Ashford Lake Environment
Inland Wetlands and Watercourses / Zoning
While tending lawns and gardens, use fertilizers and pesticides judiciously. Surface runoff will inevitably wash fertilizers into the lake, promoting aquatic plant growth and accelerating the natural process of eutrophication. Preserve as much riparian (shoreline) and upland vegetation as possible. Thirsty root systems control erosion and prevent pollutants from reaching the lake.
Also be advised that if undertaking a regulated activity either along the waterfront or in an upland area, you should consult the appropriate town’s wetlands agent and, if required, obtain the necessary permit. Conducting a regulated activity without approval from the municipal inland wetlands agency or violating a condition of approval in a permit could result in fines or costly delays.
For information regarding wetlands and/or zoning, please click on the link to the appropriate town’s website under Useful Information. Navigate to the links for Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission or Planning and Zoning Commission for relevant information and regulations regarding any land disturbing activities or construction projects.
Eastford: Land Use Secretary, Susan Welshman, 860-974-2068 ext. 9,
Ashford: Inland Wetlands Officer, Bruce Fitzpatrick, 860-487-4414,
Acting Zoning Enforcement Agent, Michael D'Amato, 860-487-4404,
Water Testing and Water Quality
Water at the association beaches will be tested in mid- July and mid-August. We have followed this procedure for the past several years and the water at the beaches has always been well within the recommended safe level for bacteria established by the Connecticut Departments of Health and Environmental Protection. Although this routine testing program established by the Board is a single, limited indicator of overall water quality, the cumulative test data, together with other evidence and observation, suggest that the water quality at Ashford Lake is excellent.
Septic System Maintenance
Faulty subsurface sewage systems are the main source of groundwater contamination, affecting both wells and, in our case, lake water quality. Periodic pumping of the septic tank is critical to system maintenance. It is recommended that a 1000-gallon tank serving a typical four-person household be pumped every one to three years. Please keep up-to-date on septic system maintenance.
Canada geese are both a nuisance to property owners and a threat to public health and water quality. The geese have returned to the lake in varying numbers this spring and members of the Environment Committee have been monitoring their movements. The geese seek out nesting areas in early spring where there is ample open water and adjacent areas of thick brush for nesting. Ashford Lake provides a very desirable habitat, particularly along the west shoreline. Canada geese are extremely adaptable and tolerant, and because there are so few people around in the spring, it is difficult to harass them sufficiently to discourage nesting.
We request that property owners who observe Canada geese nesting on their property notify the Board of Directors immediately so that we can take all measures within our authority to manage their numbers and reduce their impact on the lake.
For information on Canada geese and other wildlife found in our area, check the Connecticut DEEP Website at www.ct.gov/deep. Select “wildlife” from the Natural Resources menu and choose “Fact Sheets” from the Quick Links. NEVER feed geese or ducks!
Protect Ashford Lake from invasive aquatic plants. While Ashford Lake does have an abundance of aquatic vegetation, a survey by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in 2006 observed only native species among submersed and floating plants. Once introduced, most invasive aquatic plants are virtually impossible to eradicate and very costly to control. They are the greatest threat to water quality, property values, and quality of life in lake communities. While they can be introduced through natural means, they are usually carried on boats, trailers and motors. Residents who use their watercraft on other freshwater lakes or ponds should wash and inspect them thoroughly before returning them to Ashford Lake. Residents should also inspect their guests’ canoes and kayaks before putting them in the lake. Bringing trailered boats from off-site is prohibited.
Please stay informed about environmental matters, and if you observe anything new, different or out of the ordinary in the environment, notify the Board of Directors immediately. Prevention and early detection are the most effective ways to combat threats to the environment.
This link to Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station Invasive Aquatic Plant Program (CAES / IAPP) contains information on identifying invasive aquatic plants, Ashford Lake survey results from 2006 & 2013 and links to additional information.
Ice Fishing on Ashford Lake
Although Ashford Lake is a private lake, fishing on the lake is still regulated by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. Anyone planning to ice fish on Ashford Lake should be familiar with the DEP rules and regulations that govern the activity.
Ice fishing requires a valid Connecticut fishing license for all persons over the age of sixteen. Because licenses expire on the last day of the year, ice fishing after January 1 requires a new 2020 license. Ice fishing without a license or without a license in one’s possession carries a fine.
Connecticut ice fishing regulations limit a fisherman to no more than 6 tip-ups, hand held rods or a combination of the two at any one time. Fishermen under sixteen (who require no license) are limited to 2 tip-ups or rods. A tip-up may be fitted with no more than 3 baited hooks or lures. Tip-ups may not be set out and left unattended.
There are also rules regarding the size and numbers of fish that may be taken. For species common to Ashford Lake, largemouth bass and chain pickerel must be 12 inches and 15 inches respectively. The daily creel limit for both is 6. There are no limits for panfish, including yellow perch and black crappies. Violations of bag and size limits or illegal methods of take are subject to fine.
If you are planning to do any ice fishing this winter, please adhere to all DEP rules and regulations. Most of all, place safety first. Make sure that ice thickness is sufficient before going fishing. Stay safe and stay warm.
Source: Connecticut Angler’s Guide