Christine Cohen

State Senator

Christine Cohen

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Listening, Advocating & Getting Results

May 5, 2021

Sen. Cohen Welcomes State Investment in the Fight Against Invasive Aquatic Plants

Lake Quonnipaug in Guilford receives a grant, along with 20 others

GUILFORD – State Senator Christine Cohen (D-Guilford) today welcomed a state grant for Guilford that will help control some of the four different types of invasive aquatic plants that make parts of Lake Quonnipaug virtually impassable to boats and recreational swimmers.

Sen. Cohen, who is Senate Chair of the legislature’s Environment Committee, joined Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Katie Dykes in Haddam today to announce the recipients of the inaugural round of grant funding through the Aquatic Invasive Species Grant Program, with a total of $360,000 going to 21 projects to reduce impacts of aquatic invasive species on inland waters in Connecticut.

Included in the announcement is $13,986.50 for the control and management of invasive aquatic plants in Lake Quonnipaug. A 2020 aquatic plant survey of the 99-acre lake found the same four invasive plant species it had previously detected in 2004, 2010, and 2015: fanwort, eurasian watermilfoil, variable-leaf watermilfoil, and curlyleaf pondweed. The survey found most of the lake is navigable; however, the southern cove becomes impassible due to floating muck islands and invasive fanwort.

“Like most bodies of water in Connecticut, Quonnipaug Lake is a real, year-round asset for the community. We’ve got a beach, and swimming, and boating, as well as fishing for trout, bass and pickerel. The eastern side of the lake is dotted with homes. Eagles fish there, too. It’s in everyone’s best interests to keep the lake clean and usable,” Sen. Cohen said. “Several years ago there was overwhelming, bipartisan agreement in the legislature to create a funding stream to combat these invasive plants. I’m so glad that today we are seeing the first fruits of our determination and dedication to protecting and enhancing this part of Connecticut’s natural beauty.”

Guilford First Selectman Matt Hoey III also welcomed the state grant, noting the value of inland waters like Lake Quonnipaug.

“We are thrilled to receive the grant funding. It will be used to develop the Lake Quonnipaug Management Plan and subsequent projects to combat the ongoing challenges with invasive aquatic plants that threaten the continued use of the lake,” Hoey said. “Many thanks to Senator Cohen and Commissioner Dykes for their leadership on these types of opportunities to preserve access to treasured resources”

The Aquatic Invasive Species Grant Program was made possible in 2019 when the Connecticut General Assembly voted on a bipartisan basis to create a $5 Aquatic Invasive Species Stamp fee (Public Act 19-190) for all registered boats using Connecticut waters to fund the Connecticut Lakes, Rivers and Ponds Preservation Account.

The funds must be used for one of three purposes:

  • Programs to eradicate aquatic invasive species and cyanobacteria blooms;
  • Education and public outreach programs about protecting and preserving state lakes, rivers, and ponds;
  • Grants to state and municipal agencies and nonprofit organizations to conduct research and provide education on managing state lakes, rivers, and ponds.

For this first round of funding, DEEP had a total of $360,000 to award for eligible control, research and education and outreach projects. The maximum grant award was $50,000. Matching funds were required and had to equal or exceed 25% of the total amount of funding received from DEEP under this grant program.