Lake Hopatcong Commission – Proposes Changes in Drawdowns on Lake Hopatcong

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During the December 7, 2020 meeting of the Lake Hopatcong Commission (LHC), Commissioner Fred Steinbaum, D.O. recommended the following changes to the Drawdowns that occur on Lake Hopatcong.

As stated by Commissioner Fred Steinbaum “The goal is to keep more water in the lake to help protect areas of drought which would have a profound change on tourism and usage of the lake. My proposal is a compromise between homeowners and local business.”

What you Need to Know:

  • LHC Approved Recommendation of changing drawdowns from 22" to 18" on Standard years
  • LHC Approved Recommendation of starting 5-Year arawdowns earlier and being finished by October 25

Proposed Changes:

Current Model:


Drawdown in Inches

Standard Years:




Drawdown Timeframe: Runs normally from Nov - Mar

Proposed Model:


Drawdown in Inches

Standard Years:




Drawdown Timeframe: Complete Drawdown by October 25, with Earlier Refill

Healthy Debate within the LHC

As the attached video indicates, the LHC held a healthy debate on the Pros and Cons of implementing these changes and what effect they would have on the homeowners and damaging ice build-ups. The following is a brief review of their comments.


  • Keeps more water in the lake in case of drought conditions
  • Allows homeowners to work in warmer weather during the 5-year drawdowns
  • Reduces the possibility of Lawsuits by businesses and occurred several years ago


  • The risk that 18” is not enough to stop Ice buildup (Ice Creep) damage on docks
  • May not allow for heavy spring rains
  • Does not allow homeowners to work on docks during Holiday breaks
  • The higher level of water will allow more weed growth

Final Decision:

Based upon a suggestion from Commissioner Bradley Hoferkamp, the vote was split by Standard and 5-Year drawdowns.

  • 5-Year Drawdown: The Proposal passed with two commissioners abstaining

  • Standard Year Drawdown: The proposal passed with four yes votes, two no votes, and the rest abstaining. This means that the recommendation from the LHC will be sent to the CAC and DEP for their consideration.

It is important to understand that this is only a recommendation by the LHC and not passed at this point.


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