Law creates Lake Hopatcong Fund


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Governor Chris Christie has signed into law a bill sponsored by Sens. Anthony Bucco, Steven Oroho and Joe Pennacchio establishing the “Lake Hopatcong Fund” to help preserve and maintain the lake.

The measure dedicates $500,000 annually to the “Lake Hopatcong Fund” for the protection, preservation, restoration, maintenance, management, and enhancement of New Jersey’s largest state-run lake. The funds will come from license fees required to operate power boats on nontidal waters.

“By establishing this preservation fund and securing long-term funding, Lake Hopatcong will finally receive the protection and conservation it needs,” said Bucco. “Now that the bill has been signed, the ‘Lake Hopatcong Fund’ will provide stability for the local families and small businesses that surround the lake.”

“This funding for Lake Hopatcong is well deserved,” Pennacchio said. “Local economies are dependent on the survival of Lake Hopatcong. Unlike most New Jersey lakes, Lake Hopatcong’s lakeside businesses and restaurants depend on consistent weed removal for survival. I’m glad to see our measure become law.”

Lake Hopatcong, which lies on the southern border of Sussex and Morris Counties, is New Jersey’s largest freshwater lake – occupying 38 miles of shoreline and encompassing 2,658 acres. It is a heavily utilized freshwater fishery and offers year-round recreational opportunities. Local officials and advocates have said that this year’s weed growth is the worst in recent memory and some areas of the lake are no longer navigable.

“Year-to-year funding is inconsistent and has not provide the stability that Lake Hopatcong needs,” Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) said. “This permanent fund will ensure that the lake is maintained and the local economy protected.”

Prior law imposed a fee of $18 for a 48-month power vessel operator’s license.

Under the new law, $500,000 of the revenues generated from those licenses will be dedicated to the “Lake Hopatcong Fund.”
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