The following provides the highlights of the December 7, 2020, meeting of the Lake Hopatcong Commission (LHC) that was held by Zoom. We encourage our readers to watch the full video for more details. During this meeting the Commission made significant progress across mutiple areas for Lake Hopatcong.
What you Need to Know:
- Overall the Commission continued to make progress on Grants, HAM Control, Watershed projects and Weed Harvesting
- The LHC is still looking for a weed harvesting solution that does not involve the DEP as they may not be ready in time for this year’s start date.
- The LHC passed the budget to develop new tools for the Land Use Boards to better understand the impact of their decisions
- Budget proposals for 2021/2022 have passed as seen below.
- Important Dates:
- The NJ DEP will be having a HAB Conference in February.
- Hudson Farm Walk for Hopatcong is scheduled for May 15, 2021
- The LHF Native Plant Sale is scheduled for May 22, 2021
- The LHF hike is scheduled for June 6, 2021
- The Antique Boat Show is scheduled for June 19, 2021
- Lake Hopatcong Fireworks is scheduled for July 4, 2021
- The Block Party is scheduled for October 2, 2021
- Important Dates:
Half of the bills presented at the meeting were grant-related and the LHC was only responsible for a small portion of the bills. $310.000+ in the Bank at this point of the year.
The budget committee has proposed a new accounting practice that breaks up the budget into three different categories (Grants, General and Capital), which may be handled through an online banking system.
The budget for 2021 and 2022 years (on the right) was reviewed and was passed by the commission. The proposal included a slight reduction of the Weed Harvesting budget in 2022 to help balance the budget. The budget was approved by the commission during the meeting.
Lake Hopatcong Foundation (LHF) Report:
- The LHF has a meeting with the DEP on 01/12/2021 regarding the Hopatcong State Park that will focus on the Rain Garden Restoration, pending sewer project for the park, and a proposed dock for the Floating Classroom.
- In 2021 the LHF will have the Floating Classroom in the water and providing virtual classes for the students, to ensure they don’t miss out on the experience.
- The LHF will be producing a brochure on the Water Trails for Lake Hopatcong kayakers as to where to rent and recommended water trails around the lake.
- Important upcoming lake-related events are mentioned in the above section.
Princeton Hydro Update:
- The 2020 Water Quality report has been submitted to the Commission that shows the climate change with an impact on brown trout.
- Last year they saw higher concentrations of algae in the Mid-Lake Region, which means that it is being created near-shore and migrating to the middle of the lake.
- Last year without the Weed Harvesting it may have left 200+ pounds of phosphate in the lake last year, which indicates how important the harvesting is to the overall health of the lake.
- Princeton also indicated that they have taken water samples from the Crescent Cove area during the aeration project that shows better oxygen within the water column and a reduction of plant biomass.
- Additionally, the Sewer project within Hopatcong and control of the watershed will lead to additional future benefits for the lake.
DEP/State Park Update:
- The Harvester involved in the accident has been moved inside, and the oil drained to help protect the engine.
- Work is continuing on the other harvesters in the meantime to ensure they are ready for 2021.
- Sewers will start this week on the Hopatcong State Park, pending final permits.
- DEP can not give an estimation on when they could be on the water with Harvesters, so the LHC is looking at external companies.
Land Use Committee:
- The Land Use Committee on the LHC proposed that Princeton Hydro develop a report that helps quantify by square feet incremental changes to watershed that Land Use Boards can add to their decisions to propose changes. The report would cost $16,500 and covers the four following tasks:
- Task 1 - Compile Environmental Information on the importance of green infrastructure to Lake Hopatcong
- Task 2 - Compile Engineering Examples of Green Infrastructure Applications Relevant to the Lake Hopatcong Community for incorporation in Land Development Ordinances and Stormwater Management Plans
- Task 3 - Preparation of Green Infrastructure Document to support coordinated stormwater ordinance updating
- Task 4 - Guidance on Stormwater Ordinance Update
- The addition of this information will help the commission in the protection of the watershed.
- Hopatcong Lake Resident asked that the commission and members of the Land-Use Boards carry forward the finding of the Land Use Committee report when complete.
Other Notes from the Meeting:
- Commissioner Fred Steinbaum, D.O. brought to the commission’s attention two articles, the first dealing with tires being in the waterway (used as boat bumpers), the second regarding the DEP getting an increase in budget in 2021.
- The Lake Level proposal from the last meeting to recommend a change from 22” to 18” did not pass, so the only change that remained is the 60” drawdown is complete by October 25.
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