By: Holly Odgers
The Lake Hopatcong Foundation in partnership with the Lake Hopatcong Commission, Jefferson Township, and the Academy for Environmental Science at Jefferson Township High School, was recently awarded a $228,900 Stormwater Assistance Grant from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) for a green infrastructure project to address stormwater runoff from the Lakeside Field parking lot in Jefferson Township.
The funding was announced by NJ Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn LaTourette at a press conference in Perth Amboy this week as part of $7 million in grants for projects across the state that will enhance and modernize local stormwater management practices and infrastructure in the face of worsening impacts from climate change.
For a list of all NJDEP-funded projects, click HERE.
“This innovative Stormwater Assistance Grant program is funding projects in all corners of the state that will mitigate flooding and improve the ecological health of our waterways,” Commissioner LaTourette said. “We are proud to provide our communities with the resources to make them safer, healthier, and more resilient. At the same time, we must acknowledge that we have much work to do to address New Jersey’s pressing water infrastructure needs, estimated at $30 billion.”
The stormwater management project in Jefferson Township will include the design and installation of a 2,000 sq. ft. biofiltration basin to capture and treat runoff from the large, impervious parking lot at Lakeside Field, which currently flows into a small creek that empties directly into Lake Hopatcong.
It is estimated by Princeton Hydro, project consultant, that the biofiltration basin, when completed, will keep approximately 3 lbs. of phosphorus from entering Lake Hopatcong each year, which has the potential to prevent the production of more than 3,000 lbs. of algae, reducing the chance of harmful algal blooms. They also estimate the basin will prevent approximately 300 lbs. of total suspended solids such as silt, minerals, and salts from entering the lake each year. Excessive levels of suspended solids can lead to increased turbidity and decreased oxygen levels, which can have detrimental effects on aquatic ecosystems.
In addition to the green infrastructure, a public outreach program is planned to raise awareness about stormwater management on New Jersey’s largest lake. Along with signage installed in this highly utilized community area, students from the Environmental Science Academy at Jefferson Township High School will document the project and develop an educational video for outreach efforts for additional water quality improvement projects.
“The Lake Hopatcong Foundation is thrilled to receive this Stormwater Grant from the NJDEP and looks forward to partnering with Jefferson Township for the installation of a biorientation basin at Lakeside Fields,” said Foundation Executive Director Kyle Richter. “A very exciting part of the project is our partnership with students from Jefferson Township High School Environmental Science Academy to engage them in every step of project implementation resulting in the creation of an educational outreach video on the importance of stormwater management in improving water quality in Lake Hopatcong.”
Photo courtesy of Jefferson Township