By: Donna Macalle-Holly
Every five years, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection lowers the water level on New Jersey’s largest lake by 5 feet (60 inches) to allow lake-front homeowners and business owners to inspect and repair shoreline structures. This drawdown can also have some beneficial effects on aquatic weed control.
Since 2013, the Lake Hopatcong Foundation has been partnering with the Lake Hopatcong Commission to organize a Lake-Wide Community Cleanup in conjunction with the 5-foot drawdown. This quinquennial event provides a unique opportunity to make the lake healthier by removing accumulated litter from the exposed lakebed.
The impact of our collective efforts during the last Lake-Wide Community Cleanup in 2018 was nothing short of astounding. Over 400 volunteers removed more than 23,000 pounds of debris, including a staggering 800 tires from the lake. Now that's what we call a clean water initiative! You can read more about the history of these lake-wide cleanups HERE.
As we gear up for another 5-foot drawdown this fall, we're once again extending an invitation to you – our community – to join us in this clean-water endeavor. On Saturday, November 4, from 9 am to noon, we're seeking volunteers to help us scour for debris that has found its way into the lake over the years.
To clean as much of the 45 miles of shoreline as possible, dozens of access points will be established as a means of entry to the exposed lakebed. A map of current access points can be viewed below.
There are three ways to assist in this community effort.
The lake-wide cleanup is an excellent opportunity for community organizations, including local businesses, clubs, and scout troops, to get involved. Documentation can be provided for students looking to earn community service hours. The cleanup is not recommended for children under the age of 8 and individuals under the age of 17 must be accompanied by an adult.
For those eager to be a part of this endeavor, signing up is simple (registration is now closed). You can choose to volunteer or to be a team leader for each available location. If you are a lakefront homeowner or business owner interested in offering an access point, please reach out to our Grants and Programs Director, Donna Macalle-Holly, at email@example.com.
To coordinate the removal of all the debris from the lake, we, along with the Lake Hopatcong Commission, will be working hand in hand with Morris and Sussex Counties’ Clean Communities, each of the four towns around the lake (Hopatcong, Jefferson, Mt. Arlington, Roxbury), New Jersey State Police, Morris County Sheriff’s Office, Morris County Mosquito Control, Hopatcong State Park, and the Morris County Park Commission. It's truly a community-wide effort!
We are encouraging all participants to capture the spirit of the day by sharing your photos with us. Send your group photos and interesting finds to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll create a shareable photo album from the day, and for a fun twist, your submission might even be chosen for categories like "most fashionable find" or "scariest find." Who knows what might turn up that day!
All volunteers are invited to the Lake Hopatcong Foundation Environmental and Cultural Center, 125 Landing Road, Landing NJ, from Noon to 2:30 pm, to swap stories and enjoy cider and donuts. Our friends at billiecove.com will be there too and are raffling off a swag basket, as a thanks for volunteering!
So, mark your calendars for November 4th, rally your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers, and let's come together to make Lake Hopatcong cleaner and more beautiful than ever before. We can't wait to clean the lake!
If you have any questions or need more information, don't hesitate to reach out to us at 973-663-2500 or email@example.com.