Lake Hopatcong Commission – Accident Investigation - Harvesting for 2021 - Block Party Moved to Fall 2021

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The following is the standard monthly meeting of the Lake Hopatcong Commission (LHC) meeting that was held by Zoom technology on November 9, 2020.

The Investigation into Fatal Accident Continues:

The investigation into the accident of the Weed Harvester and unfortunate death of the operator continues with no news as to the actual cause of why the Harvester turned over in Crescent Cove on June 24, 2020.

The Harvester continues to sit outdoors with orders that it cannot be moved until the investigation is complete. If this continues through the winter-time the engine block will most likely crack and need to be replaced by the LHC.

Weed Harvesting in the 2021 Season:

Minor Weed Harvesting was done at the end of the season using a 3rd party utilizing one small harvester that cleared a small area as a pilot project in case 3rd party weed harvesting needs to be done in the future.

The LHC is in the process of working with the DEP on the hiring of a diesel mechanic that will be working on the remaining Harvesters in anticipation of the opening of the 2021 season, which at this time appears to assume the ability to move forward with a normal schedule as prior years.

This this time the LHC is preparing for a full season of harvesting in 2021.

Commissioner Updates:

  • Mayor Michael Stanzilis started a Green Infrastructure Committee to explore DEP requirements for Mount Arlington in 2021
  • Jefferson got a $100,000 Grant for Highlands Council on the implementation of Sewers for Jefferson
  • Land Use Board community with the LHC continues to work with the four towns on areas that affect the lake or the watershed
  • The Lake Hopatcong Commission will be looking into the cost of buying insurance for the Boston Whaler, in case it needs to be put into the water

Lake Hopatcong Foundation (LHF) Update:

  • The LHF continues to be an advocate with State Politicians to further the cause for Lake Hopatcong
  • The Block Party for 2021 is already being moved from the Spring to the Fall, so hopefully, the next Block Party will be in the Fall of 2021
  • With so many people using the trails, like Liffy Island, the LHF is looking into featuring different trails each week
  • Hopatcong just got approval for Hudson Ave. Sewers, which sets a good representation to Jefferson on what can be done.

Princeton Hydro Update:

  • The Lake Hopatcong Watershed implementation plan is complete and will be sent to the LHC and the NJ Highlands Council. This will be the plan that we will be using for watershed and stormwater projects moving forward
  • This brief period of warmer weather has caused some of the Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) to surface once again, with the expected rain and colder weather coming they should diminish quickly
  • Princeton Hydro continues to investigate Waldon’s Quarry and the necessary dredging needed at the north end of the lake
  • Mount Arlington was awarded their Beach Restoration Plan Grant in October by the New Jersey Highlands Council
  • Two of the three aeration systems are expected to be installed before the end of the year, and ready for 2021
  • The installed Biochar filters installed along creeks is removing 80-90% of phosphorus when fully submerged in water as it is in Memorial Pond and Duck Pond.  In the river’s and streams they are seeing 50% removal.  Fred L. suggested that in the spring we may move the biochar that is currently positioned in the streams to the inlets just below the streams so it will be fully submerged and have a higher removal capacity.

DEP Update:

  • DEP In1 11 09 2020Posted job listing so three individuals will be working on the Harvesters over the winter
  • Lake Hopatcong lake level lowering will start next week
  • DEP explained the 2021 budget draft, table, and explanations
  • In 2020 The LHC was charged by the DEP the same cost as if the harvest had happened, without some costs like fuel, disposal, and some other minor costs
  • The LHC felt the budget lacked the full details but authorized $255,000 towards the Budget. The Motion Passed, but the DEP will have to deduct it automatically from ONLY future payments

Added during the meeting was Lake Level Proposals by Dr. Fred Steinbaum

Difference in Lake Drawdown

Fred Steinbaum November 2020 - Presentation

“The yearly drawdown should be reduced from 22-inches to 18-inches to protect docks. That would be 7 feet 6 inches at the dam or 7.5 feet instead of 7.17 feet during the winter. The drawdown could be started later on November 21“instead of the current November 17th and be completed by December 15th thus extending the boating season. THAT WOULD SAVE AN ADDITIONAL FOUR INCHES OF WATER.

The 60-inch drawdown should be continued for major repairs and construction but be quicker at 1.75 inches a day instead of 1.5 inches to allow completion by October 25th (Drawdown September 22nd to October 25”*). The refill would begin December 1“instead of December 15w allowing dock work to be done in better weather and ALLOWING TWO EXTRA WEEKS FOR REFILL The lake would be allowed to refill to 7.5 feet over the winter.”


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