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)