Welcome – Ken open 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)