At the Candlewood Lake Authority’s August 14 meeting, CLA Marine Patrol Chief Ron Barnard reported that the Patrol has been receiving numerous complaints about Sand Island. He noted that the Patrol has issued 13 citations for illegal boating infractions in the area. The CLA has contacted FirstLight about the issue as it is their property. CLA Chair Phyllis Schaer recommended that a formal letter be drawn up and sent to FirstLight’s executive director.
The Authority also acknowledged the bravery of Chief Barnard and a new recruit in rescuing stranded jet skiers during a lightning storm. The rescue was accomplished successfully, despite lightning striking the water several times near the CLAMP boat.
In her chairman’s report, CLA Chair Phyllis Schaer said that the Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) had been approved by FERC as submitted. Director of Ecology and Environmental Education J. Neil Stalter gave an overview of areas within the plan that had been of concern to the CLA and the five towns bordering the lake. He noted that FERC will still be required to approve any changes, meaning that any proposed changes will be on the FERC meeting agenda so all will see any modifications and may comment.
Regarding fees, Mr. Stalter noted that while the SMP still does not put any restrictions on the possibility of FirstLight or its successors changing or adding fees, FERC has stated that the fees as outlined in the SMP will be in effect for the six year term of the agreement and that no additional fees may be imposed for parties with deeded lake rights.
Mr. Stalter also stated that FERC noted the requirement that photos of the buffer activities in addition to the descriptions be included in reports by FirstLight, rather than just including aerial flyover photos, which are less accurate.
Ms. Schaer stated that she will be attending the August Sherman Board of Selectmen meeting to discuss the SMP and the Nuisance Plant Monitoring and Mapping, noting that several area towns are supportive of having the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) do the report for 2019 and may be willing to pay for the work. She said she feels that New Fairfield, Brookfield and Sherman are supportive of this and she will be reaching out to New Milford and Danbury. CAES has done the weed mapping since 2007 this would keep the methodology and reporting consistent, she said.
New Fairfield Selectman Khris Hall, who was in attendance, stated that New Fairfield had some funds appropriated for lake studies under a previous administration. She said that using some of those funds for the project would be a topic of discussion at a Board of Selectman meeting in the near future.
In his Treasurer’s Report, Bill Lohan reviewed the independent auditor’s report for the previous fiscal year. He stated that the auditors had found no discrepancies. Revenues were 2% over budget, while expenses came in at 91% of revenue. This was due in large part, he said, because the Authority was not fully staffed for the entire year.
In addressing the current fiscal year, Mr. Lohan noted that all the towns had paid their annual fee, with the exception of Danbury, which pays in quarterly installments. He did note that Danbury had paid its first installment.
Executive Director Mark Howarth noted that there had been a good turnout for the State of the Lake on July 13 at New Fairfield Co. A firehouse. He noted that the CLA booth at New Milford Village Fair Days July 26 and 27 had a lot of activity as well.
Director of Ecology and Environmental Education J. Neil Stalter reported on the water quality monitoring results for July. He noted that “results were on trend compared to previous years, showing a modest decrease in clarity along with increases in measurements of nutrient levels and chlorophyll-a. Measurements of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) cell counts have been within healthy levels, and no zebra mussel veligers were found during analysis.”
The next regular meeting of the CLA will be held Wed., September 11 at 7:30pm in Sherman.
By Greg Slomba