Ostrove honored as Candlewood Mountain 'champion'

The Housatonic Valley Association, which serves the Greater New Milford area and beyond, recently announced the recipient of its Montgomery Hare Environmental Champion Award.

The award was presented to New Milford resident Lisa Ostrove and Rescue Candlewood Mountain at HVA’s holiday gathering and annual meeting via Zoom.

“When the ill-conceived, industrial-sized Candlewood Solar project was proposed roughly 800 feet from Candlewood Lake, it threatened to pollute fragile ecosystems and denude more than 70 acres of core forest on the slopes of Candlewood Mountain,” said HVA Board President Anthony Zunino.

“Lisa Ostrove organized a grassroots effort called Rescue Candlewood Mountain that stood up to the proposal as it came before the Connecticut Siting Council and then continued what often felt like a David verses Goliath fight at each stage of the permitting process,” he explained.

“While the work to permanently protect Candlewood Mountain continues, Lisa Ostrove remains its strongest champion,” Zunino said.

Ostrove put together a team, managed by Liba Fuhrman, that included the Town of New Milford, HVA, Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy, Attorney Dan Casagrande, and several expert witnesses in including HVA’s Tim Abbott.

“I accept the award on behalf of everyone involved and give huge thanks to Lynn Werner, HVA executive director, Tim Abbott, regional conservation and greenprint director, and the HVA board for choosing to recognize the struggle of the participants dedicated to conservation,” Ostrove said.

Ostrove noted the efforts of team members Fuhrman, Catherine Rawson and Paul Elconin of the Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy, New Milford Mayor Pete Bass and the Town Council for its support and for hiring an engineering consultant, and gave “special thanks” to Attorney Dan Casagrande.

“We could not have done it without Tim Abbott’s testimony at the Connecticut Siting Council,” she said.

Last May, in recognition of the impact of this development on irreplaceable conservation resources which Rescue Candlewood Mountain helped to document, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection rejected the applicant’s storm water Management Plan under its general permit and required that any new plan be submitted under a stricter individual permit.

Last month, Massachusetts terminated its power purchase agreements with the developer for failure to satisfy critical milestones.

Founded in 1941, HVA is dedicated to protecting the entire Housatonic River Watershed. The watershed includes about 2,000 square miles of land stretching from western Massachusetts through western Connecticut and eastern New York to Long Island Sound.

For more information, visit www.hvatoday.org.