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Lake Waramaug survey explores use of wave-enhancing devices

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KENT—Residents of Kent, Warren and Washington are being asked to take part in a survey to help the three towns determine the best path forward to ensure the health of Lake Waramaug and the safety or its users.

The lake has been the focus of intensive efforts to preserve its health over the past five decades, but in the past few years concerns have been raised about human users’ health and safety as well as influences on the ecology of the lake. 

The three towns have engaged Terra Vigillis Environmental Services (TVES) to conduct a comprehensive study to help determine best practices. 

Lake Waramaug, which is bounded by the three communities, was named a Heritage Lake in 2000, shortly after the state legislature created the designation for lakes located in two or more municipalities.

The program is designed to encourage partnerships between towns contiguous to such lakes to provide environmental support and access to existing scientific data relating to the lakes, their shorelines and watershed areas. 

TVES has created a Lake User Survey for Lake Waramaug that is available online and in hard copy at the three town halls. The survey takes five to 10 minutes to complete. The deadline for submission is Feb. 29.

Questions concern the frequency and times that residents use the lake and the types of recreation they engage in there. It also addresses the use of wave-enhancing devices on boats. 

These include bladders, ballast tanks, wedges, hydrofoils or other hydraulic or mechanical devices designed to increase the weight and displacement of the hull to create larger waves.

The survey asks whether compliance should be voluntary or enforced if guidelines are developed concerning the use of these devices.

Wave-enhancing devices have become increasingly popular in recent years, but recent reports show that the larger waves, which make sports such as wave surfing and boarding more exciting, can damage shorelines and shallow-water aquatic habitats. They can also potentially endanger other lake users engaged in sports such as kayaking or swimming.

Kathryn Boughton
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