It will probably be about six months before the Lake Hopatcong Foundation hears from the federal Environmental Protection Agency on the fate of a grant application for $990,000.
Foundation Board President Marty Kane told the Lake Hopatcong Commission on Monday, January 13, that the EPA will probably award six grants nationwide. The Foundation hopes to use the money to prevent another Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB).
The Foundation is also in the process of filing a grant application for $500,000 from the state Department of Environmental Protection for prevention and mitigation of cyanotoxins.
Cyanotoxins come from the blue-green algae that covered the lake for much of the summer in its HAB.
The state grant originally required a one-third match in cash and that must be provided upfront. Protests, including from the Lake Commission, resulted in a change, Kane said. The match does not have to be in cash and does not have to be paid upfront. Morris and Sussex counties pledged $25,000 each toward the match. The four municipalities around the lake pledged $15,000 each in in-kind services. Kane said he will also approach the Morris County Park Commission and Rutgers University for assistance with a demonstration project that could be part of a match.
Kane expects the grants will be awarded in mid-April.
He also said representatives from the Foundation as well as from other lakes around the state are traveling to Trenton to speak to DEP Associate Commissioner for Science and Policy Katrina Angarone. Kane explained representatives from several lakes hope to have a statewide lake organization to work toward issues that affect all fresh water in the state.
Foundation President Jessica Murphy said registrations are coming in for the three winter events at the Lake Hopatcong Railroad Station, which include Landing, Crossroads of Lake Hopatcong, Thursday, January 23; New Jersey Highlands Rediscovered, Thursday, February 20, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: Preservation and Grace, an American Legacy, Thursday, March 19. All are at 7 p.m.
Before Murphy and Kane could sit down, Justin McCarthy, son of Commission Vice President Dan McCarthy made a presentation to the Foundation. He gave them a plaque reading “Lackwanna Railroad,” the line that served the station. McCarthy said he hopes one day people will be able to get off the train and climb the stairs directly to the station to learn about its history.
The commission is working toward a sample ordinance for each of the four lake municipalities to regulate high-tech ice retardant systems. These “ice eaters” can be controlled with a timer and are favored by people who travel south for all or part of the winter. The ice eaters often clear a larger area of ice than is necessary to protect docks and other structures.
McCarthy said this is dangerous for people skating, skate sailing, or ice boating. He drafted an ordinance to restrict ice eaters and require the lower tech “bubblers” for dock protection. He said Hopatcong Mayor Michael Francis asked him to update that borough’s ordinance and he will forward it to the other municipalities. He also wrote an article on the problem for the Knee Deep Club’s newsletter.