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Connecticut will mark its first-ever Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Weekend this weekend.  It's part of an effort to encourage boaters and others to take all steps necessary to prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals. Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is partnering with the Candlewood Lake Authority and Mystic Aquarium to promote this weekend.

 

DEEP staff will be at many boat launches throughout the state over the weekend including those at Lattins Cove and Squantz Cove on Candlewood Lake, Lake Zoar, Lake Lillinonah, Highland Lake, and Coventry Lake. They will be educating boaters about clean and safe boating practices and conducting Aquatic Invasive Species inspections.

 

DEEP staff will be at the launches from approximately 7am–3pm Saturday and Sunday.

 

Because of their ability to grow quickly and outcompete other species, DEEP officials say many aquatic invasive plants form dense mats just under the water surface, which can be hazardous to recreational boaters and swimmers. Zebra mussels, a problematic invader, has colonized in several lakes and ponds in Western Connecticut and need to be kept from spreading further.

 

The Candlewood Lake Authority representing the towns of Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford, and Sherman had student volunteers from the local schools stencil DEEP's logo of CLEAN-DRAIN-DRY at all of the town launches surrounding Candlewood Lake.

 

Clean: inspect and remove aquatic plants and animals as well as mud or other debris from your vessel, equipment (including rods/reels), shoes, etc. (As a reminder to boaters, it is illegal to transport aquatic plants and animals on your boat or trailer).

 

Drain any water collected from that water body. For boats this means the bilge and associated equipment (buckets, coolers, live wells, etc.).

 

Dry for a minimum of 1 week in hot/dry weather or 4 weeks in cool/wet weather.

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