Make a Difference in the Life & Legacy of Candlewood Lake
By Jim McAlister, Candlewood Watershed Initiative
Here’s your chance to make a significant difference in the health and future of CT’s premier lake. Candlewood Lake -- Our Lake -- is under increasing stress from many quarters, and available human and financial resources are stretched towards the limit. Faced with multiple threats from aquatic invasive species (AIS, currently including milfoil and zebra mussels), housing development, storm water runoff and boat traffic and their attendant negative effects, plus related factors delivering consequences like algae blooms, Candlewood Lake and its Watershed are at risk, if not under siege. One solution now being actively pursued is building an engaged, sustained volunteer force to complement current staff. Importantly, you can help.
The Candlewood Watershed Initiative (CWI) is teaming with the Candlewood Lake Authority (CLA) to build a cadre of committed volunteers to help address a range of significant and ongoing challenges facing Candlewood Lake. Many of these needs extend beyond specific projects where volunteers are periodically sought to benefit the Lake (the Annual Lake Clean-Up on 5/17 is one example, the Dragon Boat Race on 8/16 is another -- check the CLA website, candlewoodlakeauthority.org -- for how you can volunteer or participate in scheduled events).
Separately, we are assembling a roster of residents who are willing to commit their time and skills to serve in a variety of capacities – some are predefined while others may be structured around individual expertise, talents, interests, and availability. We anticipate roles for strategy, communications and project management pros, web researchers, administrative and coordination specialists, community canvassers, and a variety of similar opportunities to contribute. Adult volunteers of all ages are sought from around the Lake; specific experience in a given field, while valued, is not essential – enthusiasm, commitment, follow-through and a love for the Lake are.
One of our principal upcoming initiatives is marshalling a force to supplement that of the DEEP in conducting public education and boat inspections at our various Lake ramps (state, town, and community), requiring both launch monitors and shift schedulers. To learn the ropes and serve in this key education/inspection capacity involves attending a DEEP-sponsored training session, the first of which will be held Saturday, 5/31 (access the CLA web site to register). Another is conducting web research and perhaps boater and angler research to better understand AIS transmission issues and evolve best practices. Writing press articles, spreading the word on the importance of prevention, possibly installing ramp AIS signage are other examples.
To become part of this advocacy force is simple: just send an email to CWI4OurLakesSake@aol.com stating your interest, skills, general availability, and contact information -- and we will take it from there by following up in matching capabilities to Lake-wide needs. It’s that easy on the front end and amply rewarding thereafter. Take the plunge for our Lake’s sake and create your own ripple effect in concert with others who share a common commitment to Candlewood. We hope to hear from you soon.