2011 Harvesting Update

In the April 2011, the Commission allocated remaining funds for seasonal field staff to return to work in mid-May to ready the harvesting equipment.  On Monday, July 11 three harvesters began operating on the lake down from six harvesters in years past.  Commission funds would only enable the three harvesters to operate until the end of July.  In an agreement with NJ DEP, Commission Chair Russell Felter announced at the July 25, 2011 regular commission meeting that the seasonal field staff will be reassigned to the NJ DEP Division of Parks and Forestry effective August 1.  This will enable the harvesters to continue to operate until later into the season.  Other operating costs for the harvesting program will be funded through the New Jersey Department of Transportation I BOAT NJ Program.  From July 11-September 14 when harvesting concluded, 554 tons of aquatic vegetation was removed from the lake during this period.  Due to high lake level caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in late August/early September, harvesting was suspended for five days until the lake level receded.

2010 Harvesting Update

LAKE HOPATCONG COMMISSION WAGES WAR ON AQUATIC WEEDS (NJ.com/Star-Ledger Video)

At a special meeting of the Commission on June 7, 2010 it was announced that the Commission would receive funding for its weed harvesting (biomass removal) program.  Funds for the harvesting are provided by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection from the Corporate Business Tax (CBT) Watershed Restoration funds for the purpose of nonpoint source management and from New Jersey Department of Transportation I BOAT NJ Program.  The I BOAT NJ grant program is financed by vessel registration fees to benefit the boating public. 

Although it was anticipated that weed harvesting would not commence until mid to late July, due to the lateness of securing funding for the program, the first harvester was repaired and operational on June 30.  In early July, three other harvesters were repaired and the fourth and final harvester was working on July 9.  The harvesters will operate until early September and will focus on opening navigational channels infested with weeds.  Unlike years past, the operators will not be harvesting areas close to the shoreline, near docks or bulkheads because the equipment will only be operational from mid to late July to early-September.  Operators will be unable to respond to requests from lakefront property owners to harvest in a particular area.

Prevent Water Chestnut from spreading to Lake Hopatcong

Help prevent the spread of an extremely aggressive, non-native aquatic plant called Water Chestnut that is rapidly taking over nearby Lake Musconetcong. First step is to educate yourself, your family and friends and everyone that enjoys Lake Hopatcong on how to identify the plant.  Second, if you find the plant on the Lake Hopatcong, contact the Lake Hopatcong Commission immediately at 973-601-1070.  View photos of the devastation caused by Water Chestnut on Lake Musconetcong and learn more ways to prevent the spread to Lake Hopatcong.

Learn more about the Lake Hopatcong stakeholders' efforts to identify and remove water chestnut on Lake Hopatcong.  Articles are available at lakehopatcongnews.com and northjersey.com

Weed Disposal

Each of the four lake municipality (Jefferson, Mount Arlington, Hopatcong and Roxbury) have different weed disposal arrangements for its residents.  Check with your local municipality for details. 

Weed Harvesting on Lake Hopatcong

When there is adequate funding available, during harvesting season, two harvesting crews are deployed.  Many shallow sections of Lake Hopatcong are susceptible to an abundant density of rooted aquatic plants, commonly referred to as weeds.  To harvest these areas, the harvester operator cuts the weeds toward the center of an  infested area typically closer to the middle of the lake and will remove weeds closer to the shoreline as the harvesting is completed in that area.   Before moving to another section of the lake, the operator will pick up floating weeds (floaters) with the harvester near the shoreline.  The operator will not harvest weeds near rocks, in shallow water or near bulkheads. 

When cutting weeds, the harvesters move at less than 5 mph and move considerably slower if the water is choppy or if it is windy.  As an example, on a beautiful sunny day with no wind or waves, it takes the harvester approximately 15 minutes just to travel from the Point Pleasant in Hopatcong to the beach at the State Park when the harvester is not cutting weeds.  Under the same conditions, if the harvester was cutting one pass from Point Pleasant to the State Park beach, it would take at least 30 minutes to harvest that distance.

In the 2008, approximately 1,100 tons of aquatic vegetation was removed from the Lake.  Due to the 60-inch drawdown of the lake which was scheduled to begin the day after Labor Day, the harvesting operations concluded on September 17, 2008 which was contingent upon the water level and/or the amount of weeds being removed.

During the off season, the LHC field staff maintains and repairs the harvesting equipment.  Additionally, through shared service agreements with the local municipalities and County of Sussex, the field staff clean and maintain catch basins within the Lake Hopatcong Watershed.

Click here to learn more about the benefits of weed harvesting.  To learn why the weed growth in 2006 was so heavy, click here

Are you interested in identifying the types of native and invasive aquatic plants found in Lake Hopatcong or to learn about notorious invasive species currently not found in the lake?  If so, the Identification Manual of Aquatic Plants in Lake Hopatcong and Potential Future Invasive Species is a great learning tool. 

Before Harvesting

Picture furnished by a Woodport Cove homeowner.

After Harvesting

Homeowner sent before and after photos to former Governor McGreevey in support of continual funding for Commission.

Weed Growth

Under ideal conditions, some weeds can grow as much as 14 inches in length in a single week.

Eurasian Water Milfoil

The plant stems commonly grow to lengths of 6 to 9 feet and is one of the most common weeds found in Lake Hopatcong.

Lily Pads

Only limited sections of lily pads are harvested. Others remain for fish habitat and protection.

Phosphorous fuels weed growth

Use lake-friendly, phosphorous-free fertilizer to reduce weed growth.

Early Start

Weather permitting, harvesters head out early each weekday morning.

Harvester Fleet

The LHC has a fleet of six harvesters and two transport barges.

Can it Fit?

All harvesters were specifically designed to fit under Brady Bridge.

Less Weed Growth

River Styx Cove has significantly less weed growth now than it did when this photo was taken on June 6, 2003.

Harvesting Access

Hopatcong State Park is one of eight access locations used to harvest Lake Hopatcong.

Weed Disposal

Weeds disposed at Morris County MUA are used to make top soil.

Updated:  09/20/2011

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