Monday, August 17, 2015, 7 p.m.
Jefferson Township Municipal Building, Lake Hopatcong
A summary of key items discussed by the Lake Hopatcong Commission at its monthly meeting:
- Chairman Russ Felter announced that the September meeting would be his last as chairman, more than two years after he announced his resignation, and with no successor named.
- Dan Bello said that after 10 weeks of weed harvesting, 1,647 cubic yards have been removed; it’s at a slower rate than last year (165 cubic yards per week versus 176 cubic yards per week), but that there are only three harvesters operating rather than the four of last year. Currently, one harvester is completing the area around Halsey Island and the other two are north of Brady Bridge in the Woodport section of the lake. He said that the money contributed by the Lake Hopatcong Foundation and Jefferson Township would allow them to extend the harvest season to October 1; “It’s going to be a huge help,” he said. Felter and commissioner Kerry Kirk Pflugh, who represents the DEP on the commission both praised the additional funds. “I’d like to thank the leadership of Russ Felter and Jefferson Township and the Lake Hopatcong Foundation to extend the weed harvest season,” Pflugh said. But others chimed in with their concerns about the contributions. “I’m a very strong supporter of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, but I’m opposed to the contribution of money to the weed harvest,” commissioner Fred Steinbaum said. “I get the feeling the state is turning its back on Lake Hopatcong.” Later in the meeting, LHF president Jessica K. Murphy said that it was a difficult decision for the foundation, but that ultimately they thought it was important not to allow the harvest to end in mid-August, as it was initially scheduled to do, and that it fit within the mission of the foundation to improve the lake for all.
- Ken Klipstein of the New Jersey Water Supply Authority spoke to the commission about the lending of one small harvester — the one that was being used on Lake Musconetcong — to an intake pond for Round Valley Reservoir, which was experiencing significant weed growth and a resultant fish kill, on July 27. The harvester will be returned to use on Lake Musconectong this week. Commissioner Dan McCarthy expressed concern that the harvesters could be so easily lent elsewhere when they are desperately needed on Lake Hopatcong.
- A meeting of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) to discuss the Water Level Management Plan is scheduled for September 2. It will not be open to the public, and the state representatives and CAC will review the plan in light of the very low water levels this summer, including a discussion of proposals made by Steinbaum and Lake Hopatcong resident John Kurzman. Following that meeting, Pflugh announced, the next meeting of the Lake Hopatcong Commission on September 21 will include DEP experts who will explain the science and legal issues around the management of the water level. “The meeting in September will be dedicated to the water level management plan,” she said. Several members of the public spoke during the public comment portion to complain about the low water level and the continuing release of 12 cubic feet per second from the dam. “Policies change as circumstances change,” said Barbara Loring of Hopatcong. “And circumstances have changed.”
- Dr. Fred Lubnow of Princeton Hydro said that he would be out sampling on Tuesday, including doing the last sampling for cyanotoxins at 6 beaches (so far, zero instances have been detected). He mentioned that broadleaf pondweed had been discovered in different parts of the lake, which was unusual. He said that they were in the process of designing and installing stormwater units for Jefferson Township, and that they would be conducting a three-week bathymetric study of at least 150 acres of the lake in the coming weeks, all through the 319(h) grant. Following his update, Grace Warburton, an intern with the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, did a presentation on a Water Quality Report Card that has been created through a grant from the Watershed Institute to help simply explain water quality data to the average lake resident and give a snapshot sense of lake health. The project had been completed with the support of Princeton Hydro and local beaches, using the data they provided.
The next meeting of the Lake Hopatcong Commission is scheduled for Monday, September 21 at 7 p.m. at the Jefferson Township Municipal Building (1033 Weldon Road, Lake Hopatcong, NJ).