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State Senator

Julie Kushner

Representing Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, Sherman

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Sen. Kushner Welcomes New Law to Help Clean Up Connecticut’s Lakes and Ponds

DANBURY - Senator Julie Kushner (D-Danbury) today welcomed the signing into law of a bill designed to clean up invasive species from Connecticut’s lakes and ponds – especially Candlewood Lake – and to allow conservation police to enforce noise ordinances on Candlewood Lake.

The bill was signed into law this afternoon in the State Capitol by Governor Ned Lamont.

“Candlewood Lake is Connecticut’s largest lake, and it’s one of our state’s greatest natural assets. But Candlewood Lake is also under attack by invasive species like Eurasian milfoil. Something had to be done,” Sen. Kushner said today. “As vice-chair of the Environment Committee, I had an opportunity to champion this bill and to set a plan in motion. With this new invasive species fee, Connecticut will be able to build-up the funds necessary to combat invasive plants and to take on any invasive species that might show up in the future. I’m proud of the bipartisan support this bill generated and I look forward to the good environmental work that will come from it.”

House Bill 6637, “AN ACT REQUIRING AN INVASIVE SPECIES STAMP FOR THE OPERATION OF A MOTORBOAT ON THE WATERS OF THE STATE AND ENFORCEMENT OF NOISE ORDINANCES ON CANDLEWOOD LAKE,” passed the General Assembly in June on an overwhelming and bipartisan 165-12 vote.

The new law enables Connecticut municipalities and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to prevent and respond to infestations of aquatic invasive species that negatively impact water quality, recreational use, environmental health and property values through a user-fee-based approach.

The new law requires owners of registered vessels to pay an annual aquatic invasive species fee of $5 for in-state vessels and $20 for out-of-state vessels. The proceeds will be used for programs to eradicate aquatic invasive species and cyanobacteria blooms; for education and public outreach programs about protecting and preserving state lakes, rivers, and ponds; and for grants to state and municipal agencies and nonprofit organizations.

The new law also authorizes DEEP environmental conservation police officers to enforce the noise ordinance of any municipality bordering Candlewood Lake (Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford, and Sherman) on the lake’s waters. If more than one of these municipalities has a noise ordinance, the officers may enforce the most restrictive one.

The new law takes effect January 1, 2020.

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