The following New Year’s Resolutions underscore the importance of protecting our waters from the ravages of invasive species, notably zebra mussels. Preventive planning and action by all recreational enthusiasts are essential to minimize the risks of Candlewood Lake’s contamination – a very real and present danger as the spring 2013 spawning and boating seasons approach.
- 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.
- Recognize that zebra mussels (ZMs) pose a real and present danger; once waters are contaminated, there is no recourse – only costly damage control.
- 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.
- Raise concern with family and friends; discuss the need for preventive action; to confront this challenge requires caution, commitment, and compliance.
- Recognize that waterborne vessels of all types can host ZM hitchhikers – power and sailboats, water-skis, wakeboards, PWC, canoes, kayaks, tubes.
- 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.
- Remember that the Housatonic River and three of its impoundment lakes (Zoar, Lillinonah, and Housatonic) are now infected so avoid if at all possible.
- Realize that every item that touches ZM-infected waters can serve to spread the contagion – hulls, engines, paddles, vests, nets, even swimsuits and pets.
- Religiously decontaminate all vessels, equipment, and gear following use in suspect waters by adhering to the prescribed protocol of ‘Clean-Drain-Dry’.
- Reinforce the cautionary theme of ‘Zero Zebras’ by doing your part to restrict their entry; volunteer to coach others by becoming a boat launch monitor.
- 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.
- 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 is the chair of the Candlewood Watershed Initiative (CWI). The following are links to previous editorial, letters to the editor, letters to the DEEP, and DEEP responses on the topic of a potential Zebra Mussel infestation of Candlewood Lake.
DEEP Responds to Reader's Letter on Zebra Mussels, Dec. 6, 2012
An Open Letter Urging Swift DEEP Intervention , Dec. 6, 2012
An Open Letter to the DEEP Commissioner, Oct. 7, 2012
Candlewood Lake Turns 83: A Time to Celebrate, Not Sept. 27, 2012
Zebra Mussels Are Back -- Protect the Lake, Aug. 2, 2012
Letter to the Editor: Prevention is THE Priority, April 25, 2011
12 Tips for Staving Off a Zebra Mussell Infestation, March 22, 2011
Gambling on the Future of Candlewood Lake, Feb. 14, 2011