By: Lake Hopatcong Foundation
Last week, we were honored to host Congressman Tom Kean Jr. aboard our Floating Classroom for a tour of Lake Hopatcong. We were joined by the Lake Hopatcong Commission, the Musconetcong Watershed Association, the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who shared updates on environmental restoration projects underway in the Delaware River Watershed. Below is the joint press release issued.
Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey — Congressman Tom Kean Jr. (NJ-7) joined the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, Lake Hopatcong Commission, Musconetcong Watershed Association, the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) last week for a boat tour of Lake Hopatcong in Morris and Sussex Counties, New Jersey, to showcase the crucial federal and state investments in environmental restoration that are currently underway in Congressman Kean’s district. Lake Hopatcong is a headwater to the Musconetcong River, which is New Jersey's largest tributary to the Delaware River.
To date, the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund has awarded $40.4 million to 159 projects, which have generated $59.7 million in match funding, for a total conservation impact of $100.1 million. 18 projects are located in the Congressman’s district for a total of $4.89 million of conservation impact. The tour provided a unique opportunity for Congressman Kean to witness the tangible results of such investments and gain deeper insights into the effectiveness of collaborative efforts in preserving and restoring the Delaware River Watershed.
"It was great to be on Lake Hopatcong and see the tangible results of collaborative efforts to preserve and restore the Delaware River Watershed. Our tour underscored the invaluable impact that the investments made through the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund are for clean water projects, reducing sediment, and improving water quality. I will continue fighting for partnerships like these, as we can ensure a thriving environment for our communities and a sustainable foundation for economic growth,” said Congressman Tom Kean Jr.
"The funding provided by the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund is crucial for clean water projects on Lake Hopatcong," said Kyle Richter, executive director of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation. "We are currently collaborating with the Lake Hopatcong Commission on three projects to reduce the influx of sediment and nutrients into the lake. These projects are expected to prevent around 1.4 million pounds of sediment and 240 pounds of phosphorus from entering the lake each year, improving water quality and reducing harmful algal blooms."
“The Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund has helped to build momentum around shared priorities and accelerate collaborative conservation across the landscape," said Kyla Hastie, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acting northeast regional director. "This partnership guides us toward common goals, helps us target conservation to reach those goals, and most importantly, challenges us to continue to support the watershed."
“We appreciate Congressman Kean’s leadership in protecting and restoring our region’s natural resources,” said Tom Dallessio, executive director of the Musconetcong Watershed Association. “Both Lake Hopatcong and the downstream Musconetcong National Wild and Scenic River are critical for the region's recreational economy and habitat protection. Public-private partnerships and comprehensive watershed planning efforts, like those catalyzed by the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund, are critical to maintaining and improving water quality.”
“The Coalition thanks Congressman Kean for his leadership in preserving and safeguarding the Delaware River Basin,” said Kelly Knutson, director for the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed. “The Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund contributes to long-term outcomes for equitable access to nature, resiliency, healthy habitat, and a thriving outdoor economy. Increasing nonprofits and local government's ability for on-the-ground restoration and conservation projects will significantly benefit those who rely on this river for their drinking water.”
The Delaware River Watershed serves as a lifeline for 3.1 million people in New Jersey, playing a vital role in supplying essential drinking water, sustaining diverse ecosystems, and offering abundant recreational opportunities. Moreover, the basin's economic significance cannot be understated, as it contributes billions of dollars to the local economy through thriving sectors like tourism, recreation, agriculture, and various industries. Strengthening conservation efforts in this region directly benefits businesses, communities, and residents by preserving invaluable natural resources and fostering sustainable economic growth.
The event exemplified the power of collaborative partnerships between governmental representatives, environmental organizations, and the community at large. By investing in environmental restoration projects, the region not only ensures the preservation of its natural resources but also strengthens the foundation for long-term sustainable economic growth.
Group photo (left to right) Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed Director Kelly Knutson, Musconetcong Watershed Association Executive Director Tom Dallessio, Lake Hopatcong Foundation Board Chair Marty Kane, Musconetcong Watershed Association Director, Policy and Grants Alan Hunt, Congressman Thomas Kean, Jr., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service New Jersey Ecological Services Field Office Assistant Supervisor of Conservation Planning Assistance and Endangered Species Ross Conover, Lake Hopatcong Foundation Board Member Leon Moreau, IV, Lake Hopatcong Commission Administrator Colleen Lyons, Lake Hopatcong Foundation Communications Director Holly Odgers