Posted Tuesday, January 16th, 2018
Freeholders Applaud Action Comes as Governor’s Term Nears End
Legislation has been signed by Gov. Chris Christie creating the Lake Hopatcong Fund, which dedicates $500,000 annually for the protection, preservation, maintenance, management, and enhancement of New Jersey’s largest state-run lake. The fund would come from license fees required to operate power boats on non-tidal waters across the state.
The money will be used for a variety of tasks, including weed harvesting, storm-water management and water quality studies, among others. The state owns Lake Hopatcong, which is part of the state park system that includes Lake Hopatcong State Park.
“We thank the Governor and the Legislature for understanding the importance of Lake Hopatcong, which is an economic engine for our county and to the towns surrounding Lake Hopatcong in both Morris and Sussex County,” said Morris County Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo, a former mayor of Roxbury, which borders the lake. “The environmental health of this lake is vital to plant, fish, and animal life, which is intertwined with the economic benefits. So we are extremely pleased by the creations of this new fund.”
“The Lake Hopatcong Foundation has been actively advocating for a stable source of funding for Lake Hopatcong, so we are thrilled to share the news of this big win for the lake,” the LHF said in a statement. “We extend our sincere appreciation to Senators Anthony Bucco, Steven Oroho, Joe Pennacchio, Assemblyman Anthony Bucco and our legislative delegation for their leadership in seeing this important legislation drafted, unanimously approved in both Chambers and signed by the Governor.”
Lake Hopatcong has 38 miles of shoreline and encompasses 2,658 acres. It is a heavily used for recreation for freshwater fishing, boating, water skiing, and swimming. It has been hampered in recent years by heavy weed growth, which has made some areas difficult to navigate.
The state requires a fee of $18 for a 48-month power vessel operator’s license. Those fees, which had been split between the state’s general fund and the Motor Vehicle Commission, will be redirected to the Lake Hopatcong Fund by the legislation.