By: Lake Hopatcong Foundation
These are challenging times for everyone, but we hope you’re in good spirits and health. Though we have all had to adapt to new ways of doing things during this pandemic, what hasn’t changed is our unwavering dedication to fostering a vibrant and healthy Lake Hopatcong and its surrounding community. As things slowly begin to re-open, we would like to reflect on the past few months and share just some of what we have accomplished.
We have continued to assist with the selection of projects supported through the NJDEP harmful algal bloom (HAB) grant awarded to the Lake Hopatcong Commission in partnership with the Lake Hopatcong Foundation. The purpose of these projects is to evaluate innovative technologies to control, prevent, or mitigate HABs on Lake Hopatcong.
The first of the projects funded through the NJDEP HAB grant kicked off in Landing Channel with the largest Phoslock treatment in the Northeast! Princeton Hydro applied the clay-based nutrient inactivating technology in mid-June with the goal of limiting the growth of algae and therefore reducing the occurrence of HABs on Lake Hopatcong this summer.
We partnered with the Lake Hopatcong Commission and the Rutgers Cooperative Extension on a free rain garden and shoreline buffer workshop and rebate program for the Lake Hopatcong Watershed offering homeowners an opportunity to be part of the solution for a healthier lake.
We created and curated virtual lessons and content, aligned with the hands-on STEM-based activities from our annual educational field trips. This effort provided our 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.
With social distancing requirements in place, our Lake Stewards program was adjusted from making personal interactions at Lee’s County Park Marina to an increased campaign to spread the word about invasive aquatic hitchhikers and clean boating procedures through online messaging, print ads, and local signage.
We premiered our first-ever virtual concert with celebrated Hungarian pianist and Hopatcong resident Peter Toth on Facebook and YouTube. We were thrilled to share the arts and lift the spirit of our lake community by connecting in this way. If you haven’t had a chance to listen, you can still enjoy the concert HERE.
We continued our online campaign for B-SAFE (Blue Signs Are For Emergencies) dock numbers and completed a concentrated mailing to lakefront property owners about the program’s aim to help emergency personnel efficiently respond by land or water. Our efforts resulted in the placement of orders for 57 additional dock numbers, which will be delivered in July.
We developed the “Thirst for Knowledge” lunch-and-learn webinar series to share information and discuss topics of interest to our lake community. The series kickoff was an informational webinar on fighting aquatic invasive species and our Water Scouts program.
We converted our annual native plant sale to an online 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. It was our most successful sale to date!
We submitted applications to the New Jersey Historic Trust and Morris County for historic preservation funding to complete interior and site restoration projects at the Lake Hopatcong train station and to the New Jersey Historic Commission for a historical exhibit.
We are disappointed we will not be able to gather in person for our annual gala, but we have been hard at work organizing our first-ever virtual auction with a special online kick-off event and exciting “Set Sail Celebration” on the final evening, featuring local talent, surprise guests, raffle drawings, and more. There is no cost to join in the fun and we hope to “see” you there!
We continue to organize the Lake Hopatcong Block Party, which was rescheduled for October 10, and our annual Lake Loop, bike, run, paddle event, which is scheduled for October 11, creating an exciting weekend with multiple ways to bring the community together to enjoy and support New Jersey's largest lake. Two days... two great events... one great cause! (All planning is being done with COVID-19 restrictions in mind.)
In addition, we also continue to partner with local legislators, advocating to ensure Lake Hopatcong remains a priority, partner with the New Jersey State Police and the Morris County Sheriff’s office to add police shifts during key summer weekends, maintain the Lake Hopatcong Trail, enhance the native gardens at the Lake Hopatcong Foundation Environmental & Cultural Center, and have even completed a website update with an improved community calendar!
As you can see, we have been hard at work these past few months! Given the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19, we have opted to do minimal fundraising since early this year, to allow the focus to remain on the immediate needs of COVID-19 relief. Unfortunately, this has put us well behind in our budget and we need your support to continue our work of protecting the lake environment and enhancing the lake experience for all.
If you are able, please consider a donation today. While we are unable to all gather in person now, we can still come together in support of the lake we all love.
Here’s how you can help:
If you’re unable to donate at this time, there are other ways you can support us! Check out our current volunteer opportunities including activities that can be done safely while social distancing. You can also advocate for us by sharing our mission with a family member or friend. Even a quick mention on your social media would mean the world to us.
Stay safe and well,
All of us at the Lake Hopatcong Foundation