Draft Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, October 25, 2022, 7:00 pm, by Zoom
Welcome – Ken opened the meeting by acknowledging Louise Brogan, our new VP, as she was unable to attend last month. He observed that most boats have been taken out for the season, most docks have been removed, and seasonal cottages are buttoning up for the winter. This is the final RPA meeting of the calendar year, but the RPA has work to be done over the winter. This meeting will shape how much the RPA can accomplish both off-season and in 2023.
The material distributed before the meeting included the agenda and a list of the tasks that are in addition to what the officers perform. As this list is reviewed, the hope is that all will volunteer for one or more of the projects and tasks listed. Ken reminded the attendees that the RPA is only effective at preserving the pond if we all pull together to help the officers by sharing a piece of the workload.
Approval of RPA minutes of September 20 meeting – Doreen asked for a motion to approve the September 20th meeting minutes. Minutes approved.
Approval of proposed meeting dates, times & locations for 2023: Doreen listed the dates for next year’s meetings. The dates for the meetings are; 4/25, 5/23, 6/27, 7/25, 8/22, 9/26 and 10/24, all Tuesdays at 7 pm. A motion was made and approved to have the first meeting in April by Zoom and then evaluate our options for the year. She will schedule the dates at the Town Hall in case the meetings change to in-person.
Updates from Town Hall – Danielle reported that she has been in contact with the maintenance person for Camp Russell to coordinate a date to begin the remediation of the detention basins. Cam will also follow up with this.
The town beach vehicle gates were locked for the season at end of September. Pedestrians can still access the beach.
Danielle will discuss at the next BOS meeting whether the Town will continue to participate in the goose management program.
The tree that is leaning over town beach road may need to have a tree company come in to remove it. She will check with the Town’s highway manager.
Danielle discussed the importance for her to be updated on the status of weed management permitting and the vendors as the plan evolves, especially if the Town is the holder of the permit;
The Town has applied for an MVP grant. The grant’s focus is developing a storm management plan for roads and properties in Richmond. The first step is a survey for Town residents to take to gather information that will help with the development of a plan. The survey is available in the Town’s newsletter and can also be done at the Town’s library. Ken will send the link to the survey to RPA website subscribers. Once the survey is completed, the Town will report the results to the public.
Financial report– Carl reported that as of 10/24/22, there is $62,222 in all accounts. This includes $20,062 in the Dam Maintenance account, $6,037 in the History Book account, and $2,036 in the Canal Maintenance account. All dues have been paid and all invoices for Goose Management have been paid. The annual financial report has been prepared, edited and mailed to the state, and the federal filing is now completed. Laura and Carl had a first meeting to review the current accounting procedures. The history book project has about 200 books in inventory which could add up to $4,000 to that account.
Pond history book sales to date & marketing plan going forward – Ken discussed that the RPA purchased 750 books and have received payment for 519 books sold. A total of 31 free books were donated (free of charge) to libraries, book sponsors, and donors of $200 or more in this year’s annual fund-raising solicitation. There are 200 books left. Ken and Kerry have 157 of these, and the other 43 books are out at our vendors, for sale.
Seven sponsors donated a total of $2,413, and the RPA put up $6,000 in “front money” to enable payment of initial publishing costs before book sale revenue started coming in. Our income from books sales to date is $10,096, plus the donation of $2,413 from books sponsors, for revenues of $12,509. Publishing expenses of $12,151 and marketing expenses of $301, total $12,452, for a net income to date of $37. The RPA’s up-front funding of $6,000 is now fully recovered, so we have a net revenue of $37, with the potential to add another $3,000 to $4,000 when the remaining inventory is sold.
While book sales have slowed down, as expected, four of our six sale venues continue to sell the books. (Hancock Shaker Village & Arrowhead close for the winter). Marketing plans include using Richmond Record& Local Yokel to encourage holiday gift purchases, and selling the book at the spring LAPA-West symposium.
Project updates & other developments at the pond:
Weed Management- Linda, Doreen, Carl and Jim McGrath attended a Zoom meeting with Dominick of Solitude to discuss 2023 options. At this meeting Jim requested that Dominic follow up with Natural Heritage for clarification on why there was a change in decreasing Diquat quantity and their new stance on the bridle shiners. He will also ask about the timing of treatment and the areas affected by the shiners.
Jim will handle the permitting and the hope is weed harvesting, hand pulling of weeds and herbicides will all be in an amended permit through the Con Com which would enable us to have a flexible weed management plan for the Pond. The permit for Richmond needs to be renewed by May 2023. Pittsfield’s Con Com just renewed their permit for a year. Jim will ask about amending this to add in weed harvesting and hand pulling.
Solitude did not conduct a weed mapping this year. This is important to have this done yearly to be able to make a plan for treatment.
Beach, tributary and cyanobacteria testing update; updating of protocol – Carl met with Jonna and Bruce to review the tributary testing procedures and plan on doing the next tests in 2023 when the weather warms up. LAPA West does the cyanobacteria testing every other week and the RPA provides the boat.
Ken is still working on updating the working draft of the water testing protocol, merging several components. This will include E.coli testing at the beaches and tributaries along with cyanobacteria testing. Once the draft is completed, it will be circulated for corrections and approvals by the various responsible parties. He is also working on a pond-related emergency contact list.
Goose management plan assessment results & possible plan development for 2023 – Laura reported that she sent out a survey to the 2022 participants to the program. She has heard back from four of them. A summary of the feedback includes: 1) Do more chasing rather than less, and include egg addling at the beginning of the season, 2) Keep the program as is, 3) Keep the program as is but add decoys on the property, and 4) Would prefer not to participate next season.
Identification of volunteers for most RPA tasks:
Ken stated that the coming year will be one of restructuring, in part to spread the workload more evenly across all board members of the RPA, as well as other volunteers. Two “task lists” were shared in advance with all board members and with all 82 subscribers to the RPA website. The two lists, Pond Management Tasks and Marketing & Communication Tasks are in addition to the tasks that the RPA by-laws assign to each of the officers. He stressed that each of the officers already has a full workload and most of us are volunteers.
The lists were shared on the Zoom screen and Ken asked for volunteers for each task. Any tasks, for which no one volunteers, could well be tasks that don’t get performed. He encouraged members to share if they are “maybe interested” in stepping in to prevent a task from being scratched off the RPA’s list next year, although potential volunteers would need to know more about the work entailed first.
See the two separate lists (at end of these minutes) with volunteers noted.
Identification of winter projects:
Doreen will do the annual report which needs to be submitted to the Town in February.
Weed management permitting and plan will be ongoing, with Linda and Doreen
Ken will update the water testing protocol.
Louise will reach out to area schools to develop educational projects utilizing the Pond.
Odds & ends:
Pond drawdown plans – Matt reported that the drawdown begins November 1st, and will go down 1 or 2” a day until 2 feet is reached. Refill is in spring, bringing up to normal level by April 1st.
LAPA-West’s lakes & ponds management symposium: The symposium was deferred until spring. Ken will be doing a presentation on his experience with writing a book about the Pond.
Carl kayaked the lake on October 23rd and saw 3 power boats still at docks.
Bruce is working on signage for boating safety that will be displayed at the boat ramp.
Louise will follow up about remediation of the drainage swale at Branch Farm.
Adjournment: The meeting adjourned at 8:30
Directors present (voting): Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Louise Brogan (vice-president, At-Large), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Doreen Donovan (secretary, Richmond Shores), Laura Rosenthal (Asst. Treasurer, South Pond Farm), Jonna Gaberman (Whitewood), Miles Garfinkel (At-Large), Matt Linick (Camp Arrow Wood), Cam Stockton (Camp Russell)
Ex-officio present (non-voting): Danielle Fillio (Richmond Town Administrator)
Alternates present: None
Guests present: Linda Kay (Richmond Shores), Bruce Wintman (Whitewood), Holly Stover
Directors absent: None
Ex-officio absent: Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield), Tom Potter (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Alternates Absent: Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Gordon Dinsmore (South Pond Farm), Brian Grebeldinger (Richmond Shores), Kerry Hamilton (At-Large), Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), Kitty Levitan (Whitewood), Tim Mason (independent cottages), Jon Millburg (Camp Arrow Wood), Al Nardacci (independent cottages), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell), Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Pond Management Tasks Assigned (at 10/25/22 RPA Meeting)
1. Manage the weed management program, including related collaboration with the Town Administrator & weed treatment vendor(s) - Linda and Doreen
2. Assist with the weed management program - Jim McGrath & Danielle
3. Study & implement strategies to control invasive plants (purple loosestrife, phragmites australis (common reed), others, (possibly as school project) – Holly & Miles
4. Manage the tributary testing program (4 tributaries & the outflow at the dam), including taking samples & driving samples (on ice) to the Lee testing lab & maintaining related historical records. Communicating results to others as appropriate - Louise, Jonna & Bruce
5. Assist with tributary water testing program (access to a boat by one of the two tributary testers is helpful but not required) - Louise, Jonna & Bruce
6. Provide twice-monthly boat rides for the LAPA-West cyanobacteria tester (summer only; requires boat) – Louise with Ken & Don assisting
7. Develop an updated merged water testing & related communications protocol (beaches, tributaries, & cyanobacteria) & solicit endorsements from all involved parties - Ken, Louise, Jonna & Bruce
8. Manage the Canada goose management program - No volunteers
9. Monitor & maintain the public shoreline fishing trail beyond town beach - Miles
Marketing & Communication Tasks Assigned (at 10/25/22 RPA Meeting)
1. Manage the RPA website, including keeping it updated (posting minutes, updates, etc.) – Bruce, Ken assists with transition
2. Serve as “backup” RPA website manager, with access password & editing instructions – Bruce, initially
3. Manage the RPA website’s subscriber list (now 86 members) & send out twice monthly email communications to that list (RPA meeting reminders, notices that the most recent minutes have been posted, & occasional special notices such as pond closings) - Doreen
4. Manage the RPA Facebook page - No volunteers
5. Update, print & distribute the RPA brochures (to boat launch kiosk holder & Bartlett’s) - Doreen
6. Maintain the RPA kiosk at the public boat launch - Doreen
7. Write a monthly Richmond Pond Update column, with photos, for the Richmond Record (April to November) - No volunteers; Ken will continue for a few more months
8. Manage the RPA Zoom account & serve as host for RPA meetings conducted by Zoom. Carl
9. Plan & coordinate the annual RPA meeting & picnic - Louise
10. Maintain RPA’s non-financial historical records (hard copy &/or electronic) - see separate list of project files) – Maintenance of these files may be split by function. Holly suggested they be stored in the new Town Library
11. Manage ongoing marketing for the book - A History of Richmond Pond - Kerry
12. Maintain & share with a select few a more private list of emergency contacts (cell numbers preferred) around the pond (both camps, the 4 community associations, key town officials, etc.) -Ken
13. Develop & support an educational outreach initiative to engage local school students with pond management - Holly & Louise
Richmond Pond Association – Minutes
Tuesday, September 20, 2022 - 7:00 pm, via Zoom online
Welcome – Ken called the meeting to order at 7:04 pm. He reported that we had a super annual meeting and picnic August 23 at Camp Arrow Wood, with over 100 attending. Major thanks are due to Louise Brogan for organizing the event, to the Camp Arrow Wood staff for hosting the event, and for all the RPA volunteers who chipped in to serve food, sell books, and assist in other ways. Docks are already being pulled out around the pond, as we transition into the fall. He relayed that this meeting will be a “transitional” meeting as well, not only because of the change of seasons, but for the future management of RPA, which will be discussed as we go through the agenda.
Updates from the Town:
Town beach status - Danielle was not present, but Neal reported in her absence. He visited the town beach every weekend and did not see any more garbage issues. He was pleased with the condition of the beach and with the boat monitors. It was felt that locking the town beach gates at 6 pm was helpful. Marvin Smith asked if the Town was aware of a tree on Town Beach Rd that had been struck by lighting and could pose a safety hazard if it was to fall. Miles had reported this to the Town. Neal indicated that he was aware of it & was planning to address it.
Camp Russell detention basins – Ken shared the related recent email he’d received from Danielle. She indicated that the Town already has an approved RDA from Con Com and NHESP, and had been waiting for the camp season to end to do the work. It is much easier to do when water is not flowing through as it is in late spring and early summer. The town is attempting to work out a schedule with Camp Russell to get the work done. They have done some work, but more needs to be done.
Approval of RPA minutes of August 23 annual meeting – Minutes were approved.
Financial report - Carl reported that the balance in all accounts is $61,627. The dam maintenance fund has a balance of $24,066 and the canal fund has a balance of $2,042. Contributions to date this calendar year are at $9,570. He is working on the annual tax filing, due 10/31/22.
Kitty asked if it was still appropriate to have the dam maintenance fund for the Camp Arrow Wood. Ken had discussed this previously with Mill Town and they had indicated that any financial help would be appreciated. Matt explained that this is a complicated project that has been ignored for 30 years and they are still working on understanding the work that needs to be done. Ken postponed any judgment on this until the proposed budget for 2023 is discussed.
Update on book marketing & sales – Carl explained that RPA had budgeted $6,000 to cover publishing costs and received an additional $2,400 in book sponsorships for a budget of $8,400. Now with all publishing expenses $12,151.50 (for 750 books) paid, and marketing costs of $300 also paid, and with book sale revenue to date of $18,454, there is $5,702 left in the book account. The net cost to date of the project has therefore been just $298, with many more books to be sold. If we sell just 15 of them, at $20 each, we more than break even. This performance suggests that this project has not only been an educational and RPA marketing project, but will shortly end up having paid for itself. The Initial $6,000 earmark has been recouped, enabling its future re-designation, as well as proceeds from future book sale revenues, for support of other RPA expenses.
Ken shared that books were sold at the recent Richmond Pie-Nic. An email has been sent to all LAPA-West pond association officers about the book, encouraging member pond associations to consider developing their own pond history book (& buying one of ours). A news item is to be submitted for the next BEAT News, and book sales are planned at the fall LAPA-West symposium. Books remain available at Bartlett’s and 5 local bookstores.
Announcements by Ken & Carl -
Ken discussed his plans for 2023. He has been RPA president for 9 years, since 2014, and he served as secretary for 2 years before that. He had his 75th birthday this summer, and is feeling the need to back off some of his volunteer commitments, in part to free up more time with his family. He is willing to commit to serve one more year as president, which would make it 10 years as president, but would then decline to continue as president for 2024. He plans to remain on the board in 2024 and likely beyond, in a voting capacity, as the voting representative for independent property owners.
Ken explained how the scope of the RPA’s efforts has expanded over the years and many of these tasks have fallen to a few individuals. There's a felt need to, in the coming year to orchestrate a redistribution of responsibilities that have over the years fallen to the president and treasurer, but could well be performed as tasks or projects by others including voting members, alternates, and other volunteers. He and Carl have been managing many projects, many not included in our “officer job descriptions.” He is feeling burnt out.
Some of the extra tasks and projects which Ken has led include; serving as editor for History of Richmond Pond book (a 3-year project), writing a monthly Richmond Pond Update column for the Richmond Record, developing and managing the RPA website, managing the RPA website’s subscriber list (now 85 members) and sending out twice monthly email communications to that list, updating and printing the RPA brochures, maintaining the RPA kiosk at the boat launch, updating the contact lists of RPA board members and a more private list of emergency contacts around the pond (both camps, the 4 community associations, town officials, etc.), serving as the primary RPA representative to LAPA-West, providing twice-monthly boat rides for the cyanobacteria tester, and assisting with tributary water testing.
Carl also had a similar announcement. He relayed that he has been involved in RPA since 2001, serving as VP and now treasurer. He will be 77 next year and feels it is now to retire. As of this meeting, he will finish work on weed management and tributary testing – projects that he has managed for many years, that are unrelated to the role of treasurer. He will continue as the treasurer for 2023, and hopes to coach a replacement for the following year.
Creation of Assistant Treasurer Officer position - Carl proposed that RPA create the position of assistant treasurer (as permitted by RPA By-Law 4.11, Other Officers). A general job description would be for the assistant to work with the treasurer, learn the current functions which include managing the various accounts, managing the annual fund raiser, managing the finances for the history book project, and filing the annual report with the state and the US government. The processes that he has been using are expected to be modified as the assistant gets more involved with the treasurer function. And having an assistant treasurer this year will prepare that person to assume the role of treasurer when he retires in fall 2023. He made a motion that RPA create the position of Assistant Treasurer, with the duties as he described. There were no questions and the motion passed.
Neal Pilson expressed his appreciation to Ken and Carl for all the work they have done on behalf of the RPA.
Officer Elections – Doreen explained that according to our Bylaws that officer elections shall take place at the next meeting following our annual meeting, which is why it is being doing this now. Eligibility to serve as any of the 4 specified officer positions is limited to the 9 voting members of the board. Likewise, eligibility to vote for officers is limited to the 9 voting members of the board.
The executive board caucused last week and communicated with each of those being put forward in a suggested slate of officers. Each of the proposed slate has expressed a willingness to serve in the specified role. These are: President - Ken Kelly, Vice President - Louise Brogan, Treasurer - Carl Foote, Secretary/Clerk - Doreen Donovan, and Assistant Treasurer - Laura Rosenthal.
She then explained that there is an eligibility issue that must first be resolved. Louise currently serves as an alternate representative for Branch Farm. As an alternate, i.e., a non-voting member, she is ineligible to serve as an officer. To resolve the eligibility question, Kerry Hamilton, who serves in one of the two at-large voting positions on the board, has requested that she shift to serving as an At-Large alternate, thereby vacating an at-large voting position. Louise has applied for appointment to this at-large position, but this must be approved by vote of the board.
Doreen made a motion that Louise be appointed into this at-large position. There was a second and no further question. A vote was taken and Louise is now eligible to run for the VP position.
Doreen restated that slate of officers and asked if there were additional nominations or self-nominations for any of the officer positions. Kitty nominated Laura Rosenthal for the president position. Laura thanked Kitty but declined the nomination. Ken explained that the plan will be for Louise to transition from Vice President to the President’s position in 2024. There were no other nominations. Doreen made a motion to elect the slate of officers proposed. This was seconded and was approved unanimously.
Project updates & other developments at the pond:
Weeds – Plan under development for weed harvesting in 2023 – Carl reported that since our August meeting, he and Ken held a ZOOM meeting with Danielle and Matthew Vogt, President and owner of New England Aquatics. It was proposed that we use Matthew’s company to spend one week in the Shores and Canal in early June to clear those weeds and deliver them to a dump site provided by the town. He also proposed a second week in early August to clear tape weed in nuisance areas after a quick survey. This would cost a total of $25,000, for 10 days @ $2,500/day. Danielle agreed with the plan and asked RPA and Matthew to handle all permitting. Matthew agreed to look into it, but called back and asked us to handle it; as a Connecticut-based company, he has no experience with Massachusetts permitting procedures.
This led to Ken and Carl reaching out to the city of Pittsfield’s Jim McGrath and Robert Van Der Kar for advice in a ZOOM meeting last week. Jim and Rob suggested we contact a consultant and continue to explore the use of herbicides with Natural Heritage. Carl has made that initial contact with consultant David Roche of All-Habitat and is waiting to hear from him. New England Aquatics will be updated if there is a change in plans. Doreen asked why they recommended herbicide over harvesting, and Jim cited the cost of purchasing & maintaining a harvester. We would not have this issue if we hired New England Aquatics.
Carl asked if there was interest in someone assuming the responsibility of overseeing the weed management program. Linda Kay volunteered and suggested that Kitty join her; Kitty declined. Doreen then volunteered to work with Linda on weed management. Carl will meet with them to give them the status of the program and the contacts involved.
Holly expressed that an additional RPA goal should be more education and having the schools involved. She would be happy to talk to the school about partnering with the RPA to help with testing. This would provide valuable education & a way to get younger people involved. She cited BEAT as another resource for education.
Beach, tributary & cyanobacteria testing update - Ken reported that all known test results have been in the safe zones. Carl commented that the phosphate levels are of concern, primarily in Clark’s Brook and the Inlet. He feels that this could be a contributing factor to the heavy weed and algae presence by the boat ramp, Richmond Shores and the canal. This should be an avenue to be studied, and suggested that Con Com should be involved.
Ken is working on merging the narrative draft given to him by Carl with the outdated working draft of the beach & tributary testing protocol, to incorporate reporting and managing a cyanobacteria bloom. While LAPA-West has been working on a testing management model protocol, focusing on cyanobacteria, it is not yet available for towns and pond associations to use as a model.
Goose management plan assessment and possible plan development for 2023 – Laura will survey this year’s participants in the goose management plan about their interest in continuing as a partner in this program. The results of that survey will be shared and discussed at our October meeting. There were multiple challenges this year, as outlined in her status report at last month’s meeting that rendered the plan less effective than hoped. Whether the plan continues in 2023 or not, vegetation barriers, fencing, and other strategies could be helpful in limiting the negative impacts of the resident geese. Laura will be focusing on her new role as assistant treasurer and will no longer manage the program. She asked if there was a volunteer. Jonna expressed interest but would like to learn more about the role.
Identification of additional winter projects – While identifying additional winter projects is an agenda for next month’s meeting, Ken indicated that projects that will be continuing through the winter include the transition of the weed management, tributary and cyanobacteria testing files to the new team leader. Other known projects are the transition with the treasurer’s role and the goose management plan for 2023.
Camp Arrow Wood update – Matt reported that work continues on building and seeding the new fields. They are actively marketing and recruiting for next summer.
Ken asked for observations on Saturday’s wedding function and if there were any complaints about the music. He could hear the music at his cottage and found it mildly annoying. Miles heard a few concerns from his neighbors on the Shores. Carl was happy to see an increase in the activity at the camp. Others enjoyed the music and knew that it would be done at 10 pm (as it was). Laura will know more from South Pond residents after their monthly meeting. There are two more weddings planned, on 10/2 and 10/8. Matt had very positive feedback from the wedding party as to the location and the views of the Pond.
Carrie Holland has resigned as an alternate for the camp, as she has left Mill Town Capital. In her absence, Ken expressed his appreciation for all her work with RPA during the transition of the camp.
Camp Russell update – Cam said that the camp ended on a great note and feels that next year will be bigger and better. They are in the process of closing up the camp for the winter.
Holly commented on the need to have the detention basins cleaned as the sediment keeps building up. She also discussed the maintenance of the swales at Camp Russell and Branch Farm has not been consistent and that there is a need for them to be rip-rapped. While the initial agreement had been that the Town would maintain these detention basins, Camp Russell has assumed this responsibility going forward. Cam will follow up on these issues. Holly stressed the need to understand their design and maintenance needs. She has a copy of the design as well as the Town and would be happy to share this with the Boys & Girls Club.
Decision on next RPA meeting format – Our next meeting is Tuesday, October 25, 7:00 pm. This will be the final RPA meeting of 2022. Doreen felt that we should continue to meet by Zoom. That motion was approved.
Odds & ends:
LAPA-West lakes & ponds management symposium – Ken explained that the symposium is in the planning stages and will likely be scheduled in November on a Saturday morning, in person at a location in Pittsfield. He encouraged our attendance as this is highly educational and great for networking.
Meeting was adjourned at 8:21 pm
Directors present (voting): Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Laura Rosenthal (vice-president, South Pond Farm), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Doreen Donovan (secretary, Richmond Shores), Jonna Gaberman (Whitewood), Miles Garfinkel (At-Large), Kerry Hamilton (At-Large), Cam Stockton (Camp Russell), Matt Linick (Camp Arrow Wood)
Ex-officio present (non-voting): None
Alternates present: Kitty Levitan (Whitewood), Tim Mason (independent cottages)
Guests present: Linda Kay (Richmond Shores), Neal Pilson (Richmond Town Selectman), Marvin Smith (Richmond Shores), Holly and Dick Stover
Directors absent: None
Ex-officio absent: Danielle Fillio (Richmond Town Administrator), Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield), Tom Potter (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Alternates Absent: Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Louise Brogan (Branch Farm), Gordon Dinsmore (South Pond Farm), Brian Grebeldinger (Richmond Shores), Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell), Jon Millburg (Camp Arrow Wood), Al Nardacci (independent cottages), Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Richmond Pond Association Annual Meeting Minutes
August 23, 2022
Camp Arrow Wood
Welcome – After about 115 attendees enjoyed a 4:30 to 6:30 pm taco dinner catered by KJ Nosh and ice cream from Sweet Peas, Ken welcomed those remaining (about 45) for the annual meeting, which started at 6:30 pm. He thanked Louise Brogan for chairing and planning the picnic. He also noted that Louise wrote the Camp Marion White chapter in the pond book, which is one of his favorite chapters.
Ken also thanked Matt for hosting the picnic at Camp Arrow Wood. Matt felt that they had a successful first year. They continue to work on upgrades to the property which he discussed later in the meeting with the camp reports.
Summary of Year 2022 at the Pond
The book – A History of Richmond Pond- Ken shared that this was a 2.5-year effort, involving dozens of contributors. The book was published in February. Over 450 copies have been sold, and they’re still available at Bartlett’s, The Bookstore in Lenox, and 4 other venues locally. He asked all members of the editorial board, writers and contributors of photos or other content to stand to acknowledge their work on the book.
The book was for sale at the picnic and as a bonus, anyone who bought a copy today was entered into a drawing for a personal “historically narrated” tour of the pond. The tour will be conducted by Ken in his boat, for up to 3 people, at a date of their mutual choosing. (The drawing was done at the end of the meeting and the winner was Peter Krause.) Ken also noted that anyone who contributed $200 or more to RPA gets a free book.
Town Beach & Boat Launch– Danielle reported that it was a struggle to get help to staff the boat monitor program and the lifeguard positions. She was ultimately able to hire 4 boat monitors to cover the hours; the coverage ends on Labor Day. There were no applicants for the lifeguard positions. The beach was opened without a lifeguard and the gate was left open 24 hours. Without a lifeguard’s presence and the gate being unlocked, there were incidents of vandalism to the float and more garbage left behind. The Town decided to start locking the gate at 6 pm due to the vandalism incident. Matt remarked that his daughter may be available as a town lifeguard next summer.
Weed management of pond & canal (in 2022 & plans for 2023) - Carl reported that he wears many hats as the treasurer and serves as the main contact for the weed management program. As is usual in August, the tape grass is back. The lake is down a foot, with very little rain and water feeding in from the tributaries.
Carl shared that the annual weed treatment program was halted this year due to tighter restrictions set by Natural Heritage on the amount of herbicide that they would permit. RPA is currently working with the town administrator to establish a plan with a weed harvesting vendor - New England Aquatics. This vendor could harvest about an acre per day for $2,500/day. This will need to be assessed as a lake management alternative. The $15,000 from the Town’s weed budget would clear only 6 acres, once. The pond has 218 acres, and most of the perimeter has weed growth to the surface. The shallow areas of our lake are impacted the most with growth of native weeds that challenge the lake’s use. Contracting & permitting requirements mean that weed harvesting is unlikely to start until 2023. He stressed that the RPA is in need of more volunteers to concentrate on working with our vendor, filing permits, and reviewing alternatives.
Doreen reported that canal weed-pulling by scuba divers from Aquatic Roots happened in June. The hand-harvesting of the weeds was permitted for 3 years by ConCom and the first phase occurred last year. This entailed hand-harvesting a path 10 feet wide starting at the bridge and going out toward the Pond. This year Aquatic Roots worked from the bridge back towards Nordeen Marsh. They harvested just under a ton of weeds. Doreen has received feedback from a resident on the canal who thought the weeds were less than they had been in the area that had the weed harvesting done last year (in front half of canal) and that the water seemed to be flowing more in the area that was harvested this year. The canal should be included in the weed harvesting program that is being explored.
Waters (testing of beaches, tributaries, cyanobacteria) – Carl reported that RPA conducted tributary testing this past month. The E. coli and nitrate counts are low, below the warning levels. Phosphates are high in Clarks Brook, which promotes algae growth in the southwestern part of the pond. He felt that this will need to be studied. Each beach around the pond contracts for required weekly e-Coli testing. Any test result exceeding safe swimming levels is to be reported to Board of Health, but RPA had not learned of any related beach closings this season.
Testing for cyanobacteria occurs twice a month and conditions continue to be in the low safe zone. All tributary and cyanobacteria result reports are being shared with the Richmond Board of Health. Carl thanked Ken and Don Champlin for providing their boats for the RPA-contracted testers.
Goose Management – Laura discussed how the goose management program results seemed to be a bit different from prior years. While the goose population itself was moderate, she estimated 50 to 75, depending on whether flocks were seen all at once or with some in hiding, the properties around the lake were left with a lot of unwanted goose droppings. The dogs came 3 times a week from the second week that we started the service.
The goal of the program is to have the border collies herd the wild geese and train them to stay off the shores. This training needs to start early, and unfortunately the geese started nesting and breeding earlier, before the dogs started patrolling. She feels this could be due to changes in the weather patterns which may account for some goose families having young goslings while other families have fully grown; herding practices could therefore not be consistent around the pond.
Laura also felt that there were also a lot of people along the shores which sometimes can be helpful in urging geese to avoid the beaches, but over the course of the summer, the geese learn that the people aren’t going to hurt them. The Richmond town beach and boat launch area were really hard hit by not having a lifeguard all summer and the late start for boat ramp monitors. Another barrier to success is that Massachusetts severely limits how far from shore the geese can be herded into the water.
Some of the cottage owners with lake-front property keep geese off by using vegetation buffers and complete lake-side fencing. This approach seems successful for them, although she thinks that fencing at South Pond Farm would not work due to the size of their lakefront. Coyote decoys could be a temporary deterrent, but the geese figure out quickly that a decoy won’t harm them.
Last week’s visits were the last of the season for the dogs and their handler. The RPA would like to hear from this year’s participating groups to learn about whether they will continue with the program. Next year, we may make some modifications to the plan, but we expect to have Eric and the dogs back to help us. Early goose hunting season begins September 2nd through 24th, with a daily bag limit of 15.
Camp Arrow Wood “First Year” Report – Matt reported that the camp had a successful 1st year with 36 campers over a 4-week period. With continued marketing, their goal is to build up to a 6-week program. Matt had 25 staff members working with him. They gave 6 scholarships to children from Pittsfield. Other highlights are that work is completed for new basketball & tennis courts, with major landscaping almost completed for new soccer, baseball, softball fields, & an auxiliary field which may be used for field hockey, lacrosse, football, etc. The seeding of the new fields will be done at the end of September.
A question was asked about the camp’s recent application for a liquor license. Their food caterer, Boston Gourmet, will be catering outside events, and the camp’s view is that it is safer for them to be in control of the alcohol rather than have the parties bring their own. There are 2 weddings in the near future and they will have an end time of 10 pm.
Camp Russell Summer 2022 Report – Cam felt that this was the best camp season in the past 12 years. They had 8 one-week sessions with 230 campers each week. The campers enjoyed soccer, dodge ball, kickball, volleyball and water sports such as swimming and tubing. Cam appreciated that the public was respectful by not coming onto the camp property during their hours of operation.
RPA website, website subscriber list & Facebook page– Carl asked the RPA board members to be more proactive with posting activity on the Facebook page to drive more interest to our site. Ken continues to manage the website & subscriber list, with continued updates, posting of the minutes, & communications to subscribers.
RPA Board member recognition & new board members sought – Ken recognized the members of the board and mentioned the need for additional board members.
Q&A – There were no questions at the end of the meeting. Meeting was adjourned at 6:15 pm.
Next Meeting – Tuesday, September 20, 7:00 pm, likely by Zoom (Zoom link to be shared later & posted on RPA website the week before the meeting).
Directors present (voting): Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Laura Rosenthal (vice-president, South Pond Farm), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Doreen Donovan (secretary, Richmond Shores), Jonna Gaberman (Whitewood), Miles Garfinkel (At-Large), Matt Linick (Camp Arrow Wood), Kerry Hamilton (At-Large), Cam Stockton (Camp Russell)
Ex-officio present (non-voting): Danielle Fillio (Richmond Town Administrator), Tom Potter (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Alternates present: Louise Brogan (Branch Farm), Kitty Levitan (Whitewood), Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Guests present: Too many to list.
Directors absent: None
Ex-officio absent: Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield)
Alternates absent: Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Brian Grebeldinger (Richmond Shores), Carrie Holland (Camp Arrow Wood), Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), Jon Millburg (Camp Arrow Wood), Al Nardacci (independent cottages), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell), Gordon Dinsmore (South Pond Farm), Tim Mason (independent cottages)
Welcome – Ken called the meeting to order at 7:02 pm.
Updates from Town Hall:
Town beach status - Danielle shared that the dock has been taken out of the water and will not be going back in this season. The dock was vandalized. It had been unchained from its anchor, the ladder ripped off and the carpet torn. The Town has placed a dumpster at the beach, though garbage is still being left out. The chains were removed from the garbage can lids, hoping to make them easier to access for bags of garbage. A dead goose was found in the garbage. Due to these issues, the gate to the beach will be locked at 6:00 pm, and these problems will be addressed at the next Board of Selectmen meeting (on July 27).
Ken asked if the Town could add sand to the beach to fix the erosion, and groom the beach as its unevenness could be a safety issue. Danielle reported that 1,400 pounds of sand had been added to the beach in May, and that the rain and beach activity had caused the erosion. Their resources are limited but this will also be discussed at the next Board of Selectmen meeting.
Boat ramp monitors - Danielle reported that 5 had been hired and that all scheduled hours are now covered.
MA state list of registered short-term rentals – Danielle reported that she had not yet received the list from the state, but town properties listed on short-term rental websites are being reviewed to determine whether they are registered with the town as businesses, to ensure that related tax collections are being received.
Weeds – Carl explained again (see last month’s minutes) why there will be no chemical treatment for invasive weeds this year. The RPA has reached out to New England Aquatic Services and Danielle to develop a plan for mechanical weed harvesting. The contracting and permitting process is still not finalized. Given that the permitting process takes time, it’s not expected that weed harvesting will happen this year, but the permit, once obtained, is good for 3 years.
With regard to weeds in the canal, Doreen has received feedback from a resident on the canal who thought the weeds were less than they had been in the area that had the weed harvesting done last year. As a short-term solution, the scuba weed-pulling effort has had positive results, & should perhaps be repeated until a more comprehensive hydro-raking can be developed.
Approval of RPA minutes of 6/28/22 – Doreen made a motion to approve the minutes of RPA’s June 28th meeting. Motion was approved.
Financial report– Carl reported that we currently have $57,856 in all accounts. This includes $4,969 in the book account, $24,062 in the dam maintenance account. We paid Aquatic Roots $5,900 for the recent canal weed-pulling. We also paid the first payment to Wild Goose Chase of $2,795 and related invoices were mailed to the participating groups. Invoices for annual dues from the community associations, the two camps, and independent cottages were mailed in July. There are $3,978 in outstanding invoices due to the RPA.
Carl is working on the annual report for fiscal year 2021-2022.
Annual solicitation mailing– Ken wrote the annual solicitation letter which will go out later this week or next week from ZipnSort. The mailing list comes from the Town and past contributors are added. There are 1,013 names on the list. As an incentive to “up” the contribution levels, this year, contributors of $200 or more will receive a free pond history book.
Update on book marketing & sales – History of Richmond Pond – Ken relayed that thus far, there have been three printings, totaling 750 books. Books “sold” to date are 486 (474 sold and 12 donated to libraries or sponsors). This includes the six books recently sold at Camp Russell’s Chili & Chowder Fest. We still have an inventory of 264 unsold books; 66 are out at the six sale venues; 167 are at Ken’s house and 31 at other editorial board members’ homes.
There are three upcoming book sales - August 11 at Richmond Fire Dept BQ (6 pm to 8 pm), on Firehouse Lane; August 23 at the RPA Picnic & Annual Meeting at Camp Arrow Wood (4:30 to 7:30 pm); and September 10 at the Richmond Pie Social at Ice House Hill Farm (former Malnati Farm). COVID has prevented us from having the traditional “book launch” event. Books are still available at all six sale venues. Kerry remains in charge of book marketing.
Planning for August 23 annual “picnic” at Camp Arrow Wood – Louise is heading the coordination of the annual picnic. She reports that having a food truck would be the preference and tacos could be a meal that could satisfy a large crowd and also accommodate food preferences such as vegetarian or gluten-free. Jonna has reached out to several vendors and is still gathering information. Louise has not heard back from Matt as to what their caterers could offer.
Volunteers are needed to help with parking. Jon will have golf carts available for transport from the parking lot, and he and Matt will help with traffic coordination. Two pontoon boats are needed. Doreen has emailed Richmond Shores residents but has not had any response. Louise asked Cam if Camp Russell’s boat would be available; he will check. There will be two life guards. Jon approved of kayakers coming to the picnic and mooring at the beach, but not motor boats - there would not be enough room at the dock. There will be an information table and Camp Arrow Wood has outside games available for use. Jonna will approach her neighbor who is in the Tanglewood BSO to ask if there might be a student or student to perform at the picnic.
A question was asked if patrons should pay for their meal, as the $1,000 budget is limiting. Tradition has been that this has been a free event for the public. Carl remarked that our resources would allow an increase in the picnic’s budget. Louise made a motion to increase the budget to $2,000. The motion was approved. Carl offered the RPA’s Zoom account to help with meetings for the planning of the picnic. As one marketing strategy, Ken will submit related information for the August issue of Richmond Record.
Project updates & other developments at the pond:
Boating regulations, swimming safety, & related action plan development – Bruce Wintman, a Whitewood resident, became concerned when he saw how close jet skiers were coming to swimmers. This led him to do some research about watercraft regulations. He shared his research and consultations with Jim McGrath about state boating regulations affecting Richmond Pond. Richmond does not have any specific regulations, but the Pond is regulated for the benefit of the Commonwealth. A summary flier of this was shared yesterday with RPA board members. Recent behaviors of jet-ski users were cited as a concern. Bruce shared highlights of these rules, including boat speed limits (maximum 45 mph), boundaries from shoreline and swimming areas (150-foot No-Wake Zone) where boats may only operate under headway speeds (6 mph). The Environmental Police enforce these rules, but are not usually on our lake; they focus on the bigger lakes with more watercraft traffic.
Discussion followed regarding how to increase the safety of boaters and swimmers at the Pond. This included larger signage at the boat ramp highlighting the rules and that they will be strictly enforced. No-wake zone buoys 150 feet out from the shore line and the possibility of adding a by-law restricting jet skis from the Pond. The jet ski restriction would need the approval from Richmond and Pittsfield. Holly Stover had sought this restriction in the past and when she went before the Pittsfield committee was met with great opposition.
Ken will post a laminated copy of the Commonwealth’s rules at the boat ramp. Jonna felt that a larger sign, focusing on several key parameters, would be more effective. Doreen will discuss a no-wake buoy with the Richmond Shores board. Safe open-water swimming measures were shared, such as trailing a bubble or being accompanied by kayaker.
Goose management update– Laura reported that Wild Goose Chase is coming three times a week for two hour per visit. This year has been more challenging as the geese came earlier in the year and there has been a staggered nesting period this season, making it more difficult as the geese are in different stages of development. Having campers at Camp Arrow Wood have not made a difference in the geese going onto their property. Louise asked if there was to be an end date to this program. Laura’s understanding is that takes years to train the geese.
Camp Arrow Wood update – Jon shared that there were 36 campers this season which ran for 3 weeks. There will not be any campers in August. Ken has noted that he can hear their PA announcements, but they are not so loud as to be considered a disturbance. Jon is in charge of the dam restoration project. The engineering firm is reviewing the dam and a final report will be received in December. This will include the condition of the dam, a construction analysis report and options for the dam’s remediation.
Camp Russell update– Cam felt that this was the best 5 weeks of camp that they have had in a long time. The campers had a great time. He appreciates that there have not been any non-camp people walking through the camp during their open hours. Their recent Chili and Chowder Fest was very successful.
Beach, tributary & cyanobacteria testing update– Carl reported that the Town, camps and community associations test their beaches weekly for e-Coli. Tributary testing has not been done, since the brooks look very dry around the lake. Hopefully we will get some rain soon! RPA provides boats and funding for bi-weekly cyanobacteria testing. As of mid-July, results have been “safe” and the water clarity is better than it was last year.
Odds & ends: None
Next Meeting – The annual meeting and free picnic – The next meeting will be the annual picnic, Tuesday, August 23, 4:30 to 7:30 pm, at Camp Arrow Wood. Vehicle access is from 195 Cloverdale Street, Pittsfield.
Directors present (voting): Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Laura Rosenthal (vice-president, South Pond Farm), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Doreen Donovan (secretary, Richmond Shores), Jonna Gaberman (Whitewood), Miles Garfinkel (At-Large), Kerry Hamilton (At-Large), Cam Stockton (Camp Russell)
Ex-officio present (non-voting): Danielle Fillio (Richmond Town Administrator), Tom Potter (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Alternates present: Louise Brogan (Branch Farm), Gordon Dinsmore (South Pond Farm), Brian Grebeldinger (Richmond Shores), Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), Jon Millburg (Camp Arrow Wood)
Guests present: Neal Pilson (Richmond Town Selectman), Bruce Wintman (Whitewood), Holly and Dick Stover (Branch Farm)
Directors absent: Matt Linick (Camp Arrow Wood)
Ex-officio absent: Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield)
Alternates Absent: Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Carrie Holland (Camp Arrow Wood), Kitty Levitan (Whitewood), Tim Mason (independent cottages), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell), Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission) Al Nardacci (independent cottages)
Welcome – Ken welcomed all and opened the meeting at 7:03 pm.
Updates from Town Hall
Town Beach life guards and boat monitors: Danielle reported that there have not been any applicants for the Town beach lifeguards, but they are still actively seeking them with help wanted ads. They have hired 2 boat monitors and are finishing the CORI checks of 3 additional applicants.
There was a party this past weekend at the Town Beach which resulted in significant trashing of the area. Danielle relayed that there was garbage, balloons, beer bottles and dirty diapers left behind. There are 3 trash cans at the beach, but most of the garbage was not disposed of in the containers. The gate is currently open 24/7, giving access to the public. Danielle is working on a plan to be able to monitor the area and to have someone responsible for closing the gate at the end of the day. Ken asked if there should be a reporting process if any members see a situation like that past weekend. Neal does not want to have any public confrontations and recommended that the selectmen be notified.
Town hall/library construction – Danielle relayed that the temporary driveway is in place and they are setting up the electricity and the construction trailer. The project’s bond rating decision is scheduled for July 6th. Neal reported that there will be a symbolic groundbreaking ceremony for the Richmond Town Center in the near future.
Weed treatment update – There will not be a chemical treatment this summer, per Natural Heritage restriction related to the presence of state-listed bridle shiners; they recently reduced the allowable Diquat chemical concentration, which would not be sufficient to kill the invasive weeds. Also, our weed treatment vendor for many years, Solitude Lake Management, has been unresponsive to recent overtures for information. Danielle has consulted with the Town’s legal counsel and was advised that the money allocated by the Town for weed management can used toward any type of weed management.
Carl and Doreen met this past week with Matt Vogt, who is the president of New England Aquatic Services, to gather information on mechanical weed harvesting. This would be an alternative to the herbicide treatment, with the hopes of being able to do some this summer. They charge $2,500 a day for a 7-hour work day.
Kitty expressed her frustration that the Pond was not being treated and that the bridle shiners have always been part of the equation for the treatment plan in the past and wondered what changed this year. Ken explained that Solitude has not been responsive in helping the Town through this process and why the RPA is looking at other ways to manage the weeds. New England Aquatic Services is experienced in mechanical weed harvesting; hydro-raking and diver-assisted suction harvesting. Tom Potter confirmed that here will need to be permitting for this through the ConCom.
A motion was made to request that the allocated money from the Town be used for weed harvesting. The motion passed with all in favor. The area along Richmond Shores would be the likely targeted area. Danielle will investigate potential sites in Town to dump the weeds. Tim Mason suggested getting a dumpster from Meadow Farms in Lee as another way of disposing of the weeds.
Canal weed pulling update: Doreen reported that Aquatic Roots has been hand-pulling weeds in the canal. They started from the bridge on Shore Road and have worked back toward the Town Beach Rd. They started their work on June 22nd and their last day of work will be June 29th. As of this meeting they have removed 1,493 pounds of weeds. Brian Grebeldinger has transported the weeds away from the pond to compost.
Short-term rentals parameters– Danielle has been working with the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission to identify Air B&B properties in Richmond to match up with the state database to ensure that they are being assessed the fees and taxes involved with the rentals. That list will be public information and could be shared with pond community association officers. Community associations could also adopt changes in their by-laws related to short-term rentals. Danielle has received inquiries about the regulations but has not received any complaints about problems with renters.
Neal has been following what other nearby towns are doing regarding regulating short term rentals. He knows this can be a decisive issue and hard to regulate. His thoughts are to maintain the present Town regulations with an improved registration system and collection of the revenue from the rentals. He wants to collect information but does not want a more complex regulation. If there are concerns or complaints within the community it was advised to talk to the renter, then the owner and if this is not satisfactory, let Danielle know.
Approval of minutes of 5/24/22 – Doreen asked for a motion to approve the minutes of 5/24/22. Minutes were approved.
Welcome to new RPA board member(s) – Laura introduced Gordon Dinsmore, the new alternate for South Pond Farm Association. He is replacing former South Pond Farm alternate Jessica Baumgarten. Our thanks to Jessica for the time she has been with the RPA. Gordon is retired and was a past president of South Pond Farm Association. He enjoys kayaking on the Pond.
Susan Benner, who has been the primary representative for Whitewood Assn and the past vice president of RPA, shared that she is moving away from the pond, so has resigned effective at end of this meeting. Susan expressed her love of the pond and RPA and is grateful for all that she has learned. Ken shared that Brent Schimke, president of Whitewood Association, has designated Jonna Gaberman as the new primary (voting) rep for Whitewood. Jonna, who was appointed last month as a Whitewood alternate, has agreed to step up as the primary rep for Whitewood.
Discussion/decision on July 26 meeting format/location: Doreen asked for discussion on the format for our July meeting. The options presented were Zoom, in-person at Town Hall, or meeting outdoors at Balderdash. Following discussion, it was voted to continue with Zoom for our July meeting. Doreen will let the Town know that we will not need the room and Carl will let Balderdash know of the decision.
Picnic planning committee formation, to plan August 23 annual “picnic” at Camp Arrow Wood: Susan reviewed the preparation process for past picnics. She has a spreadsheet with this information that she will email to Doreen. Matt did not know at this time how Camp Arrow Wood will be able to assist with planning, as they are in the midst of camp season. In the past, there have been 10 volunteers and 2 pontoon boats available to do tours of the Pond. Louise Brogan has been in charge of children games. Ken asked for volunteers to help with the picnic. Doreen and Janna volunteered, but more help will be needed. Doreen suggested using food trucks for the event. Susan will follow up with Matt to ask if that would be allowed. There is $1,000 budgeted by RPA for the picnic.
Financial report – Carl reported that we are ending the fiscal year on 6/30 showing a net revenue of $2,615 with income of $25,679 and expenses of $23,065. We currently have $61,536 in all accounts. It’s time to develop our annual solicitation letter, to include details about the late August picnic. He will get an updated Town list of resident addresses for the mailing.
Update on book marketing & sales – History of Richmond Pond – Carl reported that the pond history book sub-account has a net balance of $4,230 thanks to our sponsors and the sale of about 450 books to date. Ken relayed that we have another 300 books either on the shelves at our six sale venues around Richmond or in storage at Ken’s house. Most of the sales have been at Bartlett’s. Updated posters listing all 6 sale locations were recently posted in 17 locations, and Ken has done outreaches about the book to other lake associations’ officers. Ken hopes to obtain approval to sell books at Camp Russell’s Chili & Chowder Fest and other events in town.
Project updates & other developments at the pond:
Goose management: Laura felt that the goose management started slow this year because the geese came earlier and had their broods earlier. Molting will be starting soon so the geese will be flying less. The hope is that more people at the camps will help discourage the geese from going to the grassy areas. Eric does have limits on his time due to the cost and feels that he could be more productive if he could have more flexibility with his time, allowing longer sessions if needed. Laura made a motion asking that an extra $2,000 be allocated to the goose herding program. The motion passed. Program participants will not be billed for any of this additional time.
Camp Arrow Wood update – Matt discussed that training session for camp counselors is scheduled for July 5 to 7, with regular camp sessions (2-week & 3-week) both starting Monday, July 8. Hosting the annual RPA meeting on Tuesday, August 23 is confirmed. Matt was unable to commit a representative for the annual meeting event planning committee at this time. His days are committed to getting the camp ready for the upcoming sessions. They have new docks in the water.
Matt was asked about the Camp’s application for a liquor license and entertainment license. The hearing was yesterday. He did not have any information to share as he only learned of this today. He was asked why the camp would need an entertainment license and he felt it was needed to host picnics or other events. He will gather more information. Concerns were expressed regarding potential related noise impacts on the pond.
Camp Russell update– Cam and their alternates were not present, so Ken relayed that their website indicates that camp sessions started yesterday, with full enrollment for all eight sessions, though wait lists are being maintained in case there are any camper cancellations. A reminder was shared that the public is not allowed on the property during camp hours. The annual Chili & Chowder Fest fund-raiser for Camp Russell will be Friday, July 8, 6 pm to 10 pm; must be 21 or older to attend. Tickets @ $25 plus a $2.25 processing fee are available through the Boys & Girls Club website.
Cyanobacteria testingand backup boat(s) (alternating Thursdays, 5 pm) - Ken was grateful that Don Champlin of Whitewood provided his boat for 1st testing visit, and is again providing his boat for this Thursday’s visit, the second. Results from first visit’s test on June 16 are that cyanobacteria present are substantially lower than the threshold for any concern. We are on the same track as last summer. Ken’s boat has been repaired and should be available for future test dates.
Odds & ends:
Open water swimming safety reminder – Susan reminded us of the importance of having an accompanying kayaker and/or swim bubble when swimming. This is highly recommended. Ken recounted his experience that he witnessed a close call with a motorboat near-strike of an unaccompanied and almost invisible open-water swimmer at dusk last summer.
Asian Clams in Onota Lake: Asian clams have been found in Onota Lake. In response to this, Ken was one of the signors of a recently published letter to the editor in the Berkshire Eagle that discussed the importance of staying vigilant about invasive species and the threat to Berkshire bodies of water.
Adjournment: There being no further business, a motion was made & approved to adjourn.
Directors present (voting): Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Laura Rosenthal (vice-president, South Pond Farm), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Doreen Donovan (secretary, Richmond Shores), Susan Benner (Whitewood), Miles Garfinkel (At-Large), Matt Linick (Camp Arrow Wood)
Ex-officio present (non-voting): Danielle Fillio (Richmond Town Administrator), Tom Potter (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Alternates present: Gordon Dinsmore (South Pond Farm), Jonna Gaberman (Whitewood), Kitty Levitan (Whitewood), Tim Mason (independent cottages)
Guests present: Neal Pilson (Richmond Town Selectman), Alan Schneit, Fran Schneit, Marvin Smith
Directors absent: Kerry Hamilton (At-Large), Cam Stockton (Camp Russell)
Ex-officio absent: Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield)
Alternates Absent: Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Louise Brogan (Branch Farm), Brian Grebeldinger (Richmond Shores), Carrie Holland (Camp Arrow Wood), Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell), Jon Millburg (Camp Arrow Wood), Al Nardacci (independent cottages), Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Welcome – Ken opened the meeting at 7:01 and welcomed all in attendance.
Moment of reflection in memory of Ted Potter – Ken asked for a moment of silence in honor of Ted Potter who passed away recently at the age of 90. Ted was the initial treasurer and board member of the RPA. He was a long-time resident of Richmond Shores and very active with the care of the Pond.
RPA welcomes New Representatives: Ken welcomed two new board members. Jonna Gaberman is a new alternate for Whitewood. She introduced herself and shared that she is a full-time resident and a practicing physician in the Springfield area. Cam Stockton, the new Program Director and Camp Director for the Boys & Girls Club of Pittsfield will be the voting member for Camp Russell, replacing Dan Joslyn. Cam was not present this evening.
Outcomes from Annual Town Meeting - Danielle was not present tonight, but Neal Pilson reported that the $1,000,000 supplemental funding for the new Richmond Town Hall/Library was overwhelming approved at Annual Town Meeting with 80% in favor. The zoning proposal submitted by the Planning Board to amend the zoning bylaw regarding the public’s access to open space and conservation land also was adopted with a large majority of the votes.
Weed management & status of related permitting approvals - Carl reported that he has been working with Danielle, Solitude and Natural Heritage on the paperwork necessary for the permits needed to treat the Pond. When he spoke with Solitude, Dominick pointed out a significant change in the response from Natural Heritage. They have a new reduced threshold for the concentration of Diquat to treat the weeds. Solitude has shared with us that the lower threshold will not be effective in treating the invasive weeds. This change was made because of the bridle shiner which is an endangered species. Carl is waiting to hear from Solitude if there is another solution, but it looks likely that Richmond Pond weeds will not get treated this year.
Short Term Rentals Around the Pond - Ken added this item to the agenda, as there has been an increase in short term rentals around the Pond. Community concerns have been raised by some renters’ activities. He was hoping that Danielle would be present to be part of the discussion. He relayed that Richmond Shores, Whitewood and Branch Farm do not have restrictions related to short term rentals in their community bylaws. South Pond Farm allows a rental, but it must be at least one month in duration and only one rental per year is allowed. There appear to be six short term rentals in the Shores and two in Whitewood. Ken read the Richmond zoning bylaws, which Danielle had shared in advance of the meeting. They include the definition of a short-term rental and section 4.8 A - Permitted Principal Uses. The Town has reportedly been struggling with enforcement. The State Police have been called in the past when there has been a need. It was expressed that it would be helpful to know:
• what regulations Pittsfield has in place for short-term rentals,
• whether the community association president could be notified by the Town when one or more of that community association’s homes has passed its inspection & the Town has determined that the provisions of Section 4.8.A have been met, and
• develop a compliance protocol to potentially revoke a permit to short-term rent. Ken will follow up with Danielle and Neal to discuss the concerns voiced tonight.
Approval of minutes of 4/26/22 - Doreen asked for a motion to approve the minutes from 4/26/22. The minutes had been re-distributed along with the meeting’s agenda prior to the meeting. There was a sentence change that was amended in the meeting dates paragraph. The minutes were approved.
June 28th meeting format – Doreen asked for thoughts on the venue for our June 28th meeting. A hybrid meeting did not seem to be realistic, so the choices were to continue meeting via Zoom or in-person. If we met in person, masking would be recommended as the COVID virus is still present in our community. With a show of hands, the June 28th meeting will be by Zoom.
Venue for RPA Annual Picnic - Carl had met with Christian Hansen to discuss possibly having the RPA annual picnic at Balderdash on July 28th. Carl relayed that there is seating for more than 150 people and that the barn is expected to be available by then with a capacity of 110 if the weather is rainy. They discussed food trucks that could provide food, plates, napkins and utensils, and an RPA expenditure of $1,000 would likely cover these expenses. Carl discussed the work and preparation that has gone into the picnic in prior years and felt that this would make it easier on the volunteers that have done the hard work in the past. Miles expressed several concerns about having it hosted at Balderdash including not having access to water (for boat rides) and safety concerns of patrons crossing the train tracks.
Ken did inquire of all of the Camp Russell members of the RPA board whether Camp Russell would be available for the picnic. A different staff member did contact Ken with the application form, but with Camp Russell’s lack of participation in the RPA last year, no representation this evening, & recent staff turnover, he expressed reluctance to pursue Camp Russell for the picnic this year.
Matt was asked if Camp Arrow Wood would be available to host the annual picnic. He indicated that it would not be available in July because the campers would still be there, but would be available in August. Louise advocated for changing the date of the picnic as she felt a date in August would enable more families with children to attend. The August date is a week before school starts, and she felt more families would be home at that time. Discussion followed. It was felt that that holding the picnic at Camp Arrow Wood would be the best venue. A motion was made to have the annual picnic at Camp Arrow Wood which passed. Another motion was then made to change the picnic date to Tuesday, August 23rd. This motion passed as well. Matt scheduled this into the camp’s calendar. Carl will follow up with Christian to thank him for his offer of Balderdash as a venue.
Update on book project – The Gem of Richmond - A History of Richmond Pond – Kerry reported that 436 books have been sold and there are 300 books on hand. They are available in six outlets: Bartlett’s, Balderdash, The Bookstore in Lenox, Shaker Mill books, Hancock Shaker Village and Arrowhead. The 10 books sold to Shaker Mill Books have been paid for to RPA and $225 is due from The Bookstore for 15 sold. Sales should pick up as a result of the feature on the book by Gene Chague in his Berkshire Woods & Waters column in the Berkshire Eagle, and Ken’s 5/18 emails (in small batches) to about 140 officers of lake and pond associations throughout Massachusetts. The feedback has been very positive. Kerry will be refreshing the flyer. Carl reports that financially the book has been very successful with a net revenue so far of $3,600.
Financial report, including adoption of proposed RPA budget for 2022-23 fiscal year – Carl referred to the proposed 2022-2023 budget, which was distributed with the meeting announcements. Carl reported that there is a total of $60,800 in all accounts with $3,600 in the book account, $24,000 in the dam maintenance account, and $2,700 in the canal account. The proposed budget presented last month was updated to include the approved canal weed-pulling for $5,900. So, we have an income budget of $19,620 and expense budget of $20,508 suggesting a net loss of $888. A motion was made to approve the 2022-2023 budget. The budget was approved.
Project Updates and Other Developments at the Pond: Goose Management Plan Update – Laura was not present at this meeting but she has kept the RPA up to date with the goose management plan. Our first week could be two visits by Eric & a border collie between May 27 and June 2. After that, we’ll see if two or three visits are needed the following week. The Town of Richmond (town beach & boat launch), Camp Arrow Wood, the Levy property, Whitewood, and Camp Russell have confirmed that they will be part of the program. Laura will send out an email to the lead person for each participant when she gets the schedule from Wild Goose Chase.
Canal Weed Pulling Update - Doreen reported that she has been in contact with Laurie Rock of Underwater Gardening, and she plans on the weed harvesting being done on June 13th thru the 17th with back up being June 20th thru the 24th. Hand-pulling of the weeds will be from the Bridge Street bridge back toward the Town Beach Road bridge at Nordeen Marsh. Doreen will follow up with her as we get closer to the date.
Update on Camp Arrow Wood – Matt reported that the camp is looking great with all the renovations and they are getting all the licenses in place. The start of camp is July 8th. One of the sessions is themed outdoor adventure, which he is excited about. There will be between 50 and 100 campers, with open spots still available. Update on Camp Russell – Cam Stockton is the new director of the Boy’s and Girl’s Club and the camp. He was not present tonight. Ken did read on their website that the first six sessions are full but there were openings for the last two sessions.
Odds & ends
• Backup boat needed for biweekly cyanobacteria testing – There is still a need for a backup boat in the event that Ken cannot be available for the biweekly (every other week) cyanobacteria testing. This was done last year on Thursday, late in the afternoon. The boat needs to be big enough to hold three people including the operator, and have an anchor longer than 50 feet. Please contact Ken for details.
Next RPA meeting – Tuesday, June 28th, 7:00 pm, by Zoom
Directors present (voting): Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Doreen Donovan (secretary, Richmond Shores), Susan Benner (Whitewood), Kerry Hamilton (At-Large), Matt Linick (Camp Arrow Wood), Miles Garfinkel (At-Large)
Ex-officio present (non-voting): Tom Potter (Richmond Conservation Commission) Alternates present: Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm), Louise Brogan (Branch Farm), Jonna Gaberman (Whitewood), Brian Grebeldinger (Richmond Shores), Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), Kitty Levitan (Whitewood)
Guests present: Rich Allen (Whitewood), Neal Pilson (Richmond Town Selectman),
Directors absent: Laura Rosenthal (vice-president, South Pond Farm), Cam Stockton (Camp Russell)
Ex-officio absent: Danielle Fillio (Richmond Town Administrator), Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield)
Alternates Absent: Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Carrie Holland (Camp Arrow Wood), Tim Mason (independent cottages), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell), Jon Millburg (Camp Arrow Wood), Al Nardacci (independent cottages), Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Welcome – Ken opened the meeting at 7:01 and welcomed all in attendance. Moment of reflection in memory of John Reynolds – Ken asked for a moment of silence in honor of John Reynolds, the RPA’s Whitewood Association’s alternate. John died in a tragic kayaking accident in December. John was remembered as a popular veterinarian who owned Pittsfield Veterinary Hospital. He was an avid kayaker who loved Richmond Pond. He will be missed.
Approval of minutes of 10/26/2); Doreen asked for a motion to approve the minutes from 10/26/21. The minutes were re-distributed along with the meeting’s agenda. The minutes were approved. The updated RPA board member contact list was shared and asked if any of the contact information needed to be amended, if there is, Ken asked that they contact him. Doreen also mentioned that there is a more” private” camp director contact list; this is used primarily for emergencies.
RPA welcomes New Representatives: Ken welcomed Matt Linick. He is the camp director of Camp Arrow Wood and will be the new Camp voting member for the RPA. Carrie Holland and Jon Millburg remain on RPA board as Camp alternates. Tom Potter has volunteered to be the new representative for Richmond Conservation Commission (non-voting). Ron Veillette remains on RPA board as ConCom alternate. They are both looking forward with working with the RPA.
Meeting dates and format – Doreen reviewed the dates for the upcoming meetings which are posted on our website. She asked for discussion as to the format for the next meetings. We can continue to meet by Zoom, in person at the Town Hall or hybrid. Neal Pilson discussed the challenges of holding hybrid meetings. If we were to do this, the RPA would need to be responsible for managing the Zoom part of the meeting. A Town employee would not stay to do this. He also expressed concern with large gatherings at the Town Hall due to the on-going covid virus. Matt did offer Camp Arrow Wood for future hybrid meeting when it is not camp season. After discussion, a vote was taken and the majority voted to continue with Zoom meeting for May.
Update on book project – The Gem of Richmond - A History of Richmond Pond – Ken was pleased to report that after 2.5 years of work, by many writers, the book was published in early February. It has already sold almost 450 copies, at $20, and another 300 were recently ordered. It is for sale at Bartlett’s, Balderdash, The Bookstore (in Lenox), Shaker Mill Books, and Hancock Shaker Village. A venue to be added in mid-May is Arrowhead (Berkshire Historical Society). With 30 chapters and over 200 photos, it covers the evolution of the pond, its dams, the railroad, its wildlife, all 8 of its former and current camps, all 4 of the pond’s residential communities. It also covers all 4 of the pond’s immediate neighbors - Bartlett’s, Balderdash, Interprint and the airport, as well as some old-time tall tales. It’s a comprehensive and entertaining book which makes a great gift. Sales have already covered expenses and Carl reports that with 300 more to sell that financially, the book is moving along very well. Kerry is working with the editorial board on marketing strategies.
Financial report, including proposed RPA budget for 2022-23 fiscal year – Carl reported that as of 4/26/2022 the account balances are:
Pond History Book - Checking 3,554.45
RPA Canal Fund 2,753.70
RPA Dam Maintenance Fund 24,055.97
RPA Certificate of Deposit 20,039.85
RPA Checking Account 1,563.64
RPA Savings Money Market 9,485.42
TOTAL Bank Accounts 61,453.03
Carl referred to the proposed 2022-2023 budget, which was distributed with the meeting announcements. Approval of the budget is deferred to next month’s meeting as several items may change based on actions taken today and next month. .
Town’s proposed funding items for the pond – Ken reported for Danielle who was not able to make tonight’s meeting. She relayed that included in the proposed 2022-23 Town budget, for approval at May 18th Annual Town Meeting is $15,000 for pond weed treatment, $600 for goose management, $10,000 for pond boat launch monitors. The $6,000 grant applied for and expected from the state for boat ramp monitors is additional. In this year’s budget for weed treatment, there is a balance of $5,050. Neal requested that agenda items that Danielle is involved with be put at the top of the meeting. He is asking this of all the meetings she is involved in.
Reports on Winter Research Projects from their Project Teams:
Approval of 2021 Annual Report – Doreen reviewed the highlights of the annual report which is posted on website’s About Us page. Some of the highlights of 2021 were, meeting by Zoom the whole year, the 7/27 annual RPA meeting at Camp Arrow Wood; regular weed treatment of the Pond and weed pulling of phase 1 on the canal restoration. We were unable to do tape grass treatment this past year due to not having the permits. Cyanobacteria testing continued and the goose management program was active for the 3rd year. She asked for a motion to approve the annual report. Report approved.
Goose management plan for 2022 – Laura relayed that Wild Goose Chase will continue to be the vendor and that the management is similar to last year. She reported that the goose population has decreased. The RPA again funds 50% of the cost and the participating properties contribute $600. The Boy’s Club contributes $1,200 as they have 2 areas that are managed. The participants thus far are, South Pond, Town of Richmond, White wood, and the Levy property. She was waiting to hear from Camp Arrow Wood and the Boy’s Club. Matt indicated that they would like to continue to participate and Cameron Warren thought the same for the Boy’s Club.
Updating Beach Testing, Water Sampling & Cyanobacteria Testing Protocol – Ken has the updated information that was shared with him from Carl and Doreen. He will merge the documents, writing the 1st draft. It is important that the Town and the BOH endorse a plan and that they have the most current protocols.
RPA Bylaws amendment (Replace Board of Directors, paragraph 2.02.01 (b) – Doreen asked to amend the bylaws, paragraph 2.02.01(b), replacing Northeast Baptist Conference (Lakeside Christian Camp) with Mill Town Capital (Camp Arrow Wood). The amendment was approved.
Website backup – Ken shared that Kerry will be the backup for the RPA website. She will have the access code and Ken will meet with her to ensure that she is comfortable with the website. Kerry does have experience with other on-line platforms and is confident taking on this role.
Treasurer Procedures & assistant treasurer/backup volunteer – Carl has drafted a list of his duties and asked for a volunteer to be his back up. None volunteered at this time. He asked the attendees to think about this and to let him know if there is an interest.
Other developments at the pond:
Weed management & status of related permitting approvals; plan for canal – Ken shared that Natural Heritage has responded to the detailed approval request for the usual invasive weeds treatment that was submitted to them. Natural Heritage responded requiring submission and review of a “treatment plan” before approval would be granted. Carl stressed the importance of getting this approved. The treatment of the Pond is done in June and if this is not approved in a timely manner, it will affect the treatment of the Pond. Solitude Lake Management has been asked to prepare and submit that treatment plan. Carl will follow up with Dominic at Solitude. A trial area of the native tape-weed had to be eliminated from the weed-treatment proposal this year, as permitting for a native species adds complexities and delays to the Natural Heritage approval process. For similar reasons, the trial tape-weed treatment didn’t happen last year.
Doreen shared details of the proposal that she received from Aquatic Roots. The proposal is $5,900 for the back half of the canal, and $2,500 for a repeat of the weed harvesting in the front half of the canal, where they pulled weeds last year, for a total of $8,400. Laurie Rock of Aquatic Roots was in attendance and reviewed the weed pulling process. Last year 905 pounds of plant material was removed in June after 2 days of harvesting another 651 pounds at a follow up visit in August. The plan was to treat only the back half of the canal this year and to observe whether the front half remains weed-free in the year after the pulling. Ken discussed that it is not practical to get into a pattern of spending $8,400 or more annually to pull weeds that just come back the following year. After discussion, Doreen made a motion to allocate $5,900 for weed-pulling in the back half of the canal this spring/early summer. Motion approved. Ken felt that we should ramp up planning for hydro-raking of the entire canal which would include related permitting (by Richmond Conservation Committee) and fund-raising from multiple sources. He asked for volunteers for this project. Carl, Doreen and Ken have volunteered to work on this proposal.
Doreen also related that Laurie has provided the link to the video showing the plant harvesting in the canal. There should be an available space for the weed harvesters to work from that is closer to their work site.
Cleaning of Camp Russell catch basins – Ken reported for Danielle that the approval from Natural Heritage to clean the catch basins was very recently received. But there’s too much water in them for them to be cleaned this spring. In consultation with Boys & Girls Club staff, it has been agreed that they will be cleaned this fall by Boys Club staff with Town support after the Camp Russell camp season is completed. Louise asked who would be over seeing this project. It will be Dan Joslyn.
Update on Camp Arrow Wood – Matt reported that the Camp continues with renovations to the facility. The playing fields will not be ready for this year. They are registering campers and securing staff. They are looking for a Medical Director and nurses. Camp starts July 8th with orientation for staff on July 5th. There will only be one motor boat along with kayaks, sunfish sailboats and SUP. They have applied for a dock permit. Jon Millburg continues to work with their engineering firm to bring the dam up to state codes.
Update on Camp Russell – Cameron reported that their Camp will open June 27th. They have had an increase in the number of their campers. He reminded us all that the public does not have access to the Camp during camp hours which are 8-3:30. They are constructing a new recreational center. Carl asked about the access gate on Branch Rd. This will only be used for transporting equipment.
Odds & ends
• Backup boat needed for biweekly cyanobacteria testing – Ken asked if there was a volunteer with a boat to act as a backup if he was not available for the biweekly testing. Louise will not be staying at the family cottage this summer but will ask her brother if he would like to volunteer.
• Progress update on new Richmond Town Hall/Library – Neal reported that the Town has received the sub-contractor’s bids and they are all within the financial projections. The bids for the general contractors are due tomorrow and they are expecting 2 or 3 bids.
• Richmond Annual Town Meeting, Wed., 5/18, 7:30 pm, Richmond School – Ken reported for Danielle that the agenda will begin with several routine budget approval items, followed by discussion and voting on the two zoning proposals relating to public access to conserved lands. (The 3rd proposal was withdrawn and its related language incorporated into the Hollow Fields neighbors’ proposal.) Neal discussed that the school budget and the zoning proposal would be early on the agenda as this is what most of the residents are interested in.
• Website and Facebook and LAPA-West updates - Ken continues to update the website with our reports and contact information. Carl relayed that our Facebook page has low activity and asked us to share information and pictures to the site. Ken will contact the LAPA West to share his experience with the book project. There is a fall workshop. They fund the cyanobacteria testing equipment and staff. We will have the same staff member doing our testing this year. She is part of Housatonic Valley Association.
• Safety reminder –Susan reminded all that PFD’s must be worn by paddlers until May 15th.
• Fishing licenses – Ken shared that anyone 16 or over must have a license, though costs vary; they are available online at MassFishHunt. Stocking of rainbow trout has already occurred.
Next RPA meeting – Tuesday, May 24, 7:00 pm, by Zoom
ATTENDEE LIST Directors present (voting): Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Laura Rosenthal (vice-president, South Pond Farm), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Doreen Donovan (secretary, Richmond Shores), Susan Benner (Whitewood), Kerry Hamilton (At-Large),), Matt Linick (Camp Arrow Wood)
Ex-officio present (non-voting): Tom Potter (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Alternates present: Louise Brogan (Branch Farm), Brian Grebeldinger (Richmond Shores), Kitty Levitan (Whitewood), Tim Mason (independent cottages), Al Nardacci (independent cottages)
Guests present: Neal Pilson (Richmond Town Selectman), Cameron Warren (Camp Russell), Susan and Richard Markowitz (Richmond Shores), Laurie Rock (Aquatic Roots)
Directors absent: Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell), Miles Garfinkel (At-Large)
Ex-officio absent: Danielle Fillio (Richmond Town Administrator), Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield)
Alternates Absent: Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm Association), Carrie Holland (Camp Arrow Wood), Jon Millburg (Camp Arrow Wood), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell), Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Welcome – Ken opened the meeting at 7:02 pm and welcomed all in attendance.
Approval of minutes of 9/28/21– Doreen asked for a motion to approve the minutes of 9/28/21. Minutes approved.
Approval of proposed 2022 RPA meeting dates - Doreen announced the 2022 meeting dates for the RPA; the dates are 4/26, 5/24, 6/28, 7/26, 8/23, 9/20 and 10/25. The meetings are held on the 4thTuesday of the month but the September date was changed due to Rosh Hashanah which is September 25th-27th. She asked if there was a preference for the meeting time being at 5:30 pm or 7 pm. The majority preferred 7 pm. A motion was made to hold the meetings at 7pm. This motion was approved. We will start the first meeting via Zoom and if possible, transition to in-person meetings at Town Hall. Doreen will follow up with the Town to reserve the space.
Financial report – Carl reported that donations since July 1 are at $8,301 which is lagging last year’s amount of $9,471. We have received an additional $200 anonymous donation earmarked to the pond history book fund. We have received $1,900 donations from 7 sponsors since February for the book fund. We approved a book budget of $3,500 and then added a contingency budget of $2,500 in September, establishing a total of $7,900 in that fund. We made a down payment of $2,500 and will be billed shortly for the balance of publisher’s and printer’s charges when we go into production. It would be nice to clear a profit, but our main goal is to use this as a marketing tool to promote interest in our pond.
Currently we have a total of $61,983 in all accounts which includes $2,753 in the canal fund, $24,030 in the dam maintenance fund and $5,400 in the book fund. This leaves an available amount $29,801 for the general budget.
Updates on happenings at the pond:
Imminent start of winter drawdown (November 1st) – John relayed that the 2-foot draw-down of the Pond will begin November 1st. The draw down is 1-2 inches a day until 2 feet is reached.
Status of Natural Heritage weed treatment permit renewal – Danielle was not present so there was no update with the status of the permit.
Status of remediation of Camp Russell detention basins – Neither Danielle or Dan Joslyn were present so there was no update on the remediation.
Status of athletic fields permit & 10/15 tour – Camp Arrow Wood – Jon reported that between 55 and 65 people toured the camp with the Pittsfield Conservation Commission to learn about the plans for the athletic fields. Many South Pond Farm residents attended. Mark Arigoni from SLR Engineering led the discussions on the plans for the fields and courts and how they will address drainage. Additional drainage including French drains and catch basins will be added to help in the event of a storm surge. Camp Arrow Wood has addressed the Pittsfield Conservation Commission’s concerns and will be resubmitting their plan for action at the next Con Com meeting on November 10th. Laura felt better after attending the meeting, as South Pond residents have concerns with the renovations planned.
Holly asked about their plans with the beach restoration. They are still interested in doing this and will need a separate permit for this project. Holly asked that they give us a heads up when they do apply for this permit. Jon said he would.
Louise asked about the Camp’s schedule for 2022. There will be a 6-week overnight camp broken up into 2-week sessions with a different focus each session. Campers can sign up for 2-6 weeks. Carrie will be updating the 2022 schedule and will share this with RPA. Louise also asked if they have been approached by any local organizations about using their fields. Carrie said that there has been some interest and they want to support the community interest as much as they are able to.
Report on Camp Russell’s summer camp – Dan was not present so there was no update. Ken has reached out to Dan by email but has not heard from him.
Status of book project & plans for book sales - A History of Richmond Pond – Ken relayed that all content of the book was submitted to Troy Book Makers, our publisher, for layout on 10/18. Completion of initial layout is to be completed today, with sample hard copies for content and layout review by the editorial board to be picked up tomorrow. Following about a week to review and compile our edits, corrections will be submitted to publisher. Soon thereafter, we should learn current pricing & anticipated printing timetable from the printer. At that point, decisions will be made on the size of our press run, and a check obtained & hand-delivered for the balance of publishing & printing costs. We should then know when it’s likely we’d receive the books.
Kerry has been leading the marketing plans and reports that they are well underway, and once we know a delivery date, will include multiple public announcements, purchase and pickup option and book signing events. They are planning a big event the first week in December. There have been 136 books already pre-ordered. Ken showed all the cover of the book.
Learnings from 10/25 LAPA-West (Lake & Ponds Association) Symposium – Ken shared that he and Carl both attended the symposium, by Zoom. They both appreciated the knowledge that Ken Wagner bought to the symposium. Topics addressed included updates on:
· EOEEA Interagency Working Group on Lake Management Conflicts (focused on strategies for greater control of but not eradication of zebra mussels @ Laurel Lake, an updated dashboard of strategies for boat ramp monitors at area lakes, and grant continuance for boat ramp monitors at vulnerable lakes (including Richmond Pond).
· Updating this year of the Practical Guide to Lake Management (not updated since 2004); will be a concise regulatory summary, overhaul of how drawdowns are planned and implemented, clarifying roles of the applicant vs. local conservation commissions; updating of dock permit regulations, etc. Two groups must review/approve updates, so publication will take a while. Ken felt that this would be very helpful to the Town and the RPA.
· Overview of the e-DNA Initiative (rapid screening for zebra mussels, by just taking a water sample; Stantec was contracted to pull water samples at 10 high-risk Berkshire lakes, including at Richmond Pond). This is a more efficient for screening than divers surveying the lakes.
· Discovery of invasive Asian Clam at Onota Lake. None have been discovered at Richmond Pond.
· Stockbridge Bowl’s revised several-year plan to address Milfoil, water lilies and siltation issues – harvesting, testing sample herbicide use plots, hydro-raking and dredging. This has a huge $3.5 million expense, and accompany noise. This is a 4-to-5-year plan.
· MA fish stocking program and 2021 fish surveys on Laurel Lake, Onota, Pontoosuc, and others. www.mass.gov/trout for trout stocking dates by pond (Richmond Pond was stocked with rainbows 10/1)
· The recording of the symposium will be shared with member pond organizations. Ken will add the link to the minutes on the website once the link has been provided.
Drone noise from Interprint– John felt that the noise from Interprint is not as loud as last year but more noticeable now with the foliage down. They have been in contact with Interprint letting them know of the noise levels increase. It is better since the baffle was put on.
Identification of winter projects - All
· Annual Report - Doreen will write the report.
· Goose Management Plan for 2022 - Laura will be the lead on this.
· Updating the Beach Testing and Water Sampling Protocol, to include cyanobacteria testing and related decision-making and public communication protocols - Doreen, Carl and Ken will work on updating this, and will seek input from & endorsement by both towns.
· Updating of RPA By-laws - Doreen will take the lead; John volunteered to help if needed.
· Website backup - Kerry volunteered to help Ken with the website.
· Treasurer procedures - Carl will write up the procedures that he has for the Treasurer’s duties. He hopes that there will be a volunteer to act as an Assistant Treasurer.
There will be an interim report from each project lead in January. Project action plans will be finalized in March in preparation for reports at our first meeting of 2022 in April.
Odds & ends: None
Next RPA meeting– Tuesday, April 26, 7:00 pm, by Zoom
Meeting adjourned at 7:51 pm
Directors present (voting): Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Doreen Donovan (secretary, Richmond Shores), Susan Benner (Whitewood), Miles Garfinkel (At-Large), Kerry Hamilton (At-Large), Carrie Holland (Camp Arrow Wood), Laura Rosenthal (vice-president, South Pond Farm)
Ex-officio present (non-voting): None present
Alternates present: Tim Mason (independent cottages), Jon Millburg (Camp Arrow Wood), Al Nardacci (independent cottages), John Reynolds (Whitewood), Tim Mason (independent cottages), Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission), Louise Brogan (Branch Farm),
Guests present: Holly Stover, Peter Killeen
Directors absent: Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell)
Ex-officio absent: Danielle Fillio (Richmond Town Administrator), Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield), Dan Scorpa (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Alternates Absent: Kitty Levitan (Whitewood), Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm Association), Brian Grebeldinger (Richmond Shores), Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell)
Welcome – Ken began the meeting by welcoming all in attendance and announcing 2 additions to the agenda. Under Updates: Camp Arrow Wood (The Camp by Bousquet) and under Odds & Ends: LAPA-West Symposium on 10/25.
Approval of minutes of 8/24/21 – Doreen made a motion to approve the minutes from 8/24/2021. All voted to approve.
Financial report & state annual report status – Carl reported that the balance of all accounts is $59,954 with $2,753 of this in the Canal Maintenance Fund, and $24,025 in the Dam Maintenance fund. Donations to date are $7,840 including a donation from RSCA of $1,000 for the canal fund. All invoices for Wild Goose Chase have been sent to participating entities and are due to RPA on 10/8. Town of Richmond, South Pond Farm and Mr. Levy have already paid all invoices. Wild Goose Chase has been paid $5,980, which is just short of the $6,000 budget for the program. Our history book’s publisher, Troy Book Makers, has been paid a deposit of $2,500. The state financial report was finalized and was mailed this afternoon. The annual tax report is due by 10/31/21 and provides the state with RPA’s income and expenses.
Officer election process – Doreen explained that annual officer elections, which are normally done at the August meeting, will be done today, under Discussion Items.
Updates on happenings at the pond:
Status of Natural Heritage permit renewal – Danielle has spoken with Dominic from Solitude. The Town may need to amend the Notice of Intent. She will submit the NOI with the payment this week to Natural Heritage. There is an issue with different expiration dates of the NOI for Richmond (2022) and Pittsfield (2024), and the Natural Heritage approval expiration date must match those of the Town NOIs – this needs to be cleared up.
Remediation of detention basins at Boy’s Club Camp – Danielle reported that the remediation of the detention basins at the Boy’s Club Camp were approved by the Conservation Commission. The Town will work with the Camp to get this project completed this year. Danielle shared that the Town’s Highway Department is back to full staffing capacity. They have hired a new employee and another has returned from sick leave.
Town & community concerns about recent land sales, development, related zoning & sewer hookup issues at Richmond Shores – Danielle relayed that there has not been a hook up application as of yet from the owners who are building a new residence on Oak Rd. The new owners will assume the betterment obligations from the previous owner. There has not been any other application for new construction on other parcels that have been purchased recently.
Final cyanobacteria testing results – Carl reported that testing was done six times this summer, starting 6/6 through 9/9. All cell counts were nowhere near the state’s threshold for concern. The Seechi disk readings (water clarity) improved, with better visibility due to less rain and runoff than we experienced all summer. We just received the $681.99 bill for the service, including a detailed final report. If anyone would like a copy of the report, they can email Carl and request it. Louise Brogan was interested in being able to share this information with her class and asked if this could be made more accessible to them. Ken will load the report onto the RPA website. Ron asked if there were any water temperature changes this year. Carl said there were minor changes which followed the heavier rainstorms.
Turtle crossing sign vandalism – Ken shared that the sign posted on Town Beach Road near the boat launch has been vandalized three times. This sign was developed and placed by Leslie Breeding, who has also been coordinating with the Town for more professional turtle crossing signs around the pond. She also wrote the related cover story, “Turtles Crossing,” with a picture of the sign, in the September issue of Richmond Record. Ken asked if anyone has any information to please report this to him. Susan suggested putting a game camera nearby. She will explore coordinating this with Leslie.
Update on History of Richmond Pond book project, related financing issues and pre-orders – Ken reports that there are 129 pre-orders at this time, with a planned press run of 250 copies. Submission of content to the publisher, including about 200 pictures and over 200 pages of copy, is targeted for early October, with copies to be available later in the fall, still at $20/copy. But costs for a larger book, for printing and for additional ancillary layout services have risen substantially. A supplemental budget allocation for the book will be discussed later in the agenda. Kerry relayed that marketing of the book will ramp up when the books have been published.
Report on Camp Russell’s summer camp – Dan was not present, so there is no update.
Detailed plans and website for Camp Arrow Wood formerly The Camp by Bousquet – Matt, the camp director, discussed the upcoming plans for Camp Arrow Wood. He shared that their 6-week summer camp, opening on June 24 would be mostly a sports-themed camp for children between the ages of 8-15. Their goal is to have between 100-150 campers. Families have been coming to tour the Camp and improvements continue to the cabins and the sports fields. The camp’s related website, is camparrowwood.com. Ken will add this link to the RPA website and take down the one to The Camp at Bousquet. The rebranding was initiated by Mill Town so that there would be less confusion about where the camp is. They want the camp to have its own identity and become less connected with the other properties. The camp will continue to book retreats and private rentals outside of the camp schedule, which is June thru August. Holly noted that the camp’s name change and its related content will need to be changed in the History of Richmond Pond book.
Election of officers– Doreen explained that officer elections are normally held the next meeting after the annual meeting, but we forgot to schedule that, so it’s happening now. She asked current officers if they were willing to be nominated for and serve another one-year term. Ken, Carl & Doreen indicated a willingness to be reelected to the president, treasurer and secretary positions, respectively. Susan shared that her interim Head of School responsibilities at Berkshire Country Day School will now span the entire academic year, so her availability for RPA matters would be very limited. She declined to be re-nominated for vice president. She nominated Laura Rosenthal to serve as vice president. Laura accepted the nomination. A vote was held, and all officer positions were filled as indicated. (While not mentioned at the meeting, Susan will remain on the RPA board as a voting director, representing Whitewood.)
Supplemental funding request for History of Richmond Pond book project – Ken discussed the request for supplemental funding of the book project, and summarized its evolution. Two years ago, the idea for a book about the history of Richmond Pond was hatched and related research began. A draft table of contents was developed. The RPA and the RHC starting researching content, and searched for and selected a small-press-run publisher. They explored pricing and approached RPA for $3,500 front-end funding for 250 copies of a hard-cover 100-page book to be priced at $20. They raised another $1,450 in sponsorships and received a $200 grant from RHC. This enabled the project to begin and to cover up-front cost. The RPA is to receive all book sale proceeds.
He shared how the price went up about $1,000, so we switched our contract to soft-cover, which brought it down near original pricing, base price around $5,000 for 250 copies back in late spring, with few expected up-charges. But the book took much longer to write, as there are 25 chapters, over 200 pages with over 200 images and captions, and with the delay, the pricing quote expired. With the combination of a COVID-related major hike in printing costs (paper pulp from Canada, border closed) and realization that we needed special services such as sharpening of low-resolution historical images, & need for an Index, which exceeded other parameters of the bid, so there are now up-charges. A complicating factor is that we cannot get an updated printing price until book content is submitted (in early Oct.), laid out, proofed and is ready to submit to printer. That will likely be mid-October.
Additionally, there is high demand already with 129 preorders for a press run of 250 books, so the wish is to print 300 or 350; each 50-book bump will cost at least $600 more. More funding is needed for the project, but the math returns to RPA much more than the $3,500. If all 350 books are sold, that yields RPA about $6,500 (250 books @ $20 = $5,000 + 100 books @ $15 = $1,500 = $6,500. (The Bookstore in Lenox retains $5.00 of books sold by them, but they handle all shipping requests, for a small additional charge.) While it is not guaranteed that book sale revenue would completely replenish RPA’s front-end funding, the book is a marketing tool for the RPA.
The RPA executive board discussed all this Sunday evening and is recommending the allocation of “up to a $2,500 supplemental allocation for the book, so that timely action can be taken to send the content on to the publisher. Cost could potentially be much lower than this, but we can’t predict how much the bill will be. It was felt that it is important to finish this project with all of the work that has gone into the book. Carl assured the members that the RPA had the funds available. Ken showed a picture of the cover of the book. A motion was made to allocate up to $2,500 for supplemental funding for the book project. The motion was seconded and the motion passed.
Dam management/remediation plan update at Camp Arrow Wood - Jon relayed that there is no update from the last month’s meeting. There are no remediation plans developed at this time. They continue to have the dam inspected every 6 months. The 2-foot draw-down will begin November 1st. Louise asked if it was possible to do a 5-foot draw-down, as she can see the harm that the winter ice is doing to the shoreline. Ken said a deeper draw-down will not happen unless National Heritage changes their opinion, which is unlikely, as a deep draw-down would de-water a third of the pond and harm wildlife.
Updating of Beach & Tributary Testing Protocol, adding cyanobacteria & Phosphorus testing, pond closing decision process & public communication alerts process – Ken relayed that he has not been able to review the draft that Doreen had shared with him, due to his commitment to the book. Once the book is completed, he will then review it and move it along. Doreen shared that she had contacted Andrew Fisher from the BOH to ask if they had had anything in place yet for a cyanobacteria bacteria-related pond closure communication. They do not, but he did offer to help or to provide information if needed.
Possible winter projects– Ken asked for suggestions for winter projects. The suggestions made were: updating the beach and tributary testing protocol, education programs, and creating backup positions to help Carl with financials and with water testing. Ken would also like a more formalized backup for website management.
Odds & ends:
LAPA-West Symposium– Carl announced that there will be a fall lakes and pond management symposium this fall, but it will be done by Zoom, Saturday, 10/23, from 9:00 am to 12 noon. Jim McGrath is organizing it and Ken Wagner will be one of the presenters; more details will be shared later with RPA board members and website subscribers.
Life jackets- Ken reminded all that it is required by the state to wear a life jacket when out on the water between September 15th and May 15th.
Next (and last of season) RPA meeting – Tuesday, October 26, 7:00 pm, by Zoom
Directors present (voting): Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Susan Benner (vice president, Whitewood), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Doreen Donovan (secretary, Richmond Shores), Kerry Hamilton (At-Large), Carrie Holland (Camp Arrow Wood),), Laura Rosenthal (South Pond Farm)
Ex-officio present (non-voting): Danielle Fillio (Richmond Town Administrator)
Alternates present: Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm), Louise Brogan (Branch Farm), Brian Grebeldinger (Richmond Shores), Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), Jon Millburg (Camp Arrow Wood), Al Nardacci (independent cottages), John Reynolds (Whitewood), Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Guests present: Jon Adelman (Richmond Shores), Joann Blauer (Richmond Shores), Linda Edelstein, Holly Stover, Matt Linick (Camp Arrow Wood)
Directors Absent: Miles Garfinkel (At-Large), Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell)
Ex-officio absent: Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield), Dan Scorpa (Richmond Conservation Commission),
Alternates Absent: Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Tim Mason (independent cottages), Kitty Levitan (Whitewood), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell)
Welcome – Ken opened the Zoom meeting at 7:02 pm, and welcomed all in attendance.
Approval of minutes of 6/22/21 and 7/27/21 – Doreen asked for motions to approve the minutes from 6/22/21 and from the annual meeting on 7/27/21. Motions approved.
Financial report– Carl reported that the receivables due from participating property owners from the last Wild Goose Chase bill are $2,262. Balances in the accounts are $62,363, with $24,023 in the Dam Maintenance fund, $2,753 in the Canal Maintenance fund, and $1,700 in the Pond History Book fund. He is assembling the annual fiscal report which is due to the Commonwealth by Nov. 1, 2021. Donations to date this fiscal year are at $6,440 including the Richmond Shores Civic Assn. donation of $1,000 to the Canal fund. He will renew the CD’s this week for the Dam Maintenance fund and an RPA general account.
Updates on happenings at the pond:
Return visit for hand-pulling canal weeds - Doreen reported that the Aquatic Roots scuba diving team returned on August 17th to do a maintenance visit to the canal. They removed 651 pounds of material. The weeds harvested were primarily Elodea or water weed (native weed). European or Brittle naiad (invasive, non-native species) was seen in the southern area of the canal, this was carefully removed. Laurie Rock has downloaded additional photos, videos and data that can be viewed on Aquatic Roots’ Richmond Pond Google drive folder. Its link is, https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1kM3T5gUqDzoZEPegUalU5BTkVyNIG_TH?usp=sharing
Doreen thanked Brian Grebeldinger for the use of his wagon and disposing of the weeds away from the Pond.
Carl has a meeting scheduled Sept. 1st with Aquatic Roots to discuss options for 2022. Children were recently seen swimming in the canal – perhaps one result of the project!
Status of Natural Heritage permit renewal – Danielle was not present at the meeting to report on the status of the permit. Ken was contacted by Town staff and provided them with Solitude’s contact information.
Weed treatments & tape-weed update – Carl reported that the first invasive weeds treatment was done in June and the follow-up survey in July did not find any invasive weeds. They did find lots of different algae growth and the start of tape grass. Tape grass weed treatment of a test area should have been done late July but was put on hold by Natural Heritage, as the Town’s related permit had not been renewed with Natural Heritage. A question was asked about the floating islands of weeds. Carl explained that the algae was catching the tape grass causing these areas of thicker floating weeds.
Cyanobacteria & tributary testing results: – Carl relayed that on August 5, 2021, one sample was taken at Ken’s dock and one sample at 18 feet in 53.2 feet of water. The lake at this time is safe and the cyanobacteria that was seen at 15 feet in the last sampling has decreased significantly. The next test is scheduled for August 26th.
On August 16th the tributaries and outlet were tested. eColi numbers were below 60 MPN/100mL, way below the 235 threshold. Phosphates and Nitrates were similar to the July numbers. Ron Veillette asked where the highest phosphates readings were found. Carl did not have that information at hand but will provide it to Ron.
Goose management plan update – Laura reported that the goose management with border collies is winding down. Unless she hears otherwise from participating property owners, Eric’s last visit to Richmond Pond will be early Friday morning, August 27th, though the schedule may be amended to add a visit the week before Labor Day Weekend. In general, the goose population is lower than in the past two years. During the fall, geese are seen flying in from other areas and then stay overnight but don’t overstay their welcome. The beaches are cleaner. The heavy rainfall from Henri may have helped wash the droppings into the pond. But overall, it seems that this has been a better year of goose management. A question was asked about whether the goose management plan will be repeated in 2022. That decision will be made in spring, but it likely will be repeated.
Town Beach operation & lifeguards – Neal relayed that the life guards and the boat monitors will be finished after Labor Day. The Town beach will remain open but it will be swim at your own risk.
Update on History of Richmond Pond book project – Ken reported that work continues on finalizing chapters and the photos that will accompany each chapter. He has been advised by the publisher that printing costs have gone up, given decreased availability of paper pulp, and may still cost more than predicted by the time the book is to be published. They will not know this for a couple of months.
Folks can submit pre-orders, to reserve copies of the book, at $20 each, with no payment due until the book is published. To reserve a copy or copies, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information: your name, number of copies of the book you would like to pre-order, your email address, & your phone number. There is no money due at this time. You will be contacted in the fall when the books have been published. This same information as well as the book’s Table of Contents is on the RPA website under the More link on the menu bar.
Report on Camp Russell’s summer camp – Dan or a Camp Russell Alternate were not present to report on how the camp year went. The last day of camp was August 20th.
Informational Sewer Enterprise Meeting, Zoning Questions on Richmond Shores - Neal relayed that the Sewer Enterprise meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, 8/25, at 4:00 pm. The meeting can be attended in person at the Town Hall or by Zoom. Paul Lisi will be in charge of the meeting and the documents are available to view on the Town’s website. Neal will check to make sure the Zoom link has been posted. Holly Stover has sent a related letter to the Board of Selectmen (BOS) with concerns about building on Richmond Shores and use of the beach road. This is on the agenda to be discussed at the BOS meeting tomorrow evening.
Updating of Beach & Tributary Testing Protocol, adding cyanobacteria & Phosphorus testing, pond closing decision process & public communication alerts process – Doreen had sent the initial draft to the RPA Executive Board a few months ago but this has not been reviewed by all. She discussed her experience with communication to the Board of Health (BOH) when RSCA’s beach tested positive for E.coli. There was never a response from the BOH. She asked Neal if he had any insight into the reporting procedure. He and Danielle have discussed what to do in regards to reporting and communication if the Pond needed to be closed no matter what the cause. RPA will continue to work on the draft protocol update to present to the Town and the BOH.
Dam management/remediation plans @ The Camp; water level impact – Ken announced that Jon Millburg of Cloverdale Properties LLC (The Camp by Bousquet) & Mill Town Capital has received a “Certificate of Non-Compliance and Dam Safety Order” from the MA Dept. of Conservation & Recreation (DCR). Copies have been provided to Richmond Conservation Commission and the RPA executive board. He expressed concern over the report and the impact this could have on the Pond.
Jon explained that the status of the dam has not changed over the past 15 years and there is no immediate danger. There is a follow-up inspection in 6 months. They have already reached out to 3 engineering firms that work on dam remediation to make a master plan. The plan will include evaluation of the dam and options for the spillways. A Phase 1 inspection is done every 5 years and is due by August 2022. They will address the second spillway and the options for more water release. The hope is that construction will be done during the Pond’s draw down period. Holly asked that if the spillway needs to be replaced to have a better gate system put in place at the top rather than the bottom which will allow for better control the water level. Construction needs to be done by August 2023. Ron expressed a concern that this is not too far away. Mill Town is confident that they will meet and exceed all of the requirements based on their experience with big projects. They will be in contact with the ConCom for both Richmond and Pittsfield.
Odds & ends:
200’ buffer zone around pond & ConCom permit requirements – Ron reminded us that if any property owners in Richmond are removing trees or vegetation within 200 feet of the Pond that they need to get a permit from the Richmond ConCom, they cannot do this on their own. Pittsfield’s buffer zone is 100 feet and similar rules apply. Ron encouraged replacement plantings to help with the filtration of the Pond’s water.
Eagles nest update – Carl described that he sees the eagles’ children flying. Many boaters are stopping to observe and are enjoying the show. John Reynolds witnessed an eagle killing 2 blue herons by his property and wondered if this was unusual.
Website & Facebook updates - Carl reported that recent Facebook picture posts are only reaching about 180 people. We need a high energy Facebook person to push activity! Carl asked for volunteers, but there were none. Ken reported that the RPA donation tab is now located on the Home page of the RPA website.
Signing up for RPA website subscriber list– Ken asked that if individuals would like to be on the RPA’s subscriber list to email him with your email address, requesting to be added, and he’ll add you to the list. Subscribers receive advance RPA meeting agendas, alerts when the draft minutes are posted, & occasional other pond-related alerts.
Adjournment and Next RPA meeting – Meeting adjourned at 8:01 pm. The next meeting will be Tuesday, September 28, 7:00 pm, by Zoom.
Directors present (voting): Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Doreen Donovan (secretary, Richmond Shores), Miles Garfinkel (At-Large), Carrie Holland (The Camp by Bousquet), Laura Rosenthal (South Pond Farm)
Ex-officio present (non-voting): None present
Alternates present: Kitty Levitan (Whitewood), Jon Millburg (The Camp by Bousquet),), John Reynolds (Whitewood), Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Guests present: Neal Pilson (Richmond Town Selectman), Alan Schneit (Whitewood), Holly Stover, Chris Thomson (Richmond Shores)
Directors Absent: Susan Benner (vice president, Whitewood), Kerry Hamilton (At-Large), Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell)
Ex-officio absent: Danielle Fillio (Richmond Town Administrator), Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield), Dan Scorpa (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Alternates Absent: Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm Association), Louise Brogan (Branch Farm), Brian Grebeldinger (Richmond Shores), Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), Tim Mason (independent cottages), Al Nardacci (independent cottages), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell), John O’Brien (Branch Farm)
Richmond Pond Association
Annual Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, July 27, 2021, 5:00 pm, at The Camp by Bousquet
Tours - As attendees started arriving at The Camp by Bousquet, handouts were provided at a sign-in table. There was also an opportunity to sign-up in advance to reserve copies of the pending publication of the book – A History of Richmond Pond. Ken Kelly, Carrie Holland, Managing Director for Mill Town, & Jon Millburg, Director of Construction, gave pre-tour remarks to attendees, prior to departure of each of three tour groups led by Mill Town staff. The arrival of the forecast severe thunderstorm shortened the tours, as all sought shelter in the large performance barn (the building above the pond’s spillway), where the program was to be held.
Introductions - Following light refreshments provided by Mill Town, and while an intense downpour proceeded outside, Ken re-introduced himself, welcomed all, and acknowledged members of the RPA board. He introduced Carrie Holland, Managing Director for Mill Town, Jon Millburg, Director of Construction, and Matt Linick, recently hired Camp Director.
The Camp by Bousquet - Carrie shared that since The Camp was designed as a summer camp for kids, Mill Town intends to keep it that way. The intent is to open it in 2022 with many different activities. Eventually, parts of the camp will be open year-round, since some of its buildings are winterized. It was pointed out that the new exterior color scheme identifies building type – 3-season buildings are dark red and year-round buildings are stained dark grey (“Raccoon Fur”). Other pairs, replacement of planking, etc. Matt introduced himself as the new director of the summer camp. The current plan is to hold one six-week session (co-ed) as a general camp experience, and to offer two one-week sessions that each have a single focus. One week may be concentrated on sports and another on music. Likely the six-week session will include children ages 8–15, and a music session may be for ages 12–18, but nothing is confirmed yet. The camp will be ACA-accredited. Initially, about 150 campers are expected, but it can be expanded if it becomes as popular as hoped for. If there is a demand for 400 campers, an additional permit will be required. All options are under consideration, but the intent is to provide transparency.
Q&A session focused on The Camp – Questions were posed about the following issues. Regarding watercraft on Richmond Pond, their intent is that canoes, kayaks, SUPs and sailboats will be used at The Camp. Lakeside Christian Camp had two motor boats, so a similar approach regarding motorized craft is likely. There will be no jet-skis, an announcement which drew hearty applause. There are currently trails that connect with the public fishing trail and Richmond town beach, and these will be rehabilitated by the Greenagers. When the camp is in session, these trails will be off-limits for security reasons. But there will likely be times when the trails will be open for general hikers, and this will be announced on a website. The Camp does need to have some perimeter lights for safety. However, in order not to disturb neighbors on the pond, there will be goose-neck lighting which points light down, not toward the pond. They have already reduced pond-side lighting. Mill Town stressed that its mission is to serve the local community, improving the quality of life for those who reside and work here.
Summary of RPA’s activities in 2020-21 - The program then shifted to a summary of RPA’s initiatives. Ken shared highlights of RPA’s year since last summer – referring to the 2020 annual report, which was provided.
· With COVID-19 in spring 2020, the RPA shifted its meeting format and met monthly as Zoom meetings throughout 2020, with good attendance. They’ve done the same this spring and summer so far.
· A major change at the pond was Lakeside Christian Camp’s closing in spring 2020; it was put on the market, & purchased by Mill Town Capital in Dec. 2020, after which RPA reached out to Carrie & Jon & welcomed & incorporated The Camp by Bousquet into the RPA as an active participant.
· With regard to Balderdash Cellars Winery, RPA has continued its posture of remaining neutral but trying to facilitate communication amongst the parties regarding the evolving parameters of Balderdash’s farm function permit. Live music noise concerns have been expressed by some members of Richmond Shores, & the Town’s Board of Selectmen has jurisdiction over those matters.
· The RPA continued its multiple efforts to assist the Town in managing the health of the pond, as outlined in the 2020 annual report. Carl Foote next shared several of those efforts.
Weed treatment – The RPA & the Town worked with contractor, Solitude Lake Management, which conducted an initial treatment June 8th for invasive weeds (Eurasian milfoil, curly-leaf pondweed and spiny naiad). Solitude conducted a full lake survey on July 15th; with Carl accompanying them; this interim survey did not find any invasives. Therefore, the second treatment, usually done in August, will not be needed this year. They also discussed the large presence of algae (pond scum). Solitude will provide an estimate for algae treatment. Paperwork is being prepared.
RPA had budgeted for a sample tape-grass treatment which should be done by late July. But Solitude and the Town have received a communication from MA Natural Heritage that the Town of Richmond must file for a MESA filing for Richmond Pond’s herbicide NOI extension, stating that, “No work or activities may occur subject to Order 263-998 prior to completion of the MESA review process.” Unless that filing is submitted & approved quickly, that tape-grass treatment may not occur this summer.
Tributary testing - All four tributaries plus the dam were tested on July 20th. The feeds seemed remarkably clear two days after the recent deluge, though obvious stone wash was found at Whitewood and Tracy Brook. The water temperature was only 60°F at Whitewood, while other feeds were warmer at 69°F. The dam temperature was 72°F.
Lab results just received provided higher than average E.coli counts, especially at Tracy Brook and Whitewood. The beaver dam at Tracy Brook Wildlife Sanctuary had partially breached, bringing a high volume of water and debris into the pond. A similar situation is obvious at Whitewood. The Richmond Shores community beach had a very high E.coli count and had to close. The waters there were then tested daily and were deemed safe the next day. The good news is that the E.coli number at the outlet at The Camp by Bousquet is very low, suggesting good quality across the pond.
Cyanobacteria testing - Cyanobacteria testing is being done bi-weekly at Richmond Pond’s deep hole (53 feet), paid for by RPA, with boats provided by Ken and Louise. All results are reported in detail. The latest test was done Thursday, July 22nd off Ken’s fishing boat. During the test, the consultant remarked that dissolved oxygen is very low. This may be a result of a high phosphate content due to the recent rains and high runoff from our tributaries and other feeds around the lake. Another indication of the high phosphates is the presence of algae reported around the lake. Cyanobacteria results were recently received, and there are cyanobacteria present, but at deeper levels and at amounts that do not approach concern thresholds. While the pond was OK, ongoing monitoring for surface activity is recommended. It should be noted that the surface should be watched because these cyanobacteria may move up the water column. The water at the 15-foot sample had cyanobacteria that looked like a dog had shed its hair in the water when the sample was held up to the sunlight (easier to see).
Detention basins & swales on Camp Russell’s property - Repairs to these two are to be addressed by the Town of Richmond after Camp Russell’s summer camp season has concluded. During last weekend’s kayak survey, there did not appear to be material runoff from either of the swales.
The Canal – A three-phase plan has been developed to improve the canal: weed-pulling, weed-pulling (again), and possible hydro-raking. In late June, scuba divers from Aquatic Roots of Pittsfield reported, “We were able to clear a 10-foot-wide path in the canal last week, with 50 bags collected and total plant material eight of 905 lbs.” All feedback from our canal users has been great. Divers plan to come back to pull any new growth the week of August 17th. Laurie Rock, the project’s lead scuba diver, was present and appreciated.
The next step will be additional weed pulling in the section between the bridge and Town Beach Road in 2022, also to be paid for by the RPA. RPA has been researching possible hydro-raking in the future, which is a much more costly project and would also require additional permitting. The initial cost estimate is $60,000, so multiple funding sources would be required.
Goose management plan, year 3 – Laura Rosenthal reported that in 2019, the RPA decided to collaborate as a pond community to get the Canada goose population down to a more manageable size. Eric Johnson of Wild Goose Chase NE was hired to deal with the geese on participating properties. (Some communities do not want to participate in the program, so dogs don’t go there.) Eric raises border collies and trains them as sheep dogs – a great skill that translates into herding geese. The dogs only go after geese – not ducks, herons or other birds. And the dogs don’t hurt geese – they herd them off the shore. When we started this program, we had over 150 geese on the lake and on the beaches. As we are experiencing this year, the number of geese has dropped to about 30 to 60, depending on the time of day. Wild Goose Chase’s border collies come to Richmond Pond two or three times a week. Participating property owners are informed ahead of time when Eric will be here to make sure we can stay out of the way of his herding. The goal is not to eliminate the goose population on the lake; it’s just to keep the contamination of our beaches below toxic levels so that we can keep Richmond Pond and all its users healthy. There was a question about how effective the dogs are, since there is a lot of goose poop on The Camp’s lawn. It is expected that with more human activity at The Camp next year, droppings will be fewer.
Boat ramp & town beach staffing - Ken reported for Danielle Fillio, who could not attend, that all of the monitoring positions at the boat ramp and lifeguard positions at town beach have been filled. The permit applications for continued weed treatments & addressing the detention basins are in process.
Book – A History of Richmond Pond – Kerry Hamilton reported on the status of this book, which started two years ago as an idea for a fun RPA project, has turned into quality production. Ken Kelly, Gloria Morse, Susan Abramowitz, Jan Hartford, Valeri Reynolds and Kerry have been researching, writing and editing; several additional writers have also contributed. It is now expected to run about 200 pages with 180 images. Most of its 25 chapters are completed. We are planning to print 250 copies, which will be available in the fall, in time for the Christmas holidays. It will cost $20, and if not sold out through pre-orders, will be available for sale at Bartlett’s, Balderdash, Hancock Shaker Village and The Bookstore in Lenox.
Odd & Ends - Ken mentioned that he writes a Richmond Pond Update column in the Richmond Record (a monthly publication for $21/year). There is also a robust RPA website & a Facebook page. The annual fund-raising letter was just sent out and copies were made available.
More Q&A – Several additional questions were asked – some for RPA and some for The Camp. Are there any guidelines for open water swimmers? For safety, such swimmers need to be visible to boaters by using a bubble, a brightly colored cap, and/or a companion in a boat. There was a concern about pollution if there are too many motor boats in the water. Issuing motor boat permits for the pond was suggested, but are not a viable option, but all motorboats do have to be registered annually with the state, wherever they are used. There has been a lot of erosion around the beaches this year, and a caution against adding sand to beaches was shared, as adding too much sand will add to pollution of the water.
Ken thanked The Camp for hosting the meeting & providing refreshments. Meeting was adjourned around 6:15 pm. Miraculously, the rain stopped when the meeting ended!
Directors present (voting): Ken Kelly (president, independent cottages), Carl Foote (treasurer, Branch Farm), Susan Benner (vice president, Whitewood), Kerry Hamilton (At-Large), Carrie Holland (The Camp by Bousquet), Miles Garfinkel (At-Large), Laura Rosenthal (South Pond Farm)
Alternates present: Jessica Baumgarten (South Pond Farm), Louise Brogan (Branch Farm), Brian Grebeldinger (Richmond Shores), Kitty Levitan (Whitewood), Tim Mason (independent cottages), Jon Millburg (The Camp by Bousquet), Al Nardacci (independent cottages), John Reynolds (Whitewood), Ron Veillette (Richmond Conservation Commission)
Guests present: Attendance exceeded 100, from all of the pond’s communities & other local users of the pond. Though 64 guests signed in, other guests were unable to sign in, given the storm’s intervention, so a partial list of guest attendees is not included here.
Directors Absent: Doreen Donovan (secretary, Richmond Shores), Dan Joslyn (Camp Russell)
Ex-officio absent: Danielle Fillio (Richmond Town Administrator), Dan Scorpa (Richmond Conservation Commission), Jim McGrath (City of Pittsfield)
Alternates Absent: Kais Abderrahim (Camp Russell), Barry Kellogg (Richmond Shores), Joe McGovern (Camp Russell), John O’Brien (Branch Farm)