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Letter to the Editor: 12 New Year’s Resolutions for the Boating Public

12 resolutions to protect boaters' waters and wallets.

  1. Realize we each hold our lakes’ destiny in our hands; protection and prevention are watchwords if we are to preserve and pass on this legacy.
  2. Recognize that zebra mussels (ZMs) pose a real and present danger; once waters are contaminated, there is no recourse — only costly damage control.
  3. Reach out to better understand the risks and how these critters are spread; arm yourself with knowledge of how to avoid contact and clean your vessels.
  4. Raise concern with family and friends; discuss the need for preventive action; to confront this challenge requires caution, commitment and compliance.
  5. Recognize that waterborne vessels of all types can host ZM hitchhikers — power and sailboats, water-skis, wakeboards, PWC, canoes, kayaks, tubes.
  6. Reconsider your boating habits and patterns to avoid transporting ZMs from infected to uninfected waters; select a ‘home lake’ and enjoy it for the season.
  7. Remember that the Housatonic River and three of its impoundment lakes (Zoar, Lillinonah, and Housatonic) are now infected so avoid if at all possible.
  8. Realize that every item that touches ZM-infected waters can serve to spread the contagion — hulls, engines, paddles, vests, nets, even swimsuits and pets.
  9. Religiously decontaminate all vessels, equipment and gear following use in suspect waters by adhering to the prescribed protocol of ‘Clean-Drain-Dry.’
  10. Reinforce the cautionary theme of ‘Zero Zebras’ by doing your part to restrict their entry; volunteer to coach others by becoming an Invasive Investigator.
  11. Resolve to become stewards and advocates for our lakes’ sake and our own; responsibility for protecting our vital water resources rests with each of us.
  12. Re-launch come spring being mindful of these resolutions and with renewed commitment to preserve and perpetuate our lakes’ health, vitality and values.

From the Candlewood Watershed Initiative, grateful thanks to all for being proactive in holding the ZMs at bay. Continued vigilance is essential if our lakes are to be protected.

Jim McAlister
Chair, Candlewood Watershed Initiative (CWI)
Steven DeVaux January 12, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Highly unrealistic given the number of out-of-state boaters on the lake that trailer in and the fact that it takes only one prolific Zebra to overrun the lake in 10 years. That's like a zero defects program - great goal but one slip up by an out of state boater and it's over before you know it.
Rob Gianazza January 12, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Doesn't have to be an out-of-state boater. It could just as easily be a local or in-state boater. Limiting access to the lake via public ramps is the first step. They are a possible control point. Raising ramp fees for out of town boaters is another option to deter non-local boaters. The increase in fees could defer the cost of inspecting boats prior to being launched. Again, this is not a total solution, just a step towards limiting our exposure.
Steven DeVaux January 12, 2012 at 11:09 AM
I try and be realistic. It's not a matter of stopping it, it's a matter of having a plan on hand to deal with it when it happens. If we followed the theory of stoppage, there would be no need for fire departments.

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