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)