As the advisory against swimming and some watersports on Lake Hopatcong continues, it’s easy to feel helpless in the face of such an unprecedented environmental crisis. But we at the Lake Hopatcong Foundation want to encourage you all to have faith, to know that there are things we can all do to help the current situation and to help reduce the chance of it happening again. Here are some ideas:
- Support local businesses: Go to lakeside restaurants for lunch, buy gear from a local marina, visit Hopatcong State Park, and look beyond the lake itself. Delis, coffee shops, and the like are all suffering with the reduction in visitors. Do what you can to get out and shop locally! And help us continue our Fourth of July social media campaign. When you visit a local business, post a photo of your experience with the hashtags: #ILoveLH #ShowYourSupport #BeSafe. Let’s show the world that Lake Hopatcong is still open for business.
- Check your nutrient footprint: Make sure you’re not using fertilizer (or if you are, it’s phosphorus-free!), clean up after your pet, and come up with ways to reduce runoff from your property, such as planting riparian buffers with native plants, replacing impervious surfaces with gravel or plants, or using a rain barrel to collect water from your roof. Every little bit of phosphorus helped bring on the algal bloom, so every little reduction can help, too. We will be posting a series of more in-depth ideas for how you can reduce runoff, so keep an eye out on our website to learn more.
- Push for broader action: Report storm drains that need maintenance to your town, talk to your neighbors about collectively creating community projects that help manage stormwater (such as a neighborhood rain garden), and write to your elected officials about how important Lake Hopatcong is to you. The Lake Hopatcong Foundation is working with local officials and will be trying to secure grant money for more substantial stormwater projects, but hearing from local residents will help keep our beautiful lake front and center as funding becomes available, even after this algal bloom has passed (which we hope will be soon).
In the meantime, you can also continue to view the latest testing results from the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection here:
They will be updating it every Wednesday and Friday (after Tuesday/Thursday testing and Wednesday aerial checks).
Let’s all keep fighting the good fight on behalf of our lake, and stay hopeful that the familiar Lake Hopatcong summer scene will return soon. Advisory or not, the lake is about so much more than swimming, and this community can rally to make sure the world knows it.