FirstLight Power’s annual drawdown of Candlewood Lake got a later start this year.
It was supposed to start on Dec. 1 but continued flooding in late December and beginning of January delayed it.
High water flows in the Housatonic River downstream of the Rocky River Pumped Hydro Station, particularly near downtown New Milford and below the Stevenson Dam in Monroe, required the company to store water in Candlewood Lake. This also prevented FirstLight from releasing additional water into the river and lowering the lakes level.
“Unfortunately mother nature hasn’t been overly cooperative this year with the drawdown, as we’ve had higher than average water flows in the Housatonic for this time of year,” said FirstLight spokesman Len Greene. “Any additional releases of water from the Candlewood drawdown would have exacerbated the situation downstream.”
FirstLight use the drawdowns to do maintenance work and inspections, but it can also be used to help kill the invasive Eurasian watermilfoil by exposing it to continued freezing temperatures.
“Coincidentally temperatures haven’t been consistently cold enough to impact milfoil growth anyway, so I don’t believe we’ve missed our opportunity to impact the weeds,” Greene said.
It will be a shallow drawdown this year, meaning the water level is lowered several feet from its normal operating level.
FirstLight will continue to draw the lake down to the targeted elevation of between 422 feet and 424 feet, but Greene said he didn’t have a specific date yet for when that lake would hit that level. The lake will eventually return to the recreational depth of 427 feet by opening day of fishing season on April 11.