Russell.)
Other Discussion Items:
· Public access rights vs. trespassing & homeowner rights – Chapter 91 Waterways Regulations (310 CMR 9.00), esp. 310 CMR 9.35(3)(b). See excerpt at end of these minutes. This regulation, which applies to tidelands and great ponds, states that the public has the ability to transverse the perimeter of a great pond regulated by the MassDEP; Richmond Pond is a great pond so regulated. Dock licenses spell this out. Chapter 91 allows a public access right 5-feet above the high-water mark. Most people commented that their waterfront configuration cannot provide this. Ken will follow-up for a clarification on public access rights vs. trespassing by reaching out to a DEP contact provided by Jim McGrath. Holly mentioned the old Indian trail around the pond, but it was noted that segments of that trail are much further off the waterfront and would now involve trespassing on private land.
· Safety concerns about pedestrians crossing railroad tracks to Balderdash – Ken spoke with Danielle before the meeting, who had learned that CSX is responsible for putting up signage, but they do not do this along long stretches of track. Abutters may install signs, but they must be at least 12 feet from the track. The state owns Town Beach Road, so any signs on that side would have to be put up by or approved by the state; Danielle is researching this. Balderdash plans to put up related signage on their side of the tracks. Some of the Richmond Shores residents prefer to cross the rails to get to Balderdash. Christian said that Balderdash does not encourage customers to access the tracks from the Shores or park at the boat launch & walk up, nor taking a glass down to & crossing the tracks to the lake. Danielle is exploring placing a barrier at the cut-through from the boat launch. Ken suggested that Balderdash could discontinue mowing a path all the way down to the tracks. Others really want to keep it open. Basically, RPA, the Shores Association & Balderdash can warn people of the risk, but walking along and over the tracks is trespassing & at the walker’s risk.
· Balderdash Harvest Concert Series, other special events & routine operations – interim evaluation of impact on the pond – Christian reported that the first 3 concerts did well; the 4thwill be this Friday. There were 200 at the first, 400 or so at the second, and 500 at the third. The music runs from 5 to 7:30 or so. He stated that this series is a trial. If it does not work out, Balderdash will discontinue this series. This will be reviewed at the next Board of Selectmen meeting, scheduled for October 10. Susan spoke out that this is a good fundraiser for the pond. Christian expects to be sending us about $4,000 from the parking proceeds, & Balderdash was thanked for this support.
Miles Garfinkel spoke on behalf of a group of Shores residents who are opposed to these concerts. They do not like the noise and do not like seeing people walking back through the neighborhood intoxicated. Christian explained that a recent wedding did get out of hand and Balderdash will not allow that to happen again. He has been monitoring sound volumes to hopefully keep the volume down. Others spoke in support of the concerts & Balderdash’s operations in general; Barry Kellogg reported that he’d spoken to many Shores residents about the concert series, & the majority do not object to or are in support of the concerts. Ken summarized that we will revisit this at our next meeting. BUT concerned parties should attend the October Board of Selectmen meeting to express their views in support of or concerns about Balderdash’s harvest concerts, as any decision on special permits rests with the Selectmen.
· Treasurer’s Report – Carl - Balance in all accounts as of 9/23/19 is $46,411 including the $14,340 in the dam maintenance account. Donations to date this fiscal year are $7,435 compared to $11,895 for all of last year. Most donations come from Richmond residents not living on the pond, while surprisingly few donations come from the most heavily populated entity on the pond – Richmond Shores. Lee Bank has donated $500 to the RPA, and following the 4th Fall Harvest Series concert (Hotshot Hillbilly’s on 9/27), a substantial donation of the concert series parking fees collected is anticipated from Balderdash.
RPA annual dues have been paid by all except for Whitewood & South Pond Farm ($300 each).
The annual fiscal report due to the state by 10/31 has been completed, reviewed & signed by Ken & Carl & has been sent off.
· Drawdown plan – John reported that it’s to begin November 1st, by 2 feet. The draw-down permit is in place for Richmond, but Pittsfield’s NOI renewal is still pending; approval is expected by 11/1.
· Reminder – PFDs must be worn 9/15 to 5/15 by kayakers/canoeists, SUP users & water-skiers.
· Parking & road & marine traffic problems at the boat ramp – Danielle has not yet received Matt Palardy’s recommendations regarding a parking plan; Ken will reach out to him with a reminder.
· Initiatives at Richmond Shores – This was covered in the canal treatment section. (11 of the 19 attendees at today’s meeting were from Richmond Shores.)
· Book on History of Richmond Pond – Ken reported that no contact person has yet been designated from either of the camps or any of the 4 community associations, to provide historical background & photos. Ken plans to caucus with Amy Lafeve of Lenox Library for suggestions on a possible book editor.
· LAPA-West Symposium - “Lake Management – Multiple Threats with Limited Resources” (free; no registration requirement); Saturday, October 5 - 8:15 am registration/refreshments; 9:00 am to 1:00 pm; Zion Lutheran Church, 74 First St., Pittsfield. Main topic = Cyanobacteria Monitoring, Treatment & Prevention; also Winter Drawdowns, Watershed-based Approaches to Fisheries Management & break interactions with exhibitors; optional 1:15 pm - Cyanobacteria monitoring demonstration. At least Ken & Carl, & possibly John & Ron plan to attend. Others are encouraged to attend.
· Richmond Board of Selectmen meeting tomorrow (9/25) has been canceled. Rescheduled for 10/10.
· Eagles update – Carl reported that Louise Brogan spoke with Andrew at the Department of Fisheries & Wildlife last week and he let her know that the eaglet that was "kicked out" of the nest was doing well and would be released any day now in the vicinity of the pond. He has not had any more reports of the eaglet with the injured leg, and would still like to get a look at it if anyone spots it. He can be reached at 413-684-1646. One juvenile was spotted as recently as the 18th, still on the south shore. Adults are still seen daily.
Any update items, of interest to all, from camps & community associations? None
Next meeting – Tuesday, October 22, 5:30 pm – Town Hall
Directors present: Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Susan Benner (vice president, Whitewood), John Mead (Lakeside Christian Camp), Laura Rosenthal (South Pond Farm), Dan Scorpa (Richmond Conservation Commission), Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores)
Alternates present: Kitty Levitan (Whitewood), Doreen Donovan (Richmond Shores), Brian Grebeldinger (Richmond Shores)
Guests present: Miles Garfinkel (Richmond Shores), Bonnie Drewniany (Richmond Shores), Marvin Smith (Richmond Shores), Holly Stover (RPA founder, Town of Richmond), Linda Kay (past RPA President, Richmond Shores), John Scorpa (Richmond Shores), Jon Adelman (Richmond Shores), Christian Hanson (Balderdash), Tom Grizey (Richmond Shores)
Directors Absent: Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield), Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell), Danielle Fillio (Richmond Town Administrator)
Alternates Absent: Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Louise Brogan (Branch Farm), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell), John O’Brien (Branch Farm), Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission), Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm), Al Nardacci (independent cottages)
Excerpt from Chapter 91 Waterways Regulations (310 CMR 9.00): See DOC
MINUTES - 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 completed 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)
MINUTES - 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.
· 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: None
Guests present: Joanne Blauer (Richmond Shores), Ellyn Brown (Richmond Shores), Christian & Donna Hanson (Balderdash), Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), 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
MINUTES - ANNUAL MEETING/PICNIC -
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
DRAFT MINUTES - Tuesday, June 25, 2019, 5:30 pm, Town Hall (basement room)
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)
MINUTES - 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)
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, may be added to this page at a later time.