LAKE HOPATCONG, NJ – Three New Jersey senators took a boat tour of Lake Hopatcong Thursday to gain a first-hand understanding of the blue-green algae blooms that caused the lake and others across New Jersey to be closed for recreation for much of the summer.
Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) and Senator Steven Oroho (R-24) joined Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-3) on the tour.
The Department of Environmental Protection DEP) advised the public in late June to avoid swimming in or contact with Lake Hopatcong water due to an extensive Harmful Algal Bloom, or HAB, that was confirmed by aerial surveillance.
The DEP lifted the advisory in late July for the Indian Harbor area, in early August for the Henderson Cove and Byram Cove sections. Pebble Beach, Sand Harbor, Bass Rock Beach, Sperry Springs Beach, Beck Lane Beach, CAPP Beach, Byram Bay Community Club Beach and Clearwater Beach were reopened in mid August. The area southeast of State Park Beach, located in the southern part of the lake was reopened in early September.
As of Sept. 18, the advisory remains in effect for all other areas of lake Hopatcong, according to the DEP.
The DEP urges the public to avoid swimming or water sports that may result in contact with the water, such as water-skiing, tubing, canoeing, paddle boarding and kayaking. There is no recommended limitation on fishing or passive recreational boating that does not have the potential for splashing. However, fish caught should not be eaten. The public is further advised that pets should not be allowed in the water or to drink it.
After the tour, Pennacchio and Oroho issued the following statement:
“We were glad to have the opportunity to join local officials and the Senate President for today’s tour of Lake Hopatcong. Before his untimely death, our dear colleague Senator Bucco was scheduled to join us. We are sure Tony was there in spirit.
“We received a commitment from the Senate President that Lake Hopatcong, Greenwood Lake, and all impacted New Jersey lakes would get much-needed help.
“Further, we will be meeting with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to get badly needed answers to some important questions.
“We are committed to working together to ensure these lakes are never closed again.”