Great News: Lake Hopatcong Completes Refill – Let the Summer Begin!

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Lake Hopatcong has now reached what is called FULL POOL which means that the gauge at the Dam now shows nine-feet in water Height.

While continued rain (not on weekends please) is required to keep the lake full and continue to supply water into the Musconetcong River, we have now recovered from the five-foot drawdown.

Ray Fernandez, owner of Bridge Marina:

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"

In a Recent comment, John Kurzman Stated:

It certainly was fortunate that the DEP seemed to hear our pleas to not follow the Lake Management Plan regarding the 5 foot drawdown, and implement our requests to allow ice to rise as well as to go all the way to the 22 inch level rather than the lower level as written in the plan, as well as one of the wettest Decembers in recorded history. (and as I've noted before, 5 foot drawdown, when allowed to refill while ignoring ice actually is not that risky especially if you start refill on December 1 or the rest of December is especially wet, but DEP was not agreeing to that ice rise, until they thankfully did it).

But the reason for the 8cfs is NOT related to an increase in lake level as one would suppose, but as part of the trial changes being made to the Lake Management Plan subsequent to the October 2016 public discussion, Modification 2 provides for reduced outflow "From ice out until April 30, provided stream flows are at or above median levels. Provided there are minimal impacts to downstream resources".

That's the good news. The bad news is that many people did not realize that this reduction in outflow when ABOVE median outflow levels was to REPLACE the emergency outflow reduction levels we used to get when we NEEDED to reduce outflow due to dry times! Publication of comments and responses to comments from those recommendations still have not been published, but my annotated version of the presentation regarding the modifications is at https://www.dropbox.com/s/1d7bu6nqrnekrr0/dep-refill-phase-proposal-slides-jk-annotated.pdf?dl=0 and there were many emails sent to the DEP protesting that part of the change (but the email address for request for comments was incorrect and undeliverable, as also noted in my annotated version of their presentation).

What's important is that they now document their ice rise which again (like 5 years ago) was not reported as causing damage, change the plan to indicate raising to 22 inches target which they implemented, document the 8.2cfs when stream flow generally allows it anyway, but NOT take away reductions in flow that the lake had when necessary, or again, in dry times, the lake will not refill, even worse than in years past which had that emergency provision.

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