The year 2020 has been difficult for so many businesses and organizations, and for those that adapted to the challenges the cloud had a silver lining. That seems to be the case with the Lake Hopatcong Foundation who posted another record year regardless of the circumstances.
Message from the Lake Hopatcong Foundation:
As we close the book on a challenging year and look forward to 2021, we’d like to reflect on all we’ve been able to accomplish, together, despite those challenges. Even amid a pandemic, our advocacy for the lake never faltered, our partnered HAB mitigation projects were implemented on schedule, our public safety programs grew, and, when our community couldn’t come to us, we were able to bring many of our initiatives online and to our community.
We were able to do this work because of the unfailing support of our LHF family of donors, partners, and volunteers. Thank you! These are your accomplishments as much as they are ours, so give yourselves a pat on the back.
- Instrumental in bringing the Governor back to Lake Hopatcong for the second time in under a year to meet with the four mayors of the lake’s surrounding towns, while also bringing multiple federal, state, and county elected officials together to discuss lake issues, resulting in the lake receiving additional aid and being eligible for new grant opportunities.
- Participated with the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed (CDRW) to establish 2021 priorities for statewide advocacy efforts to bring attention and potential funding to New Jersey lakes and HABs mitigation projects.
- Teamed with Lake Hopatcong Commission to bring over $1.3M in funding to the lake to combat harmful algal blooms (HABs).
- Assisted with a selection of projects to evaluate innovative technologies to control, prevent, or mitigate HABs on Lake Hopatcong supported through the NJDEP HAB grant awarded to the Lake Hopatcong Commission in partnership with the Lake Hopatcong Foundation.
- Facilitated a collaborative body, represented by other NJ lake groups and lake professionals, whose unified recommendations on harmful algal bloom (HAB) responses helped to shape a new tiered warning system for HABs in New Jersey. This effort has now grown into an organization of New Jersey public lakes, working and advocating for our lakes.
- Helped prevent the spread of harmful invasive species at the lake, thanks to the efforts of our 26 volunteer Water Scouts. In three different locations, Scouts hand-pulled 154 water chestnut rosettes. One acre of water chestnut can produce enough seeds to cover 100 acres the following year!
- Spread the word on clean boating procedures and how to stop aquatic invasive hitchhikers through a campaign of online messaging, print ads, and local signage in order to help protect the Lake Hopatcong ecosystem.
- Provided an online native plant sale with curbside pickup in order to safely provide native plants to our community and continue to spread the word on their benefits for the health of Lake Hopatcong, our watershed, and the planet.
- Removed more than 30 bags of litter from within our watershed with our adopt-a-spot cleanup and healthy lake, healthy community cleanup.
- Created and curated virtual lessons and content, aligned with the hands-on STEM-based activities from our annual educational field trips. This effort provided important lessons on water ecology to the nearly 1500 students from 24 schools who were unable to attend the field trips due to school closings from COVID-19.
- Developed the “Thirst for Knowledge” lunch-and-learn webinar series to share information and discuss topics of interest to our lake community. The wide range of topics included invasive species control, Lake Hopatcong water quality monitoring results and HAB mitigation updates, lake ecology, the eagles of Lake Hopatcong, historical talks, and more. Replays of the webinars can be viewed HERE.
- Continued the mayors roundtable, bringing greater cooperation among the lake’s four municipalities by providing opportunities to discuss ways to collectively support the lake.
- Received grants from the New Jersey Historic Trust and Morris County Historic Preservation Trust Fund to complete interior and site restoration projects at the Lake Hopatcong Station.
- Expanded our B-SAFE Dock Numbering Program to 42% lakefront coverage, helping emergency personnel to efficiently respond by land or water.
- Funded additional police patrols through our partnership with the New Jersey State Police and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, providing protection at times when there would otherwise be no coverage.
ARTS & CULTURE
- Hosted the Smithsonian poster exhibition, Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence, at the Lake Hopatcong Foundation Environmental & Cultural Center. The exhibit was free and open to the public and celebrated the centennial of women’s suffrage in the United States.
- Premiered our first-ever virtual concert with celebrated Hungarian pianist and Hopatcong resident Peter Toth to share the arts and lift the spirit of our lake community during the early stages of the pandemic.
- Partnered with the Musconetcong Watershed Association to create a system of water trails through the Musconetcong Watershed, which was recently designated as part of the National Trails System by the National Parks Service.
- Maintained more than 12 miles of the Lake Hopatcong Trail with the assistance of 18 volunteer trail maintainers.
- Brought the community together in support of a healthy lake and a healthy community with our reimagined Virtual Lake Loop Challenge. With 25 teams, 195 participants, and 250 donors, we racked up 2,054 hours of activity while raising $60,000 to support our lake!
We’d like to also say “Thank you!” to those who made a year-end gift to the Lake Hopatcong Foundation. Your donation is a declaration that this work is important and should continue. If you have already made a generous donation of time, talent, or treasure this year, consider forwarding this list to a fellow lake-lover who would benefit from learning more about what we do, and what we are able to accomplish with their help.
We thank you and look forward to advancing the mission of protecting the environment and enhancing the experience on New Jersey’s largest lake in 2021 – and beyond!
About the Lake Hopatcong Foundation:
The Lake Hopatcong Foundation dedicates itself to protecting the lake environment and enhancing the lake experience, bringing together public and private resources to encourage a culture of sustainability and stewardship on and around New Jersey’s largest lake, for this and future generations.
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