Local Lake Hopatcong Expert John Kurzman Updates us on Water Levels

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John Kurzman takes the Water Levels of Lake Hopatcong very seriously and we always enjoy his very scientific approach on what to expect after the 5-foot drawdown.

By: John Kurzman: As the data I presented showed, December provides the most inflows to the Lake of the whole year. It is terrific that it was the last half of the month rather than the first half this year, as the refill only started December 15th. 

Note that now the state will continue to be draining the lake at the rate of 3.6 inches worth of water per month throughout the winter, so inflows need to continue, and as the plan calls for, not go above the 6.5 level at the dam gauge until the Spring refill. 

Unlike the 22-inch guideline, we normally target, which would be 8 inches higher than that.  And of course, it’s great that the temperatures are warm enough to allow the lake to have risen, although I believe it’s terrific that they already did let the thick ice rise at the beginning of the refill period on December 15th despite their past threat to follow the plan, which would not have allowed that when ice was thick enough for ice fishing, etc. 

I'm not at the lake, but that's what people have told me they did all.  Allowing the ice to rise during the first 30 inches of recover was one of the conditions I was fighting for them to allow despite the plan saying otherwise, and I'm happy to hear that this was advice they may have followed, as they did five years ago as well. 

I'd just like to see the plan changed to reflect this, so it doesn't have to be a concern each five years when staffing and  people change, etc., as well as:

  • Changing the plan to reflect targeting 22 inches instead of 30 inches from the top for the target
  • Accelerating drawdown amounts per day to be tied to volume rather than the of lake (they slow the outflow at the later parts of the drawdown), so that people have as much work time in the Fall, but not have to do it during such cold times
  • Refill could start on 12/1 to help ensure successful recovery because of that without how long people have to work or when the drawdown starts or usable time on the lake current 5-year drawdown. 
  • Not drain the lake 12cfs (3.6 inches per month) during the winter, since that is the amount needed to keep the fish COOL enough during the summer months, but certainly not needed during the coldest times of winter, and could help us not have issues in the summer by reducing those outflows to about half that now, which would not deviate from past USGS statistics and actual F&W history and actual science which show that would be fine.

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