The Lake Hopatcong Foundation has a wide mission that involves a variety of facets of the Lake Hopatcong experience. But none of that will really matter if the health of the lake deteriorates. Because of that, we have a strong focus on maintaining and improving the lake environment.
Lake Hopatcong Guide Map
The Lake Hopatcong Foundation received a BOAT U.S. Foundation Grant in 2015 to create the LHF Guide Map, a guide to lakeside businesses and how to prevent aquatic hitchhikers. The map also indicates those marinas that have pump out stations available and important phone numbers. Copies of the map are free and have been distributed to local businesses and municipalities around the lake as well as the local Chambers of Commerce. If a business or other organization needs to replenish supplies of the LH Guide Map, stop by the LHF office to pick some up. Click here to download a PDF of the map.
The Lake Hopatcong Foundation has developed partnerships with four local universities and colleges (Montclair State University, Seton Hall University, Drew University, and the County College of Morris) to conduct short- and long-term studies of the lake environment.
The studies include a sediment sampling study by Montclair State University (made possible because of volunteers at the lake!), the development of the Lake Steward program by Seton Hall students, a comprehensive dock study by Drew University students, and a partnership with CCM to design the landscaping at the Lake Hopatcong Train Station.
Stormwater Management Project
Using money from a 319(h) grant awarded to the Lake Hopatcong Commission by the N.J. DEP (which was managed by the Lake Hopatcong Foundation), several floating wetland islands were installed in Ashley Cove in Jefferson Township. The plants on these islands pull phosphorus out of the water, thereby reducing the nutrients that aid aquatic plant growth in the lake. Read more about the effort here.
Water Quality Monitoring
The N.J. Department of Environmental Protection and the Lake Hopatcong Commission/Lake Hopatcong Regional Planning Board had conducted regular water quality monitoring of the lake, going back to the 1980s. That data is important for not only tracking the lake’s water quality, but also for bringing grant money to the lake for stormwater management and water quality improvement. The foundation will continue to ensure that that long-term water quality monitoring program is ongoing.
In-lake monitoring takes place during the growing season from May through September each year at eleven locations. In 2006, supplemental monitoring began near shore at in-lake sampling stations to assess the water quality benefits associated with the stormwater structures that would be installed as part of 319(h) grants awarded by the N.J. DEP. In 2010, three additional in-lake stations were added to assess the water quality improvements associated with additional grant projects.
You can download documents related to the water quality monitoring effort:
Lake Clean-Up Efforts
The Lake Hopatcong Foundation has regularly held events that help remove debris and trash from the lake’s waters. In 2016, the foundation began participating in Roxbury Township’s Adopt-A-Road program to clean a section of Mount Arlington Boulevard from the town border into Silver Springs.
The biggest of these was the Lake Hopatcong Foundation Fall Cleanup on November 9, 2013. More than 400 volunteers accessed the lake from 39 different entry points to remove debris from the exposed shoreline (per the five-year 60-inch drawdown), removing more than 23,000 pounds of trash from the lake bed. The Departments of Public Works in Hopatcong, Jefferson, Mt. Arlington, and Roxbury all helped remove the piles of debris, and the Morris and Sussex Clean Communities programs donated the gloves and bags for removal. It was a massive cooperative effort, and groups all around the lake (and beyond!) deserve our heartfelt thanks for making it such a successful event. (For more details about the cleanup, including a tally of items removed from the lake, click here.)
The Water Scouts were first organized by the Knee Deep Club in 2010 to seek out and remove any instances of the invasive water chestnut species. In 2013, the Lake Hopatcong Foundation took over management of this team of volunteers, each of whom has a designated area of the lake to monitor by kayak or canoe. The effort included a classroom and on-the-water refresher session in learning about all of the aquatic plants of Lake Hopatcong, particularly the water chestnut.
The first instance of the water chestnut was discovered in Landing Channel in 2010, and none of the plants were found again until the summer of 2014, when two outbreaks were discovered: a small one in the Jefferson Canals and a much larger one of at least 150 plants near Liffy Island. The LHF regularly monitored and removed these plants and with the support of the State Police closed off the area for several weeks during the summer to prevent spreading of the seeds. Water Chestnut plants continue to be identified and hand-pulled from the Jefferson Canals and Liffy Island by LHF Staff and Water Scouts. We remain vigilant in those areas and throughout the lake.
Watershed Report Card
Through a grant from the Watershed Institute, the Lake Hopatcong Foundation working in cooperation with the Musconetcong Watershed Association, with assistance from Princeton Hydro, the lake’s environmental consultant, developed a “Watershed Report Card” for Lake Hopatcong and the Musconetcong River.