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Lake Zoar

Coordinates: 41°23′18″N 73°10′39″W / 41.38833°N 73.17750°W / 41.38833; -73.17750

Lake Zoar is a reservoir on the Housatonic River in the U.S. state of Connecticut. It is formed by Stevenson Dam. The towns of Monroe, Newtown, Oxford, and Southbury border Lake Zoar.[1]

Lake Zoar Authority

The Lake Zoar Authority (LZA) is an organization for promoting safety on the lake and improving water quality. The members represent the four towns bordering the lake and meet on a monthly basis. Authority is granted through the Connecticut General Statutes, section 7-151a (of the 1969 supplement).[2]

Notable events

  • September 7, 2005: A 37 year old man named Frank Northrop died while water-skiing on the lake.[3]
  • November 1986: Richard Crafts murdered his wife Helle Crafts in Newtown, froze the body, cut it up with a chainsaw and finally put it through a woodchipper from a bridge into the lake.[4]

Recreation

Boating

There is a speed limit of 45 mph (72 km/h) limit daytime, 25 mph (40 km/h) from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise. Vessels are prohibited from approaching within 300 feet (91 m) on upstream side or 700 feet (210 m) on downstream side of Stevenson Dam.[5] Activities including fishing, water-skiing and jet skiing are permitted.

Access

Each of the towns has a public access boat launch. The Southbury location is maintained by the state of Connecticut and is open to non-town residents. Additionally, there is canoe access from Kettletown State Park.

  • Monroe, Zoar Beach Boat Ramp.[6]
  • Newtown, Eichler's Cove.[7]
  • Oxford, Jackson Cove Park.[8]
  • Southbury, at the end of Scout Road.[9]

Fishing

Lake Zoar is stocked yearly with fish by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.

Fish species

The lake contains the desirable Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, White Perch, Yellow Perch, Calico Bass (Black Crappie), White Catfish (Ictalurus catus), Brown Bullhead, Rainbow Trout, and the Common Carp. Sunfish, and Northern Pike are also encountered.

PCBs and fish consumption

Most fish from Lake Zoar are generally considered safe to eat in moderation, with the exception of the Northern Pike. In a 2008 study by the United States Department of Health and Human Services Smallmouth Bass varied between 0.35 and 0.58 ppm, suitable for one meal per month. PCB levels in the lake have fallen considerably since the 1980s.[10]

Invasive plant species

Four invasive species exist in the lake as of a 2007 study, including Eurasian watermilfoil, Brittle waternymph, Curly leaf pondweed, and European waterclover.[11]

Hiking

The Zoar Trail is a 6.5-mile (10.5 km) Blue-Blazed Trail in Newtown maintained by the Connecticut Forest and Park Association.

References

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