April 3, 2009
Relatively dry weather conditions have delayed Lake Hopatcong’s recovery from a recent 5-foot drawdown. As a result, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has allowed a temporary adjustment in its management of the water level to assist in the recovery of the lake’s surface elevation.
The DEP’s water level management plan allows the lake to be lowered 5 feet every five years to allow for inspection of the dam structure, property owners’ repairs to lakeshore structures, aquatic vegetation control, and silt and drainage material removal from areas around the lake. This 5-foot drawdown commenced last fall, and the lake is now refilling.
The reduction of outflow from the lake will reduce the standard passing flow of 7.5 million gallons per day (mgd) or 12 cubic feet per second (cfs) to the minimum flow allowed of 5.3 mgd or 8.2 cfs. Maintaining the minimum flow rate is critical to protect aquatic life in the downstream reaches of the Musconetcong River, which flows from Lake Hopatcong. It also will ensure appropriate water levels in the river for opening day of trout season on April 11.
The DEP will closely monitor downstream conditions. If, for any reason, the flow rate is insufficient to protect and maintain aquatic life, the DEP will immediately order the resumption of the standard passing flow from Lake Hopatcong.
Normal outflow conditions will resume when the lake is once again at an appropriate level.