Don't poison Candlewood Lake
New Fairfield is planning on using massive amounts of herbicides and algaecides on Candlewood Lake this spring- 60 acres of herbicides and up to 150 acres of algaecides are planned. All of this was planned without soliciting input from residents, the DEEP, the CLA or other stakeholders.
Candlewood is a shared resource- no individual Town should be allowed to poison the waters of Candlewood to achieve short term control-what one Town does in its waters affects all of Candlewood. Candlewood is not a swimming pool to be managed by chemicals but is a fragile, interconnected and interdependent waterbody that must be carefully managed. The current Carp program was well researched by the CLA and was approved by all five Towns, the DEEP and FirstLight as the most cost effective, most ecologically responsible program to manage milfoil. To introduce massive amounts of herbicides even as the Carp program is ramping makes no sense, and could negatively impact the Carp program as herbicides can lead to fish die-offs due to oxygen depletion. Other non-toxic means exist to manage milfoil (and have been successfully used by the other Towns) as we wait for the Carp program to ramp. These include hand pulling, suction harvesting and the use of benthic barriers.
We all know the hard work that must be done around the lake; better shoreline buffers, better septic management, improved storm water practices, work to limit fertilizer usage within the watershed and possibly nutrient inactivation or aeration to manage the excess nutrients already found in the sediments owned by FirstLight. No one should support a path that includes the use of poisons (which is the correct term for the non-specific herbicides and algaecides) that New Fairfield is proposing to use. New Fairfield should be directing its efforts in these areas and not proposing the widespread use of poisons. New Fairfield formed a buffer committee several years ago- this committee has only met once or twice in the several years since it was formed- why isn’t more work being done in this area in New Fairfield instead of promoting the use of poisons? FirstLight has repeatedly sought waivers on required buffer installations in New Fairfield- why hasn’t the Town opposed these waiver requests? The CLA has spearheaded the research of lake management strategies that resulted in the Carp program- why has New Fairfield withheld funding from this critical organization? Why didn't New Fairfield's CLA delegates attend all of the educational sessions where the CLA brought in experts to discuss various management strategies?
Although the shallow drawdown this year (driven by the discovery of zebra mussels at the Rocky River penstock) may increase the milfoil challenges this year, it does not justify the use of poisons within Candlewood.
The Connecticut DEEP will be required to hold public hearings to weigh the risks of this program. Make your voice heard by contacting your Selectman or Mayor, the DEEP and by signing this petition. Let them know that you oppose the widespread use of poisons in our lake.