Posted Thursday, June 14th, 2012

The Morris County Freeholders have thrown their support behind a state senate bill that would establish a fund for the maintenance and preservation of Lake Hopatcong.

The bill would dedicate $700,000 annually from pleasure boat registration fees collected by the state to allow the Lake Hopatcong Commission to pay for controlling the growth of aquatic weeds on the lake bottom that are threatening the lake’s health.

The Lake Hopatcong Commission was created by the legislature in 2001 to oversee and safeguard the lake as a natural, scenic and recreation resource.

In supporting the bill, the freeholders said the lake has been beset for a number of years by inadequate and irregular funding for management and aquatic weed control.As a result, the freeholders said various invasive species, including milfoil and water chestnut, have greatly impacted the lake, which they called vital to the economies of Morris and Sussex counties and in particular the surrounding municipalities.

The freeholders said approval of the legislation, S-495, would provide the consistent and adequate funding needed to ensure the lake’s preservation.  They note that Lake Hopatcong is the largest freshwater lake in the state and serves as both an emergency source of drinking water and a significant recreation site.

The freeholders are also asking the legislature to give special consideration for funding for similar lake maintenance for Lake Musconetcong at a proportional level.