Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone
Minutes of the meeting of August 19, 2009
Present: John Marsland, Joe Pailthorpe, Michael Scalzi III, Frank Matta (presiding),
Karen Mateleska, Sandra Belliveau, Dave Newton, Peter Coffin (BRC), Roland Gauvin,
Frank Geary, Arthur Plitt, Alice Clemente
The minutes of the July meeting were approved as presented.
Treasurer’s report: Checkbook balance $15,131.13
Money Market balance 85,341.57
Escrow for grants -98,506.98
Riverfest escrow -529.97
Advance/River Access 1,840.00
Advance/Pratt Dam Buoys 947.44
Funds for deposit 130.00
Disposable funds $4,363.19
River access and safety:
Sandra Belliveau, as Rule 2 coordinator, summarized the comments prepared by the
Executive Committee in response to a proposal submitted by BVTC to RIDOT for the
use of funds remaining from an old grant, now in danger of expiring if not spent.
BRWC/FOB objected to the use of power boats on the river, with the exception of
specially authorized vehicles; pointed out that stakeholder input was inadequate; and
suggested that some of the funds be used to address the problem at Pratt Dam.
In talks with DEM director Michael Sullivan and Rene Menard, Roland Gauvin learned
that rescue crews are opposed to power boats on the river and are seeking new regulatory
legislation with a fine of $500 and that an effort is under way to determine whether
regulations can be imposed on interstate waterways. It was noted that that issue had been
addressed at Wallum Lake.
BRC report: Peter Coffin reviewed plans for the BVTC’s Water Users Conference to be
held on September 22. BRWC/FOB is already addressing some of the issues that the
conference organizers will be discussing, e.g. the Manville and Pratt Dam challenges.
John Marsland suggested that a fact sheet be prepared for distribution at the conference
about what we have done all these years and Frank Matta stressed the fact that we need to
attend well prepared. One point that needs to be stressed is the importance of the building
we are seeking as a maintenance equipment storage unit. Donna Williams wants to bring
in the issue of water quality.
Historic cemetery stewardship: Michael Scalzi and Joe Pailthorpe presented a letter and a
project form outlining a cooperative initiative between BRWC/FOB and those interested
in maintaining historic cemeteries in the watershed. A motion made by Joe Pailthorpe to
approve the project passed and Michael Scalzi III was named cemetery steward.
Pratt Dam: This past Saturday, 13 people gathered to install buoys and put up warning
signs. The event was managed by Peter Casson and people from the Valley Breeze were
there to photograph and report on the event. Another press event needs to be done
because of the publicity over the drowning last spring.
Paul D’Adamo of Bill’s Auto Parts donated $1000 to pay for the buoys.
Tom’s of Maine grant application went out on Monday asking for $20,000 for work on the Pratt Dam.
Frank Geary, Frank Matta and others met with the Nature Conservancy to discuss as yet
unresolved matters such as who will administer the funds and manage the project. Several
different scenarios were discussed. Mike Cassidy, Pawtucket Town Planner and Chair of
the Heritage Corridor, has offered to supervise and administer the project.
Andrew Lipsky announced that he will be away for a few months and has put together a
meeting to take place tomorrow at the Nature Conservancy to discuss all of this.
BRWC/FOB is the lead organization responsible of receiving and awarding bids.
Stream restoration: The NRCS is completing the stream continuity mapping started by the Council last year. The next step, stream restoration, is set to begin. Roland would like
to see 3 sites on the Clear River restored before mapping is completed. He suggested that
the Council identify a project that could be done by volunteers.
Membership: Joe Pailthorpe reported that, though the numbers remain small, membership has increased by 18%. Joe moved that Paul and Lynn D’Adamo be made life members of the watershed council and that Earl Marsh and Doug Vaughn from Riverview Quarry
also be made life members. The motion was tabled.
Visioning session: The next session was rescheduled for October 17 at 9:30 a.m.
Family event: John Marsland and Bob Charpentier are organizing a bike and paddle event, scheduled for October 3, to expand recreational use of the river.
Paul D’Adamo has been nominated for the Corridor star award.
Joe Pailthorpe will call John Aubin to ask about what’s happening with the work at the Manville Dam.
BRWC/FOB has been invited to partner with URI on a water quality program focusing on non-point (stormwater) pollution. Arthur Plitt moved that the invitation be accepted and the motion passed unanimously.
There will be a hearing on the Upper Blackstone appeal in September.
The next meeting will be September 16 at Amica.