Lake Zoar Authority
P.O. Box 931
Southbury, CT 06488
The regular meeting of the Lake Zoar Authority was held on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 at 7:01 pm at the Monroe Town Hall.
Gary Fillion, Chairman
Jerry Kozera, Vice Chairman
Bill May, Treasurer
Gary Fillion Chairman, called the meeting to order at 7:01pm.
A motion to accept the minutes as read from the May 3, 2022 minutes was made by Bill May, seconded by Jerry Kozera; the motion was passed unanimously.
Two residents from Bridge Road in Monroe, on the Eichler’s Cove marina, reported excessive speeds in and out of the cove and request some kind of deterrence at the throat of the cove. Chairman Gary Fillion suggested that Newtown Parks and Recreation be contacted and directed to apply for a buoy from the CT DEEP, since the town of Newtown is in charge of the area with traffic in question. The residents also inquired about the weed treatment program in the cove, and Gary explained that the area is part of the scheduled treatment again this year, even though it is not a navigable part of the lake. In the future, it may not be included, but it is currently included as courtesy.
A Newtown resident reminded the LZA that the purpose of the authority is to represent the interests of the four member towns, and commissioners should consider the towns’ dispositions when approving or disapproving special marine event permits.
Brian Woods of FirstLight Power reported that a permit was issued for LOF to operate events at the Old Southbury beach shoreline. Marine Patrol Coordinator Dan Semoksy verified that the area is a no wake zone. Brian woods reports FirstLight has only issued the permits up to the shoreline, and the waterway is to be regulated and enforced by the LZA and CT DEEP. Brian woods also reported that FirstLight does not deal with derelict / abandoned docks. He reported that the building officials of local towns can condemn the unsafe structures.
Peter Francis, CT DEEP Director of Boating Division provided information on how to report boating violations to DEEP EnCon Police (call 860-424-3333). He reported there are more boaters on CT lakes this year with less education. He reported the state is still under the national average for boating fatalities over the past two years. There are 7 fatalities on the water so far this year, which was last year’s total for the whole season. He reported that the education outreach team is working on a safety campaign on social media. He reported that recent accidents have shown that PFDs can help prevent death due to hypothermia. He also reported that according to law, boats need to be 100 feet and PWC’s 200 feet from the shore and docks if operating above the slow-no-wake speed of 6 mph, and enforcement is needed. He clarified that the watercrafts can go faster when taking off or landing a water skier only, but they must drive to another location for the continued activity, and may not stay in the narrow area driving in circles. He reported that if a driver speeds through the narrow parts of the lake that do not meet these distances, they should be ticketed, and they are responsible for damages caused by their wake. Peter verified the minimum legal age for operating a PWC is 16 years old. He reported the CT DEEP education team is starting to audit safe boating licensing classes to ensure they are providing the appropriate content for the required eight hours. He also reports the boating division is now going to train the retailers of handle-paddle PWC’s about safe practices, and will also provide literature to hand out to customers. He reported there are eight to nine thousand new boating licenses issued each year, and new boating registrations have increased by 30%. Peter reported that without a Marine Event Permit, no one has exclusive access to the waterway, and they cannot operate PWC’s within 200 feet of shore. Violators will thus be at fault for any accidents or collisions related to the activity. Peter recommended for the LZA to work closely with the CT DEEP EnCon Police on reporting and enforcing violations, and assured that EcCon officers can be scheduled for patrol on Lake Zoar as needed.
Correspondence and News Clippings:
A letter to the editor, written by Commissioner Herbert Gerber, entitled “Safety First Goal on Lake Zoar”, was published in the Voices Newspaper of Southbury on May 18, 2022. Herb would like to approach the paper to see if the piece can be published as a main article.
Bill May, Treasurer, presented account balances, with cash on hand equaling $110,936, and receivables including $107,132 form the four member town budgets, and an expected FirstLight donation of $10,000. Considering these contributions, funds are currently $228,068. The insurance policy has been renewed with no increase to the premium. The total invoice from Flash Signs for the new decals was $1,700, paid on June 1, 2022.
A motion to accept the treasurer’s report was made by Herb Garber, seconded by Barbara McWilliams; the motion was passed unanimously.
Marine Patrol Report:
Dan Semosky reported patrols started last two weekends of May, and the first provided an officer from the Oxford Police Department. He reports that boaters are not wearing their PFDs in kayaks, even when they have them. Several loaner life vests and whistles were passed out to keep the visitors within compliance. There were 43 enforcement actions for the month of May. Other infractions include speeding through the no wake zone under bridge construction. The debris floating down river has been very extreme, being at its worst in recent years. The patrol boats towed, secured, and marked many logs for removal by FirstLight, all the way down to the buoys. There is one large tree, with an eighteen inch diameter, North of Jackson Cove that is still attached to shore but underwater, extending 75 feet into the water. There is a large white carton buoy and police tape marking it. Brian Woods reports FirstLight is actively removing logs from local waters and will remove the tree trunk. Five buoys have broken free this year, three of the five have been recovered. The missing buoys have been replaced with assistance from the vendor. Lakeside Marine gas pumps are currently operative at $5.99 per gallon. Due to the increased cost, gas will now be delivered for the Patrol boats by NJK’s Sunoco of Newtown, with permission from the Newtown Parks and Recreation, and a containment boom will be supplied by the Sandy Hook Fire Dept. Marine Patrol Boat 1 hit a submerged structure which resulted in damage to the motor and motor screen. The boat is on the trailer awaiting repairs. Some decals were not sticking to the boat, so the vendor supplied metal decals that can be screwed on. Gary Fillion reported he noticed a lack of courtesy on the state boat launch, resulting in conflicts and arguments between boaters. Dan Semosky reported he will call the State Police Troop A and Southbury Police to patrol the area. During the first weekend of June, there were two boating accidents. On Sunday June 5, there was a jet ski collision just north of the Southbury bridge resulting in minor injuries to one of the drivers, a fourteen year old resident of Sandy Hook (no safe boating certificate or PWC endorsement). This driver was hit by another teen jets ski driver from Waterbury (no safe boating certificate or PWC endorsement). On Monday, June 6, 2022, Monroe PD reported a head on boat crash between Jackson Cove and the Stevenson Damn. Two boats came out of the Monroe Launch and collided. There was damage to the boats and one passenger required medical treatment for a laceration. Dan recommends stopping jet skis to check for proper safe boating certificates. He also reported sightings of PWC’s out at night without lights on. Gary suggested additional random weekday nights and Friday evening patrol shifts. Dan reported the patrol radar device is currently being recalibrated. Dan also reported about a Newtown resident complaining about the aggressive swan again this year. Dan reported the swan has also been reported to CT DEEP Wildlife Division. Commissioner John Downs reported that on May 27, 2022, the Oxford PD and NUSAR was deployed to rescue a flipped over kayaker from the water who had no PFD. He was clinging to debris and calling for help. He was brought back to Jackson Cove and refused treatment.
Publicity/ Public Awareness:
Lesley Pires reported that the Facebook material produced by Marine Patrol has had very positive feedback. Commissioners agreed that the Marine Patrol Coordinator Dan Semosky and Driver Terry Bogue may have access to the LZA account to interact on social media.
Water Quality / Grants Report:
Chairman Gary Fillion reported the channel under the I-84 bridge is now open, and it is still a no wake zone as construction continues on the east end of the bridge. The pre-treatment weed survey was performed on June 3, 2022 and will be made available for download on the LZA website. Curly leaf pondweed is the focus of treatment this year. Treatment is anticipated for the 23 or 24th of June, dependent on logistical coordination with FirstLight power. The surveyor noted there was cyanobacteria algae in the water in one area of the lake. The surveyor is contracted with CT DEEP to perform a microcystin monitoring program this year and will monitor Lake Zoar. This service will be in addition to other entities such as the Cyanobacteria Monitoring Program at Western Connecticut State University (should they participate again this season).
Boats and Motors Report:
Dick Speer reported that the motor in need of repair is four years old and the impellers have not been changed but need to be. All parts have been ordered and the motor will be restored.
Commissioner Barbara McWilliams reported that the life jackets awarded by The Sea-Tow Foundation grant will be available in August. However, she recommended spearheading a drive with the surrounding towns to collect donations of life jackets to help mitigate the supply issue. Right now there are about twenty life jackets in stock with marine patrol. Borrowers have not been returning a majority of the loaned out life jackets.
A motion to adjourn was made by Treasurer Bill May and seconded by Commissioner Frank Cavallo. The motion passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 8:33 pm.
The minutes are not considered official until approved at the next regular meeting of the Lake Zoar Authority to be held on July 11, 2022 at 7:00 pm at the Newtown Senior Center.