Lake Hopatcong Commission – Fighting hard to start alternative Weed Harvesting – Late August at the Earliest

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During a special meeting of the Lake Hopatcong Commission on August 3, 2020, the commission moved forward to start the process of finding and hiring alternative weed harvesters. The plan will include creating a Scope of Work, Request for bid (pricing), and 10 days of advertisement in a newspaper.

The creation and execution of the above is expected to be completed by the 3rd week of August, which then would define how quickly the replacement harvesters will be on the lake. The commission discussed the lateness of the date, and the ability to make an effect on the lake.

 

Commissioners stated the following reasons why the Harvesting should still occur:

  • Anything that can be removed (plant life) from the lake would be helpful for next year
  • Boating will most likely continue late into the fall this year

The commission has found at least two vendors that have available harvesters and are willing to bid at a daily rate. But the commission cautions that the number of harvesters will be less than in past years. The program once underway is expected to run for 6 – 8 weeks.

The DEP is willing to allow the Hopatcong Lake Commission to use the current trucks, which will help reduce the pricing.

Funding Update

During his visit on July 16th the Commission requested support from Governor Murphy’s office on two funding issues, the status of our fiscal year 2021 statutory funding and disbursement of our HAB grant award advanced payment. Since then, the Governor’s office has helped the Commission address these issues by contacting NJDEP and Treasury on behalf of the Commission.

Last week we were informed that we will receive our FY2021 first quarter statutory funds of $125,000 at the beginning of August and we also received our HAB grant agreement and advanced payment. The funds from the HAB grant can only be used to continue work on our important HAB projects including replacement of filter media in stormwater infrastructure, aeration systems at three locations in the lake, rebuilding of freshwater wetland islands, as well as several other treatments in the lake. The Commission will meet next week to discuss whether we can contract weed harvesting services to address critical areas of the lake before the end of the season. Many factors impact this decision including the availability of contractors with the necessary equipment and the cost magnitude of such an effort. We are appreciative of the efforts of Governor Phil Murphy’s Office for listening to our issues and ensuring our funds were released as well as NJDEP for expediting our request for advance payment towards the HAB grant projects.

 Watch this article for further updates on 08/04/2020 with more information from the rest of the meeting.

 


 

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