Senator Anthony Bucco, Senator Joe Pennacchio and Senator Steve Oroho welcomed news of three grants from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to help control harmful algal blooms and maintain clean water at Lake Hopatcong and Greenwood Lake.
Sens. Bucco, Pennacchio and Oroho today lauded news of DEP grants to fight algal blooms like the ones that forced the closure of Lake Hopatcong and Greenwood Lake last summer, but they say this is only the first step, and the State must do more to ensure clean water and strong lake economies. (SenateNJ)
DEP announced approval of $2.5 million to evaluate innovative approaches to mitigate and prevent algae outbreaks like the ones that forced the closure of Lake Hopatcong and Greenwood Lake for recreational use last year.
“This is the good news we’ve been waiting for, and our hope is the State is beginning to recognize its responsibility to maintain these valuable assets,” said Bucco (R-25). “The grants will fund projects that are crucial for the lakes and the communities surrounding the lakes. I thank the DEP and the Administration for their support, but this wouldn’t have happened without the hard work of the Lake Hopatcong Commission, the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, Morris and Sussex counties and the municipalities surrounding the Lake. They are all to be commended for working together to complete and file the grant applications on time, and with the hard dollars necessary to support the projects.”
Lake Hopatcong spans Morris and Sussex counties, which have devoted $25,000 each toward the grants, Bucco noted. Municipalities surrounding the lake will contribute in-kind services toward the work necessary to maintain and preserve the lake.
A grant of almost $53,000 to the Greenwood Lake Commission will help evaluate strategies and practices to manage nutrient input in the lake from Belcher Creek. The commission identified the creek as a significant contributor to nutrients that support algae growth in the lake. According to DEP, this work will include collection of data for the proper sizing and location of a nutrient treatment system on Belcher Creek and installation of floating wetlands islands to absorb phosphorous.
“It is my hope that this is the beginning of a partnership that can ensure that the quality of our water in all New Jersey lakes is maintained to a pristine condition,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “I am encouraged the State is taking this initial step to help in the upkeep of both Greenwood Lake and Lake Hopatcong. The grant money is vital for investing in methods to mitigate environmental issues that flow from the creek. Our lakes are invaluable to the surrounding communities, providing jobs, attracting seasonal renters and tourists, and fueling local economies.”
Pennacchio also applauded the funding for Lake Hopatcong.
The Lake Hopatcong Commission will receive a $500,000 grant for a 24-month project to evaluate filtering media in two storm water basins, three aerators, a product to inactivate bacteria, and other approaches to preserve water quality.
The Borough of Hopatcong will use a $145,000 grant for a year-long project to demonstrate the effectiveness of an extensive aeration system and other algae prevention methods at Crescent Cove in Lake Hopatcong.
“Last summer, we experienced the pain of what can happen when lakes are closed to the public,” said Oroho (R-24). “Clean, healthy lakes are vital to recreation and local business. Boating, fishing and swimming activities are integral for lake community towns to prosper. These grants provide badly needed funds to help maintain the vitality of Lake Hopatcong and other lakes for the benefit of local towns and the State.”
Murphy committed $13.5 million to fight devastating algal blooms. The grants to Lake Hopatcong and Greenwood Lake as well as others in the region are the first step.
Bucco, Pennacchio and Oroho also sponsor legislation (S-1927 and S-1986) that would commit constitutionally dedicated corporate income tax revenues for the prevention and remediation of algal blooms in lakes and make yearly appropriations.