Weeds Harvesting over belt

Weeds come over the conveyor during a previous harvesting season.

Although several weed harvesting companies took requests for proposals, none bid on this summer’s weed removal from Lake Hopatcong. The state pulled out of harvesting pending the outcome of investigation into a fatal accident last May and will not run the 2021 harvesting program.

At the Lake Hopatcong Commission’s meeting on May 10, chair Ron Smith said he is afraid the motor of the damaged harvester must be rebuilt, and the commission will not take the boat until it is completely repaired. Out-of-state companies that may not have been aware they could bid on a New Jersey job were contacted by Robin Madden, deputy director of the Division of Parks and Forestry in the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, said Smith. He believes two of those firms may now bid. 

An insurance contract must be awarded at the time of the harvesting contract. Commissioner Ryan Gilfillan said he is obtaining another quote for insurance to cover the harvesting. 

The commission may save money on weed disposal. Both Jefferson and Roxbury townships have found land to “dewater” the weeds, and the lower weight of dry weeds means lower disposal fees.

More Lake News

Money for freshwater lakes is on the mind of the State Senate, said Lake Hopatcong Foundation president Marty Kane. The foundation, along with representatives of Greenwood Lake and Deal Lake, testified before the Senate’s Environment and Energy Committee in favor of a continuing source of funding for the lakes. All three senators from the lake community are sponsors: Anthony Bucco (R-25), Steven Oroho (R-24), and Joseph Pennacchio (R-26). “We don’t know if it will advance this year,” said Kane, “but the bill is out there and I think it’s going to go through.”

Kane also reported on a boat safety meeting held with state troopers, Morris County sheriff James Gannon, county and state park police, and local police officers. One of the topics was congestion in Byram Cove. The police agencies are considering a new channel for access to the cove. Night patrols will also increase, Kane said.

Since the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum was placed in charge of the fountain at Hopatcong State Park, Kane is optimistic that it may reopen, which would be positive for aesthetic as well as environmental reasons. He reported that museum representatives discussed grant funding for the fountain with the Morris County Trust for Historic Preservation.

Senior contributing writer Jane Primerano may be contacted at jane.primerano@eyesonlocal.com.

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