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An Open Letter to DEEP Commissioner

The following was sent to the Commissioner of the CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection on Candlewood Lake's birthday last Friday, and transmitted an opinion piece which appeared recently online in this publication on the unmet ch

To: Dan Esty, CT DEEP Commissioner

Dan, today marks Candlewood Lake's 83rd birthday.  It comes at a time of deep concern as expressed in the adjoining opinion piece that is appearing in Lake-area press this week.  Without question the Lake's health is deteriorating and the stakes are high as invasive species command a greater share of Lake space and merrily line up for access. The threats are real, they are serious, and they are now.  Your added attention and DEEP's involvement are also required now.

Few in a position to make a difference seem genuinely concerned and committed to stem this onslaught.  Our current resources and defenses are inadequate.  Unless significantly 'shored-up' and sustained by all agencies and parties responsible, we invite a dramatic decline in the Lake's well-being that could well be irreversible and become a regional tipping point.  I, for one, am unwilling to let that occur on my watch.  It's past time to get serious.

The prescription includes full-bore regional focus on a single objective of 'zero zebras.'  A 'red line' needs to be drawn.  Second, the appointment of a regional czar with clout to orchestrate and execute a plan to ensure invasives do not have free run of regional waters — to then infect other lakes, rivers and streams throughout the northeast. Another would be to establish a viable 'invasives defense fund' to deal with the inevitable incursions and stop them in their tracks, now.  Fourth, to match state ramp hours to available staffing — not to leave these gateways wide open if they cannot be properly manned — that's nuts.  Next, to lead passage and enforcement of needed regulations, which are woefully inadequate.  And the list goes on.

Candlewood Lake, as one of CT's greatest assets, merits an investment of strategic vision, leadership, energy and bullion not evidenced to date.  Such a preventive investment can pay off multifold and is definitely superior to having to fund the remedial expense required in the aftermath of an invasion.  I hope you will join with the CLA and others here at Candlewood to help ensure this precious resource does not unnecessarily deteriorate further, and indeed is preserved for future generations... and countless happy birthdays.  Thanks for your help.

Jim McAlister, New Fairfield
Lake Advocate and Concerned Resident of 21 Years
Chair, Candlewood Watershed Initiative (CWI)

Steven DeVaux October 07, 2012 at 11:25 AM
Return Candlewood Lake and Lake Lillanonoah to their natural pristine states as rivers (Rock River and Housatonic Rivers respectively) and help restore the balance back to nature to it's original sustainable state.
Andrew Turkenkopf October 07, 2012 at 05:40 PM
This is what I have been saying (at least for Candlewood) for awhile now.
Susan Balla October 08, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Candlewood lake was never a river. It was corn fields and a town. There were three original ponds. Sqaunce Pond, Never Sink, I can't remember the name of the third. Lake Candlewood was created for electricity. It is a man made lake. You can still see the foundations of the homes that were taken down. Oh yes there was a cemetary that they had to move. So don't tell me to turn it back to a river. Look up your local history. I have lived by the lake for sixty years. It has deteriated from washing machines empying in the lake. There were septic systems emptying in the lake, inboard motor boats with bathrooms that were emptied into the lake. Now we put up with out of state boats, more houses, more condos, more restaurants, shall I go on? I say restrict the size of boats that come on the lake. Put a moratorium on building on the lake and watch who brings in the Zebra Clams. Check each boat which gets put in the water to make sure it is free of invading species. Make it mandatory to check septic systems along the lake. Check where washing machines are emptying out along the lake. Latins cove needs to be checked every year because of polution. The five towns around the lake make sure that the public docks are cleaned every year. Let's bring back the pride in our lake.

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