Recap of Lake Hopatcong Commission Meeting
Monday, November 17, 2014, 7 p.m.
Mt. Arlington Borough Hall
- The annual 26-inch drawdown is scheduled to begin on approximately November 26 or November 27 (depending on rainfall), dropping about 3/4″ per day until it reaches the 6.83-foot mark at the dam. At that pace, it is likely to take about 2 weeks to drop, according to the report from Dan Bello of the N.J. DEP Division of Parks and Forestry.
- All weed harvest equipment has been transferred to the winter storage facility in Franklin after being industrial-grade steam cleaned. Bello reported that the park feels it has enough money in the budget for the equipment to be repaired and ready for the 2015 season. Based on where the staff stands, Bello said he expected the equipment to be about two months ahead of where they were in 2014.
- Several members of the commission and members of the public brought up concerns following the passage of ballot question No. 2, which set aside money for open space preservation that until fiscal year 2015 had been allocated to a variety of other DEP water quality projects, including the Lake Hopatcong Weed Harvest. (There is money in the budget for the harvest to take place until the end of the 2014 fiscal year on June 30.) Commissioner Anne Pravs asked what the commission should be doing now to ensure a robust weed harvest in 2015 that extends beyond July 1, and suggested that the four towns pass resolutions urging the state the fund the harvest. Commission chairman Russ Felter said that he would continue meeting with local legislators and put pressure on the DEP to secure the money to fund the harvest. Hopatcong resident Barbara Loring said she was frustrated that word about the weed harvest funding being pulled did not make it out to the community until very shortly before the election, and that most people didn’t realize what they were voting for. Jefferson resident John Kurzman said the ballot question was the most deceiving piece of legislation he had ever seen. Felter reiterated that he was not happy about the repercussions of the amendment passing, but said the commission needed to be positive and work with local officials and Trenton, as well as think about the long-term plan for funding the commission’s activities. “We’re not asking for millions and millions of dollars,” Felter said. “We send a lot of money to Trenton in taxes, and we should get some of that back. I know we’re anxious, but we need to be cautiously optimistic.” Bello said the park is moving along as if it’s business as usual.
- The commissioners came close to completing the list of those residents and officials who will be included in the dock committee, which will be finalized in December and begin meeting in January. The group will review dock zoning regulations when compared to existing conditions and determine what changes might need to be made. Bello reported that a dock survey of the current conditions, which is being conducted through the Lake Hopatcong Foundation partnership with Drew University, is coming along nicely. “It should be dynamite when it’s done,” he said.
- The commission discussed the importance of each town maintaining the catch basins and devices installed as part of the commission’s storm water management plan, in order to keep nutrient levels down in the lake.
- Commissioner Richard Zoschak congratulated the Lake Hopatcong Foundation on the purchase of the Landing Train Station.
- The commission acknowledged the passing of Sen. Robert Littell with a moment of silence. Commissioner Dan McCarthy said he was “instrumental in passing the Lake Hopatcong Protection Act… and establishing the Lake Hopatcong Commission.”