Monday, July 20, 2015, 7 p.m.
Hopatcong Senior Center, Hopatcong
A summary of key items discussed by the Lake Hopatcong Commission at its monthly meeting:
- Dan Bello of the State Park Service reported that 875 cubic yards of weeds have been removed from the lake during the weed harvest program thus far this year. (An increase over the 836 cubic yards removed at the same time last year.) He said phase one of the program focused on River Styx and Crescent Cove as well as the area south of Bertrand Island, and went from June 8 to 30. He said they are currently in phase two, which focuses areas north of Bertrand Island, including Elba Point, Nolan’s Point, Van Every Cove, and Great Cove. They are still completing that phase, with a focus on Halsey and Raccoon Islands, East Shore Estates, Byram Bay, Henderson Cove, and other areas. Phase three will begin later this month, which will focus on the area north of Brady Bridge. Bello reported that the funding will likely take them through August 13 or 14 and then they will have to stop for the season, leaving enough funds to repair the machines and start in June of 2016 (the fiscal year ends June 30). Kerry Kirk Pflugh of the NJDEP said that the state budget was approved with $155,000 for the harvest operation, and that if the local municipalities and counties chip in they might be able to extend the harvest season.
- Commissioner Fred Steinbaum said he thought there needed to be more understanding among the broader Lake Hopatcong community regarding the importance of the weed harvest as well as the way it and chemical treatments play into the overall water quality. He and other commissioners suggested an increased effort to inform the community with lectures as well as encouraging residents to attend commission meetings and write to their legislators.
- Dr. Fred Lubnow of Princeton Hydro reported that he is working with Jefferson Township on the installation of 4 devices to retrofit Filterra systems into existing storm drains as part of the 319(h) federal grant. He said the floating wetland islands have been replanted and restabilized, and more netting has been added. He said he and Donna Macalle-Holly of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation would be conducting water quality testing on Tuesday, with the addition of testing six beaches for the presence of cyanotoxins, which are compounds generated by blue-green algae that can be dangerous for swimmers. In June, none were found.
- Water chestnuts were reported to have been found and removed from the same areas as the 2014 outbreaks: in the Jefferson Canals and near Liffy Island. The Water Scouts have been seeking out and removing instances of the plant when they are found.
- Dennis Moran of Landing asked whether the commission had ever considered the use of carp to help with weed control. Lubnow said that New Jersey will only allow the fish to be stocked in lakes and ponds that are 10 acres in size or less.
- Earl Riley of the Lake Musconetcong Regional Planning Board reported that Lake Musconetcong has gone from more than 100 acres of water chestnut in 2010-2011 to less than 10 acres today, through the use of harvesters and hand pulls, and he thanked the commission for the use of a harvester in the effort to eradicate the invasive species.
- Lake Hopatcong resident John Kurzman showed the commission a table which showed a large number of days with the outflow at the dam being less than 12 cfs (the current minimum) prior to 2009, and said that either 12 cfs is not required for the FW2TM (trout-classified) stream below the dam or it is not actually a FW2TM stream. Also on the subject of water level, Mt. Arlington resident Clayton Bridges said that the state is taking more water than the natural springs can replenish. “It just doesn’t make any sense to me,” Bridges said. “It’s an unconscionable contract, it’s a better deal than mother nature can provide.”
- Edie Vbresky of Mt. Arlington expressed an overall disappointment with the lack of a voice from the lake residents at the state level. “There is such a level of frustration for those of us who live on the lake,” she said.
- A concern from Mt. Arlington resident KerriAnn Mulligan was presented to the commission regarding the use of drones on Lake Hopatcong and issues with safety and privacy.
- The Citizens Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet on September 2 to discuss the current Water Level Management Plan.
The next meeting of the Lake Hopatcong Commission is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, August 17 at the Jefferson Township Municipal Building (1033 Weldon Road, Lake Hopatcong).