A Laker’s Dozen: Keeping Aquatic Invasive Species Out

This is the second of 12 posts in our A Laker’s Dozen: 12 “Sweet” LHF Achievements from 2016 series – reflecting on and celebrating 2016 and the Lake Hopatcong Community.

The Foundation worked on several initiatives in 2016 in an effort to prevent further spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS), or aquatic hitchhikers, in Lake Hopatcong. From expanding our Lake Steward program, to overseeing the Water Scouts program, and creating and distributing the Lake Hopatcong Guide Map, here’s a snapshot of those accomplishments:

Erica at Hopatcong State ParkLake Steward Program

Lake Stewards strive to collect data about general boating habits, inform boaters of the danger of Aquatic Invasive Species(AIS), and educate boaters on how to clean their watercraft in order to prevent the spread of AIS.

  • With grant funding from the Verhalen Family Foundation, the lake steward program was expanded in 2016 allowing us to hire a lake steward coordinator and increase the number of lake stewards hired to six. Also, Hopatcong State Park was the second site added to the program in addition to Lee’s County Park.
  • Through an 11 week period, on Thursday through Sunday from early June to late August, lake stewards conducted interviews with 508 boaters.
  • Out of the 508 boaters, 273 previously boated at Lee’s County Park, and 235 came from Hopatcong State Park.
  • 89.8% of all boaters were from New Jersey, 6.3% of boaters came from Pennsylvania, 1.6% of boaters from New York, with the remaining 2.3% from a combination of other states
  • When boaters were asked if they had interacted with a Lake Steward before at either Lake Hopatcong or any other lake, only 32.3% of boaters answered yes. When asked if they were familiar with AIS, 57.3% of boaters answered yes.
  • An overwhelming 70.7% of boater interviewed responded yes when asked if they would like to learn more about AIS, either through educational material or discussion with a Lake Steward.
Photo courtesy of Tim Clancy
Photo courtesy of Tim Clancy

Water Scouts

The Lake Hopatcong Water Scouts were established to seek out and remove any instances of the invasive Water Chestnut species. Dozens of volunteers paddle Lake Hopatcong starting in June each summer on the look out for Water Chestnut, an aggressive AIS that will have a detrimental impact on the lake and it’s ecosystem if left unchecked.

In 2016, Water Chestnut plants were identified in several areas of the lake and hand-pulled by volunteers trained to remove the plants. Without these volunteers removing the plants, much the Woodport area and parts of the Jefferson Canals could become un-navigable.

LH Guide Map and Aquatic Hitchhikers Guide

In 2016, we created and distributed a water-resistant map that includes important landmarks, depths, business locations, and even more important, guidelines for how to prevent the spread of invasive species on the lake and which species to be on the lookout for. If you didn’t receive a copy of the map you can download a PDF version here.


Look for the third post in our A Laker’s Dozen: 12 “Sweet” LHF Achievements from 2016 series on our annual block party next week!

Categories: Education, Lake Hopatcong Foundation, Lake Stewards, News, Other, Water Quality, Water Scouts