Since December 15th Lake Hopatcong has risen by two-feet to reach the level of six-feet as measured at the dam. This will leave just three more feet to go before we reach the ideal nine-foot level in time for the boating season.
With the last two heavy spots of rain, Lake Hopatcong jumped up two-feet in water level, which is an early victory for the lake. The question is will the precipitation continue at a rate that will bring the lake up another three-feet before the start of the boating season.
In checking the long-range forecast, we are expecting temperatures in the mid 30’s to the mid-’40s throughout the rest of the winter, which means no ice build-up and whatever rain we gain goes right into the lake and helps with the refilling process. While this may not be good news for the Knee Deep Club and the ice fishing contests on Lake Hopatcong, these higher than normal temperatures will help with the lake refilling.
According to John Kurzman and his Warning on the Drawdown:
“So although the annual plans only used to draw down 26 inches, and most recently the plan has been to draw down 22 inches, the 5-foot drawdown will only attempt to refill the lake to 30 inches from dam top, and then stop! In other words, we are guaranteed to be 4 inches worse than we've been for 10+ years of drawdowns to 26 inches, and 8 inches worse than recent years. Remember, we now do 22-inch drawdowns because there is concern that it is tough to expect a refill of more than 22 inches in the springtime, even 26 inches of refill has been too much to expect, but next year, we would require 30 inches!” Stated John Kurzman
Risking the value of the Lake to the Community
Lake Hopatcong provides a robust asset to all four communities (Hopatcong, Jefferson, Mount Arlington, and Roxbury) as it helps to drive a fishing and boating industry this is second to none in the State of New Jersey. As such a valuable asset to the Residents and Towns. The five-foot drawdown has always been controversial as to the risk of low water levels in the spring, and a possible unusable lake for 2019.
Local Businesses such as Ray Fernandez, owner of Bridge Marina has always been very vocal in his questioning of the need for a five-foot drawdown.
“I believe that the steps that NJDEP has taken on the 22-inch drawdown may remain a standard for future winter drawdown’s, and more importantly we should discontinue the 60-inch drawdown as it only benefits a few property owner’s construction costs but creates tremendous risk for the overall health of the community and recreational use of the lake”
“Only through these types of efforts are we able to ensure that we have the body of water that makes the lake… Lake Hopatcong"
Rain, not Snow will Tell the Story
With the temperatures expected in the mid 30’s to the mid 40’s for the rest of the winter this means that the rainfall over the next several months will need to raise the lake level by three additional feet to make sure that Lake Hopatcong continues to add to the financial benefit of everyone that lives with the region.
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