Winsted and Goshen to Receive DEEP Grant for Lake Studies

December 12, 2014

Article as it appeared in the Litchfield County Times

Winsted and Goshen will be the recipients of state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection grant funding, which will help pay for diagnostic studies of aquatic plant life with the intended goal of controlling invasive species.

Winchester received $15,000 to study Highland Lake and Goshen received $4,000 to study plant life in Dog Pond, Tyler Lake and Westside Pond, according to a release from the state.

The town of Winchester applied for the grant in September. The Highland Lake Watershed Association will utilize this funding to map out and apply herbicide to deal with two different invasive species, according to the release.

The Eurasian Milfoil and the Variable Leaf Milfoil both can grow in ponds and lakes like Highland. Both of these invasive plants crowd out native plants and have a negative impact on the habitat for fish and other wildlife. Highland Lake has traditionally had issues with both species.

Sam Sciacca, who heads the Highland Lake Watershed Association, told The Register Citizen in September that eradicating these species isn’t feasible given the cost and the current technology.

The DEEP grant is a matching grant, which means that the town will contribute an additional $15,000 to the cause, which could possibly be used for associated work.

State Sen. Clark Chapin, R-30, and state Rep. Jay Case, R-63, voiced their support for the initiative to keep these invasive species at bay.

“Controlling aquatic invasive species is central to healthy waterways and a healthy environment,” Case said in a release. “This grant will help the towns of Goshen and Winchester study plant life and help combat anything that might disrupt the natural beauty of these bodies of water. Congratulations to town officials for their hard work in securing this funding.”

Chapin organized a forum attended by a panel of experts, the release states, during the last legislative session in Hartford to “discuss specific problems caused by aquatic invasive species in Connecticut’s lakes and ponds.” He and Case attained the support necessary for “plans to provide grants and educate people about preventing the spread of these species”

“It’s important that the state continue working with towns,” Chapin said in the release, “to help landowners and municipalities eradicate invasive plant problems and educate residents about maintaining healthy aquatic ecosystems. We need to work together to protect our state’s many delicate and important natural habitats.”

Officials at DEEP reported requests throughout Connecticut exceeding $295,000. When it came down to it, a total of $150,000 was awarded to Connecticut municipalities, including the $19,000 distributed to Winchester and Goshen.