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LHC Business Plan

The Lake Hopatcong Commission has presented a draft business plan to help guide future employment levels and funding needs.  The plan will be discussed at the commission’s November 10 meeting.  It can be downloaded at LakeHopatcong.org, and is presented in its entirety here. At its crux, the plan proposes three different employee strategies: one with two full-time staffers, one with three, and one with five.  All of the plans propose a seasonal workforce that would bring the full Lake Hopatcong Commission workforce to ten employees. (The cost of each option, detailed below, is projected to be $466,000, $542,000, and $650,000, respectively.) A decision on which option to go with is expected in the coming months, and the final plan will inform commissioners and state officials as they determine the group’s funding sources.

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Lake Hopatcong Commission 

2009 Draft Business Plan

October, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lake Hopatcong Commission

P.O. Box 8515

Landing, NJ   07850-8515

973-601-1070

www.lakehopatcong.org

 


 

Lake Hopatcong Business Plan

Draft

 

2008 State of the Lake Executive Summary:

A year of accomplishment and challenge

 

Lake Hopatcong is the largest freshwater lake in the State of New Jersey and a significant recreational resource, which also makes it an important economic asset.  Water quality in Lake Hopatcong has been impacted by non-point source pollution, primarily in the form of nutrients which have resulted in excessive plant and algae growth.

 

Since the Lake Hopatcong Commission (LHC) was formed seven years ago considerable progress has been made in restoring the quality of the Lake. Specifically,

 

·         During the 2008 growing season, late May through early October, the Lake Hopatcong Commission staff removed a total of 1,137 tons of aquatic vegetation from Lake Hopatcong. This roughly equates to 2.3 million pounds of wet plant biomass removed from the lake.  Using the results of the 2006 plant biomass / phosphorus study, it was estimated that the 2008 mechanical weed harvesting program removed 406 lbs (184 kg) of total phosphorus from the lake. This accounted for approximately 5.6% of the amount of phosphorus targeted for removal under the lake’s established Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). If this removed phosphorus was utilized by filamentous and planktonic algae, it would have the potential to generate approximately 446,000 pounds of wet algae biomass.

 

·         To reduce operating costs, the Commission entered into discussions with New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to relocate Commission office to Hopatcong State Park which occurred in August 2009 and relocate maintenance facility to Franklin Building which is in progress.

 

·         As part of their NJ DEP 319(h) grant project, the first stormwater management device was installed at the Crescent Cove Beach Club in Hopatcong Borough to reduce the sediment and phosphorous load entering the lake.  Several other stormwater management projects throughout the watershed, funded through DEP and United States Environmental Agency (EPA) grants, are in various phases of implementation with anticipation completion in May 2010.

 

·         The Commission held a series of special public meetings on May 5th and 28th, June 2nd, 3rd and 5th to discuss the implementation of user fees.  Approximately 225 members of the public attended these sessions in addition to local legislators, elected officials and NJ DEP Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson.  During these meetings, commissioners, elected officials, and the public proposed many alternatives to fund the Commission.  At the June 5 emergency meeting, the Commission did not take action to support Senate Bill 1833 introduced by Senator Bob Smith, which would have authorized the Lake Hopatcong Commission to charge boating user fees, prior to the June 9 legislative deadline. 

 

·         Commission conducted a physical vessel count and Lake Hopatcong Facilities survey.  The latter was mailed to lakefront businesses, parks, clubs and associations to determine their primary business classification as well as the number of dock spaces/launches and other services provided. 

 

Although weed harvesting is viewed as a program conducted for the aesthetic and recreational benefit of stakeholders and businesses, it greatly contributes to the removal of phosphorus from the Lake.  However, by itself, weed harvesting as a means of phosphorus control is not cost effective.  Weed harvesting does not prevent nutrients from entering the lake and only removes the nutrients after weeds have grown.  Therefore, weed harvesting cannot provide a long term solution and the Commission’s non-point source phosphorus control projects must be continued.

 

The past several years have brought austere State budgets and the State has not provided consistent funding necessary to support the activities of the Commission.  Thus, the primary issue facing the Commission is securing sustained funding to achieve the goals legislatively mandated by the formation of the Commission. Securing these funds is vital to avoid negating the progress that has been made since the formation of the Commission in 2001. The economic and environmental damage caused by not maintaining the lake must be considered near and long term.

 

Therefore, the Commission has determined to develop a business plan for achieving the purposes for which it was created and fulfilling the tasks assigned to it by the Legislature.

 


 

1.        Background

 

I    Legislative Mandate& Task

 

On January 8, 2001, the Lake Hopatcong Protection Act (N.J.S.A. 58:4B-1 et seq.) became law to establish the Lake Hopatcong Commission and charged the Commission with the following eleven tasks:

 

a)       Conduct water quality and water quantity monitoring of Lake Hopatcong to assess conditions and changes thereto over time, and identify the causes and sources of environmental threats to Lake Hopatcong and its watershed;

b)       Assess present and projected development, land use and land management practices and patterns, and determine the effects of those practices upon the natural, scenic and recreational resources of Lake Hopatcong and its watershed;

c)       Develop plans, strategies, policies, ordinances and funding mechanisms necessary to protect, preserve, restore, maintain, manage and enhance Lake Hopatcong and its watershed, to be implemented by those entities with representatives on the Commission;

d)       Coordinate with, and make recommendations to, the Department of Environmental Protection with respect to any State plan or program for watershed management, water quality, water supply, stormwater management, nonpoint source pollution, or wastewater management for the area that includes Lake Hopatcong and its watershed;

e)       Recommend appropriate State legislation and administrative action pertaining to the protection, preservation, restoration, maintenance, management and enhancement of Lake Hopatcong and its watershed;

f)         Encourage and assist in the creation of special local improvement districts for the purposes beneficial to Lake Hopatcong and its watershed, including the control of stormwater runoff and nonpoint source pollution, and the preservation of significant environmental areas, including wetlands, to control stormwater runoff and nonpoint source pollution;

g)       Review and assess the potential impact upon Lake Hopatcong and its watershed of environmental permit applications pending before or received by the Department of Environmental Protection and provided to the Commission pursuant to subsection b, of section 8 of this Ac, and provide recommendations to the Department of Environmental Protection for appropriate action thereon;

h)       Review and assess the potential impact upon Lake Hopatcong and its watershed of proposed amendments and revisions to municipal master plans, zoning and other ordinances governing land use and development, and applications for specific development projects, and provide recommendations to the appropriate municipal agency for appropriate action thereon;

i)         Conduct, manage, and coordinate specific activities and projects pertaining to the protection, preservation, restoration, maintenance, management and enhancement of Lake Hopatcong and its watershed, including but not limited to, weed control measures, dredging, installation and maintenance of boat sewage pump outs and environmental education;

j)         Encourage individuals, corporations, associations and organizations to preserve and enhance the natural scenic beauty and protect and preserve the purity of the waters, of Lake Hopatcong and its watershed, and to engage in environmental education of the public for such purposes; and

k)       Establish advisory committees and enlist and accept the support and cooperation of organizations of property owners and others interested in promoting the purposes and objectives of this Act.

 

 

II    Administration & Operations

 

Section 5 of the Act empowers the Commission to establish, construct, if necessary and maintain offices and facilities needed for transacting the duties of the Commission.  It also has the authority to establish, or construct if necessary, those offices and facilities on land at the Hopatcong State Park or on State land at other appropriate locations around or nearby the Lake.

 

The Commission operations were housed at a rented office space in Landing since the Commission inception, but due to spiraling rent expenses and dwindling funding resources, the DEP agreed to provide office space and renovations for the Commission at the Hopatcong State Park Administrative Building.  In August 2009 the Commission relocated its office to the Park in a newly refurbished two-office suite and visitor area.   

 

The DEP also agreed to provide a building for the Commission’s use for their maintenance facility.  The Commission and DEP are finalizing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to allow the Commission to rent, for one dollar a year, the vacant Division A Headquarters building on Route 23 in Franklin.  The DEP will renovate the building garage area to accommodate the Commission’s harvesting equipment.  The Commission harvesting equipment will be relocated to the Franklin maintenance facility at the conclusion of the 2009 harvesting season.

 

III   Funding and Annual Budget Requests

 

The Act required that each year after the first year, the Commission shall submit its annual budget request for funds sufficient to carry out the purposes and objectives of the Act as part of the annual budget request submitted by the Department of Environmental Protection to the Division of Budget and Accounting in the Department of Treasury, which shall include it in the budget request submitted annually by the Governor for appropriation by the Legislature (N.J.S.A. 58:4B-13).  

 

Due to State fiscal constraints funding for the Commission has not been provided on a regular basis.  Throughout the years, emergency appropriations, funding through Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and grants have enabled the Commission to continue its operation although staffing has been reduced considerably over the years. 

 

At a meeting with Governor Corzine in March 2007, the Governor advised the Commission that it would need to establish a self-sustaining mechanism to fund its operation since it would no longer receive a State appropriation through the annual budget process.  Since a funding mechanism was not established by the Commission, DEP would no longer provide funding for the harvesting operations.  As a result, the four remaining Commission field staff employees were terminated in November 2008.

 

Through a MOA signed in May 2007 between the Commission and DEP, funding continues to be provided by the Department to support the Commission’s administrative function to ensure progress continues on the Commission’s state and federal grants to implement stormwater management projects and develop an educational outreach program.  The Department of Environmental Protection allowed the Commission to use an additional $68,000 of grant funds in 2009 to support a limited weed harvesting effort.

 

2.       LHC Regional Impact—

 

·         Pollution Control –

i.         Non-Point Source Control – As documented since the 1960s, the water quality of Lake Hopatcong has been threatened and impacted by development of its watershed.  Septic systems, road runoff, lawn fertilizers and various other nonpoint sources are responsible for the influx of pollutants and contaminants that impact the lake’s water quality.  The pollutants having the greatest direct impact on the lake are phosphorus, nitrogen, sediments and bacteria.  Some of the more noticeable impacts caused by these pollutants are localized, intense summer algae blooms, the in-filling of coves with silt, the growth of dense beds of invasive aquatic weeds, and beach closures.

 

Early in its history, the Lake Hopatcong Commission laid the groundwork for a “hands on” approach to dealing with non-point source pollution and other pollution threats to Lake Hopatcong.  In the summer of 2002 a five person “Project Task Force” was established consisting of members of the LHC and the public to identify and develop management strategies for these threats to be implemented by the full time field staff.  The task force focused primarily on the need to establish an effective storm water management plan that consisted of catch basin retrofits and their subsequent maintenance.  Following the work of the Project Task Force, the field staff received Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), confined spaces and traffic safety training.  Agreements were made with the municipalities and the counties under a standard “shared services” document that renewed annually.  Prior to the start of and at the end of each weed harvesting season, the field staff worked in conjunction with municipal and county road department staff members to re-build or retrofit catch basins throughout the watershed.  Significant time was also spent cleaning out these storm water management devices to ensure that they effectively prevent sediment loading of Lake Hopatcong.  This joint venture resulted in an increased awareness by the municipalities and counties of the benefits and importance of tangible storm water management efforts and the attendant benefits to the Lake. 

 

Beginning during the 2003 five foot lake draw down, the field staff made it a priority to map outflows entering the Lake and inventory catch basins throughout the watershed.  Additionally, they conducted an extensive cleanup of the exposed lake bed removing tires, bottles, automobile parts, etc. Unfortunately, with dwindling funds available to the LHC, these storm water management and pollution control activities were effectively ended in November of 2008 when the last remaining members of the full time staff were terminated following the draw down cleanup.

 

                                                  ii.      Weed & Phosphorus Removal -Since the Commission began harvesting in 2002 approximately 9,400 tons of aquatic biomass has been removed.   A consistent advantage mechanical weed harvesting has over other management techniques, such as the application of herbicides, is that phosphorus is removed from the lake along with the weed biomass. In fact, based on a plant biomass study conducted at Lake Hopatcong in 2006 and the plant harvesting records of 2006 and 2007, approximately 6-8% of the total phosphorus load targeted for reduction under the established Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) is removed through the mechanical weed harvesting program.  This practice also has the benefit of keeping the navigational channels of the lake open, allowing proper oxygen levels and promoting healthy fish populations and other aquatic wildlife. Additionally, it enables boaters to safely use the water with their vessels.  Until the non-point control points are put in place, weed removal will continue to be utilized as a tool to reduce phosphorus levels occurring within the lake.

 

·         Population –

According to the U.S. Census Bureau population estimate for 2008 for New Jersey is 8.6 million of which for the 11 counties in northern New Jersey, the population estimate is nearly 5 million.  (Source:  http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/34000.html)

 

·         Business –

The lake supports a diverse business base many of these centering on lake activities.   Businesses include

                        Over 15 marinas

                        Over one dozen pubs and bars

                        Over 12 bars restaurants

                        Other lodging establishments

 

·         Sports and Recreation –

                                                   i.      Boating –During the summer 2008, the Commission conducted both a Vessel Count and a Lake Hopatcong Facilities Survey.  An estimated 4,842 vessels including vessels greater than 17’ feet and Personal Water Crafts (PWCs) were identified on Lake Hopatcong. 

 

The Lake Hopatcong Facilities Survey was distributed to Lake Hopatcong business owners, lake associations/clubs and park facilities to ascertain an estimate of the numbers of vessel that use the lake annually and to develop an accurate list of facilities’ inventory for the lake.   

 

Based on survey responses, it is estimated that there are approximately 3,100 vessel and PWC launches on the lake each season.   For example, one of the largest launch sites is Lee’s County Park Marina which launches 6,000 boats and 450 PWCs annually.  Of those launches, approximately 70% are repeat launchers so it is estimated that 1,935 or approximately 60% of the 3,100 total vessels and PWCs launched are done at Lee’s Park.  The Hopatcong State Park is the next largest launch site with 1,500 launches in 2007 and 1,685 in 2006.  The State Park did not estimate its repeat launch users, so an estimate of 600 was included for inclusion in the total count.  Therefore, launches from Lee’s Park and Hopatcong State Park account for 82% of the vessel and PWC launch count as reported by the marinas and park facilities. 

                                                  ii.      Fishing – With the probable exception of the Delaware River, Lake Hopatcong is home to the greatest variety of game fish species of any waterway in New Jersey.  Several species of trout are stocked each year, although they have not typically held over and survived the summers, due to an absence of cold, deep, oxygenated pockets of water in the lake. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, sunfish, yellow and white perch, rock bass, crappie, chain pickerel, channel catfish, bullhead, and carp all inhabit the lake. Eels also have been caught. Hybrid striped bass, walleye, and most recently, muskellunge have all been stocked successfully within the last few decades and now are thriving. Catfish also are stocked from time to time. The main forage is the abundant alewife herring, (Clupea vernalis), the basis of the lake’s fish food chain. (Source:  Wikipedia)

                                                iii.      Swimming and Park Usage – The Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Natural Resource Sciences prepared the “Economic Significance of Lake Hopatcong” report in November 2008.  The information below is an excerpt from that report. 

The data presented in Table 1 as provided by the State Park Services (SPS) represents visits to the Hopatcong State Park for the most recent ten years and not specifically to the Lake, and the Lake probably has many visitors who do not pass through the Park, e.g. those who use private moorings that are open to the public. Unfortunately, there appears to be no data on such “non-Park” Lake visitors, making it impossible to include them in this analysis; the analysis therefore understates lake usage.

TABLE 1:  Visit Data for Hopatcong State Park (000)

FY

Visits

FY

Visits

1999

221

2004

181

2000

184

2005

188

2001

150

2006

200

2002

178

2007

212

2003

258

2008

199

Average

197

Maximum

258

Avg. excl. max / min

195

Minimum

150

Median

194

Midpoint

204

Source:  NJ DEP Bureau of Natural Resource Sciences the “Economic Significance of Lake Hopatcong” Draft Report, November 2008

As can be seen, the number of visits has fluctuated substantially from year to year, driven in large part by weather conditions. In particular, the severe drought of 2001 depressed water levels and attendance; restoration of lake levels and the delay of a major drawdown of lake levels scheduled for 2003, coupled with good fall weather, substantially increased visit volume in that year.

·         Economic Significance –

The Department of Environmental Protection prepared a report titled: The Economic Significance of Lake Hopatcong in November 2008.  Subject to the various limitations listed in the study, the recreational value of Lake Hopatcong was estimated to be $1.3 million per year and the Lakes contribution to New Jersey’s Gross State Product was estimated to be at least $2.7 million per year.  Other real values of Lake Hopatcong include: increased property value as a result of the Lake, its value as an emergency water supply and other ecoservice values such as for flood control.  While these values are not easily quantified, the Department estimated the total annual value of Lake Hopatcong to be between 8.4 and 13.6 million dollars.  It is important to note that much of this economic value is directly correlated to water quality.  For example, if water quality did not support swimming or fish the recreational value of the Lake, the increased property value associated with the Lake, and its potential utility as an emergency water supply would all be lost.  Much of the Commission’s work is dedicated to protecting and restoring the water quality of Lake Hopatcong.  Therefore, these economic benefits to the regional and State economy should be recognized when considering the operating cost of the Commission, and the additional cost of maintaining best management practices installed by the Commission.[1]  Conversely, it must be recognized that these benefits may cease in total or in part if funding for the Commission is not stabilized.

 

 

3.       Mission Statement

 

Protect, preserve and enhance Lake Hopatcong and the surrounding watershed areas.  Ensure that the Lake continues to be maintained as a scenic natural resource that can be fully utilized by stakeholders and surrounding communities. Work in conjunction with the state to improve the lake’s water quality through LHC sponsored programs and collaboration with stakeholders and surrounding constituencies. Utilize outreach programs to educate the public and increase the visibility and utilization of the lake.

 

4.        Objectives

·         Continue to implement non-point source pollution programs

·         Monitor and track water quality

·         Identify and implement specific programs to improve water quality

·         Maintain and improve the recreational quality of the Lake

·         Identify ways to provide consistent funding for the Lake Hopatcong Commission

·         Increase the visibility of the lake as a destination point for family day trips and outings

·         Increase collaboration with key stakeholders to help execute LHC plans and programs

·         Review current activities to ensure that they are cost effective and most efficiently utilize the limited resources available to the Commission.

·         Identify and implement new programs should incremental funds become available

·         Develop and implement a plan to establish a stable funding source.

 

5.       Issues Near and Long Term

·         Ability to meet the objectives of the LHC due to a lack of consistent funding and the inability to identify and agree to a sustainable funding source.

 

·         When the data collected by the Commission demonstrates that water quality meets the Water Quality Standards and has achieved the targets established in the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) established for the Lake, it will become more difficult for the Commission to successfully compete for additional grant money.  During 2008 the mid-Lake sampling station (Station #2) showed reductions in phosphorus and chlorophyll (a) concentrations that have achieved the targets established by the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) established for the Lake.  However, many of the coves of Lake Hopatcong continue to experience elevated phosphorus and chlorophyll (a) concentrations due to relatively large, urbanized drainage areas and poor flushing.  These areas will require continued and aggressive nonpoint source controls.  Ultimately the Commission’s success in restoring water quality in these areas will depend on the availability of grant funding to implement additional best management practices and efforts to reduce other phosphorus sources such as lawn fertilizers and poorly functioning septic systems. 

 

·         Best management practices installed by the Lake Hopatcong Commission will require routine maintenanceThis is a long term cost that may be addressed by the municipalities as part of their municipal separate storm sewer system maintenance programs or perhaps by reestablishing the former shared services system whereby LHC employees participate in storm water management activities with the municipalities and counties as more particularly set forth in Section 2, supra.  The latter approach would seem to more effectively implement and coordinate the objectives of the Lake Hopatcong Protection Act.

 

·         Once appropriate TMDL levels are achieved the Commission will have to create a team of volunteers who will be charged with monitoring the long term quality of the lake water.

 

6.       Prioritized Action Plan and Performance

 

A) Conduct water quality and water quantity monitoring

 

The Commission presently conducts ambient water quality monitoring through its contract with Princeton Hydro. Princeton Hydro conducts water quality sampling at eleven stations throughout Lake Hopatcong and provides an interim and annual report discussing its findings.  The sampling program collects information on “conventional pollutants” such as nutrients, dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, specific conductivity and clarity.  Princeton Hydro also collects information on chlorophyll (a) concentrations, phytoplankton and zooplankton.  Princeton Hydro also collects project specific water quality monitoring information designed to respond to specific research needs (nutrients in stormwater resulting from fertilizer application) or to document the effectiveness of best management practices installed under federal or State grants.

 

The cost of the monitoring program is approximately $40,000.00 per year. This program has been funded out of Commission operating budget; however, the Commission has included the monitoring costs for the next three years as part of their SFY10 319(h) grant application submitted to NJ DEP on September 1, 2009.  Provided that the Commission can continue to compete successfully for these grants the long term monitoring program should survive.  The Commission should be able to compete successfully as the Department of Environmental Protection has identified Lake Hopatcong as a priority for meeting the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) watershed restoration goals.

 

Continue restoration projects including storm water management system retrofits to reduce phosphorus (See objective C).  During the five year draw down all known outfalls into the Lake should be surveyed for accumulated sediment.  Those that exhibit sediment accumulation should be targeted for additional stormwater management and the sediment deltas should be removed to create a near shore sediment sink or fore bay that will trap sediment as it enters the lake where it can be more easily removed.

 

Long term:  At that time a qualified volunteer monitoring effort should replace the Princeton Hydro contract as a means for providing reliable long term data for the Commission.

 

United States Geological Services (USGS) also maintains a gauging station downstream at Lake Hopatcong which provides information on water quantity.  The annual operating cost of this gauge is approximately $21,000.

 

Status: Continuous –                           Ongoing

Cost (est.):                                             $61,000.00

Funding Source:                                   Federal 319(h) NPS grants, State CBT watershed grants in aid

 

B) Assess present and future land use and development impacts on Lake Hopatcong

 

The primary water quality impairment in Lake Hopatcong is excessive aquatic plant and algal growth, which growth causes diurnal dissolved oxygen and pH swings in water quality that affects the aquatic community and affects the aesthetics and recreational uses of the Lake.  As is the case for most freshwater systems, phosphorus is the limiting nutrient and the amount of phosphorus available determines how much aquatic plant growth will occur. The Department of Environmental Protection developed a TMDL for Lake Hopatcong that assessed the existing condition of the Lake, the relative contribution of phosphorus from various sources, the reduction in phosphorus load needed to restore water quality in the Lake and the allocation of that load among the sources.  The TMDL determined that phosphorus concentrations in Lake Hopatcong would have to be reduced from .031 mg/l to .020 mg/l in order to eliminate excessive aquatic plant growth and restore water quality.  This means a reduction in the total annual phosphorus load entering the lake from 8,097 kg to 4,800 kg would be required.  The TMDL did not assess future loads from continuing development of the watershed.

 

This should be a one time work effort.  This would require looking at each municipality’s zoning ordinances as they affect Lake Hopatcong.  If these plans exist perhaps they should be reexamined to consider the effect of the Highlands Act on future development and loads.  Water Quality impacts of present development is known and both a TMDL and refined TMDL estimating source loads of TP have been completed.  Each municipality should have a stormwater management plan as required under their MS4 permits that should predict stormwater impacts associated with future development allowed by zoning.  Municipal stormwater management and nonpoint source pollution control plans were also required by N.J.S.A. 58:4B-7.  If such a report doesn’t exist, it should not be difficult to pull a report together.

 

Status: One time – Partially Completed

Cost: 

 

C)  Develop plans, strategies, funding mechanisms and ordinances to protect, maintain and enhance Lake Hopatcong

 

Princeton Hydro prepared the Refined Phosphorus TMDL and Restoration Plan for Lake Hopatcong and Lake Musconetcong, Upper Musconetcong River Watershed, Morris and Sussex Counties, New Jersey for the Department of Environmental Protection in June 2006.  This report built upon the earlier work prepared by the Department and refined phosphorus loads from the various sub-basins that drain to Lake Hopatcong.  The report identifies those sub-basins that contribute disproportionately high loads of phosphorus and identifies stormwater retrofits that can be implemented to reduce the stormwater phosphorus loads.  The report lacks simple cost estimates for the various BMPs but they may be able to be translated from general information in the report.

It should be noted that water quality data collected by Princeton Hydro indicates that ambient phosphorus concentrations in the Lake have been greatly reduced and are approaching the .020 mg/l target established by the TMDL.  However, certain areas of the Lake continue to experience excessive aquatic plant growth, such as the Upper Lake area in Jefferson (J-B, J-C and J-D), Crescent Cove and River Styx area (H-B) and the Hopatcong Cove area (H-A and R-B) of the Lake.  The Commission’s construction of structural stormwater BMPs to control phosphorus should be targeted at these poorly flushed and shallow coves where problems persist.  An estimate of the cost of installing BMPs at these locations is about $3 million (assuming about $50,000 per BMP, $20,000 for sand filters and porous paving).

 

The report does not identify strategies for addressing or minimizing potential new sources of phosphorus.  This information may or may not already be provided in the municipal stormwater management plans.  Essentially the Commission should identify special management measures needed to offset future development impacts.  For example bio-retention basins, rain gardens and other stormwater management measures that reduce nutrient inputs from new development.  A septic management program is needed for areas that remain on individual subsurface disposal systems.  Municipalities that have eliminated septic systems should be recognized here.

 

Status:                    One time – Partially completed

Cost:                       $6,000,000 (EST.)

Source:                   Federal 319(h) NPS grants and State CBT watershed grants-in-aid

 

D) Make recommendations to NJDEP with regard to watershed, water supply and other plans

 

Following the five-foot winter draw down in 2009, recovery of the water surface elevation of the Lake throughout the spring was slower than anticipated.  These events highlighted the need to revisit the Lake Hopatcong Water Level Management Plan prepared by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry.  The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will convene an advisory group to participate in the reexamination process.  The Lake Hopatcong Commission will necessarily be represented on that committee.

 

Long term:  The LHC will continue to review and comment upon various watershed, local and regional stormwater management, and water supply plans for potential impacts and opportunities and to provide comments and recommendations to the Department of Environmental Protection concerning the relationship of those plans to Lake Hopatcong.

 

Status:                    Continuous

Cost:                       Commission members’ time, though certain technical issues may require outside assistance

Funding Source:   Commission members to provide professional services

 

E) Recommend appropriate legislation to protect, restore and enhance Lake Hopatcong

 

The LHC will review legislation introduced that may have an impact on Lake Hopatcong, the LHC or its operations.  When determined necessary by the Commissioners the LHC will develop recommendations and required legislation to assist in implementing the Lake Hopatcong Watershed Restoration Plan.  In addition, the Commission will seek to work with the State Legislature to find consistent funding for the Commission.

 

Status: Intermittent

Cost: Unknown

Funding Source: Commission members time

 

F) Encourage and assist in the establishment of special local improvement districts

 

As noted previously, the LHC continues to compete for grant funding for the implementation of best management practices.  Structural solutions to reducing phosphorus and sediment loads, such as manufactured treatment devices, and infiltration basins, all require routine maintenance.  At present the Commission has funded the installation of several water quality devices at various locations around the Lake.  These include a Suntree baffle box on East Shore Drive in Jefferson, a Suntree baffle box at Yacht Club Drive in Jefferson, a Aqua-Filter at Castle Rock Road in Jefferson, an Aqua-Filter at Crescent Cove Beach Club in Hopatcong.  A Suntree baffle box at Singac Drive in Roxbury and an Suntree baffle box in Mount Arlington and another Aqua-Filter at Crescent Cove Beach Club will be installed as soon as possible.   The Commission will work with the member municipalities to identify the maintenance requirements and costs associated with the various devices and assess alternatives to reduce those costs.  However, based on the current arrangements with the municipalities, the municipalities will perform the maintenance and are responsible for any associated maintenance cost to replace the media filter for the associated stormwater devices.  If the filter media is not replaced as necessary, the pollutant removal rate will likely decrease. 

 

Maintenance of these devices can occur in one of three ways: First, the maintenance could be performed by municipal department of public works crews in each of the respective municipalities.  Costs associated with maintenance would be passed on to the full tax base as part of the municipal budget process.

 

Second, a stormwater utility could be established in the Lake Hopatcong watershed.  Under a stormwater utility a stormwater utility fee and billing would be established.  Several models are available.  Most base the stormwater utility rate on the amount of impervious surface, the size of the lot or the amount of lawn area.  This is similar to the “watershed tax” suggested by some members of the public during the 2008 debate over boater fees to help fund the Commission.  Establishment of a stormwater utility would likely require special legislation. 

 

Lastly, if the Commission determines to hire permanent staff to operate and maintain weed harvesting equipment, those staff could be dedicated during the non-weed harvesting season to maintain stormwater infrastructure.  However, several factors must be taken into consideration including: the lack of maintenance equipment such as a vacuum truck, the time required to maintain the harvesting equipment which would reduce staff availability for stormwater maintenance in the off-season, and the general unavailability of staff to perform maintenance during the weed harvesting season.

 

Status:                                                    One Time project

Cost:                                                       TBD

Funding/Resources Source:               Commission members staff time

 

 

G) And H) Review and provide recommendations concerning State and local permit applications and prospective master plan and zoning changes

 

The Lake Hopatcong Commission presently reviews and provides recommendations on applications for local construction permits and site plan and subdivision approvals.  The average number of reviews per month is approximately four applications.  This service is presently provided by John Risko, P.E., who also serves as municipal engineer for Sussex County.

 

Status:                                                    Ongoing

Cost:                                                       TBD

Funding Source:                                   Professional service provided by members staff

 

I) Conduct manage and coordinate restoration projects including but not limited to weed harvesting, dredging and boat sewage pump outs.

 

Since its creation, the majority of the Commission’s standards operating budget has been spent on weed harvesting activities.[2]  Upon its creation the Commission purchased six weed harvesters.  The Commission also owns two transport barges to offload the harvesters, two conveyors to transfer weeds into trucks for disposal and two dump trucks.  A third dump truck was transferred from the Lake Hopatcong Regional Planning Board.  Through the 2008 summer season the Commission employed four full-time and four seasonal employees in support of the weed harvesting operation.  Typically in the off season these staff primarily performed maintenance of the harvesting equipment, some water quality sampling and catch basin maintenance through shared services agreements with the municipalities and Sussex County.  In November 2008 all of the field staff was laid-off due to the lack of funding.

 

During the 2009 summer season, only $68,000 was available to the Lake Hopatcong Commission due to the lack of a Legislative appropriation.  This money was used to rehire the field crew foreman on a seasonal basis ($26,000), for parts and equipment to make the harvesters operational ($32,000) and for insurance ($10,000).  Each of the four member municipalities provided staff to maintain or operate the equipment.  During the 2009 season only two of the six harvesters were operational.   The LHC received approval from the NJ DEP to rehire an additional seasonal employee since the liability insurance cost was less than anticipated. 

 

The following information concerning the harvesting operation is based on an interview of the foreman and personal observation.  In 2009, maintenance on the two machines to get them up and running required a total of twelve man-weeks.  The harvesters have a top speed of 3 knots when loaded and 5 knots when empty.  In heavy weed growth, the harvesters’ hopper can be filled in an hour.  Therefore, keeping the harvesters operating efficiently requires the use of an off-loading barge to avoid harvesting time lost in transit.  It takes an hour round trip to dispose of the weeds at the Morris County recycling facility.  It takes a crew of four to load, transfer and offload the harvesters for winter storage.  For safety reasons at least two persons should be on site at all times during maintenance of the harvester, though more personnel would be required to move the machines in and out of the maintenance bays.  A field staff foreman or supervisor, with experience maintaining and operating the weed harvesters as well as experience with weed growth patterns and the bathymetry of Lake Hopatcong is critical to the safe and efficient operation of the weed harvesting program.

 

Attached is a cost spreadsheet for three different levels of field staffing for consideration by the Commission including two, three and five full time field staff.  It is important to note that at the lower levels of staffing, municipal assistance would be required to move and maintain the weed harvesting equipment.  For example with two field staff persons, and recognizing that vacation for those staff would likely be taken during the off-season, it would greatly reduce the amount of time when both employees would be present and thus reduce the time when maintenance could be accomplished.  Further under both the two and three employee scenarios, additional assistance would be required from municipal workers to move the harvesters in and out of the maintenance bays, potentially leading to more staff down time.  At these lower staff levels it may be more cost efficient to contract out the maintenance of the equipment. Additionally, there would be less available staff time available to support other activities noted above such as maintaining stormwater infrastructure.

 

Status:                                                     Ongoing

Cost:                                                       $616,000 per year

Funding Source:                                   State appropriation – User fees

 

J) Conduct public education & increase visibility

 

Cost effectively expanding educational programs will continue to be a key goal for the LHC.

·         Programs underway to educate the public include the Commission’s publications budget, staffing an office to answer questions from constituencies, and maintenance of  the Commission’s web site and  the Commission’s “Lake Friendly fertilizer “ campaign are all part of achieving this objective

·         To be visibility of the program Work with student’s from a local college to develop a marketing program for the Lake. The winning campaign will be selected by the board and will be implemented by the Commission in 2010 and beyond. The program will also invite students to explore ways to improve the impact and usability of the website as well as explore the role of social media in promoting the lake Hopatcong.

·         Public education is a grant eligible activity of the commission as part of its broader nonpoint source pollution control strategy. 

 

Effective public education requires that the Commission maintain a presence at Lake Hopatcong and maintain its ability to conduct public meetings, maintain a web-site and telephone, and successfully compete for grant funding.  Consequently, under this category we include all of the Commission’s administrative expense.  The Commission is presently staffed by one full time administrator.  The administrator maintains the Commission’s office including answering the phone, receiving correspondence, preparing responses, tracking invoices and payments, preparing the Commission’s meeting agenda, publishing required public notices, preparing the Commission’s meeting minutes, posting meeting minutes on the Commission’s web-site and general web-site maintenance, coordinating activities under the Commission’s three active grants, preparing required reports and requests for reimbursement to the grant agencies and preparing and coordinating new grant applications.  All of these administrative costs associated with the maintenance of the Commission’s office are included below.  At present these costs are being paid through State and federal grants.  In the long-term, when water quality has been restored, the Commission will have difficulty competing for additional grant funds, and an alternate funding source for the Commission’s administrative costs will be necessary.  Without the administrator the Commission would cease to function.

 

Status:                    Ongoing

Cost:                       $184,055.00

Funding:                Federal and State grants

 

K) Establish advisory committees

 

The Commission routinely forms subcommittees to draw upon the expertise of its members and others in the community as needed.

 

Status:                    Ongoing

Cost:                       Nominal included with office expenses

Funding:                Commission members’ time

 

 

L) Establishment of Commission offices and facilities

 

·         Reduce administrative costs by utilizing office space offered by the Lake Hopatcong State park. This move saves the LHC approximately $25,000 annually.

 

·         Utilize additional storage space offered by the State. The State can provide a storage facility for the weed harvesting equipment for a nominal rental fee of $1.00 per year. 

 

 

Status:                                    Ongoing

Cost:                                       $1.00

Funding Source:                   Grants

 

 

 


LAKE HOPATCONG COMMISSION

 Operating Budget Detail Based on 2007 Actual

 

 

The purpose of the budget detail is to provide an estimated cost for weed harvesting based on SFY2009 actual data.  Accordingly, based on the data, the estimate for harvesting operation is $439.8K.

 

Commission Operating Expenses:                     Commission Weed Harvesting:

 

Salary (1)*:                            $44,256.73                              Salaries (4)*:                         $177,026.91

Fringe:*                                 $24,351.84                              Fringe*:                                 $97,407.36

Insurance*:                           $16,346.88                              Insurance*:                           $65,387.52

Office Supplies:                    $840.27                                   Seasonal Help:                      $37,611.98

Other Supplies:                     $500.00                                                                                   Subtotal:                $377,433.77

Postage:                                 $1125.70                 Supplies:                                $4,353.29

Temp Services:                     $430.00                                   Materials:                              $2,223.35

Copiers:                                 $2,632.72                                Cell Phones:                          $2,719.15

Computers:                            $1,705.00                                Medical Exams:                     $450.00

Payroll:                                   $2263.39                 Travel:                                    $547.27

                                                Subtotal $94,452.53              Training:                                $259.00

Phone:                                    $2,800.00                                Weed disposal:                    $8,715.00

Custodial:                              $960.00                                   Vehicle Maintenance:          $29,673.99

Utilities:                                 $2,814.62                                Clothing:                                $474.98

Rent:                                       $24,482.29                              Fuel:                                       $13,043.98

                                                Subtotal $31,056.91                                                              Subtotal:                $62,460.01             

Scientific Supplies:              $1105.19

Scientific Devices:               $5,094.00                                Total:                                      $439,893.78

Lab Fees:                               $597.00

Technical Services:              $39,590.48

Publishing:                            $1,950.57

                                                Subtotal $48,337.24

Subscriptions:                      $593.05

Dues:                                      $756.36

Meetings:                              $284.90

                                                Subtotal $1,634.31

 

Total                                       $175,480.99

 

 

* Figures estimated by dividing total expenditures in category by number of employees (5) and distributing proportionately by number of employees in each category.

Full Time Salaries (5): $221,283.64 (44,856.73/person)

Fringe and Indirect: $121,759.20 (24,351.84/person)

Insurance: $81,734.50 (16,346.88/person)


LAKE HOPATCONG COMMISSION
Business Plan Projected Budget

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Full-Time

 

3 Full-Time

 

5 Full-Time

 

 

 

 

1000 · PERSONAL SERVICES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1200 · SALARIES AND WAGES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1211 · Regular

115,510.00

 

165,300.00

 

245,722.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

1231 · Seasonal (14.50 x 900 hours)

104,400.00

 

91,350.00

 

65,250.00

 

 

 

 

 

Total 1200 · SALARIES AND WAGES

219,910.00

 

256,650.00

 

310,972.00

 

 

 

 

 

1900 · EMPLOYER BENEFITS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1911 · Social Security

13,800

 

16,100

 

19,500

 

 

 

 

 

 

1912 · Medicare

3,300

 

3,800

 

4,600

 

 

 

 

 

 

1921 · Health

32,130.00

 

50,885.00

 

80,325.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

1931 · Pension/Life

5,000.00

 

15,000.00

 

25,000.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

1941 · Unemployment

4,500

 

5,300

 

6,400

 

 

 

 

 

 

1951 · Disability (short term)

1,200

 

1,400

 

1,700

 

 

 

 

 

 

1961 · Dental

2,394.00

 

3,881.00

 

6,528.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

1991 · Other

100.00

 

150.00

 

250.00

 

 

 

 

 

Total 1900 · EMPLOYER BENEFITS

62,424.00

 

96,516.00

 

144,303.00

 

 

 

 

Total 1000 · PERSONAL SERVICES

282,334.00

 

353,166.00

 

455,275.00

 

 

 

 

2000 · MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2100 · PRINTING AND OFFICE SUPPLIES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2131 · Office Supplies

840.00

 

840.00

 

840.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

2191 · Other

500.00

 

500.00

 

500.00

 

 

 

 

 

Total 2100 · PRINTING AND OFFICE SUPPLIES

1,340.00

 

1,340.00

 

1,340.00

 

 

 

 

 

2200 · VEHICULAR SUPPLIES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2211 · Gasoline (oil)

14,000.00

 

14,000.00

 

14,000.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

2221 · Tires

600.00

 

600.00

 

600.00

 

 

 

 

 

Total 2200 · VEHICULAR SUPPLIES

14,600.00

 

14,600.00

 

14,600.00

 

 

 

 

 

2400 · HOUSEHOLD AND CLOTHING SUPPLIE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2441 · Clothing

150.00

 

450.00

 

750.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

2471 · Maintenance Supplies

125.00

 

250.00

 

500.00

 

 

 

 

 

Total 2400 · HOUSEHOLD AND CLOTHING SUPPLIE

275.00

 

700.00

 

1,250.00

 

 

 

 

 

2500 · FUEL AND UTILITY SUPPLIES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2521 · Electric

160.00

 

168.00

 

176.00

 

 

 

 

 

Total 2500 · FUEL AND UTILITY SUPPLIES

160.00

 

168.00

 

176.00

 

 

 

 

 

2600 · OTHER MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2631 · Scientific Supplies (field)

1,500.00

 

1,500.00

 

1,500.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

2691 · Other

2,300.00

 

2,300.00

 

2,300.00

 

 

 

 

 

Total 2600 · OTHER MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES

3,800.00

 

3,800.00

 

3,800.00

 

 

 

 

Total 2000 · MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES

20,175.00

 

20,608.00

 

21,166.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Full-Time

 

3 Full-Time

 

5 Full-Time

 

 

 

 

3000 · SERVICES OTHER THAN PERSONAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3001 · TRAVEL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3011 · Mileage

1,000.00

 

1,000.00

 

1,000.00

 

 

 

 

 

Total 3001 · TRAVEL

1,000.00

 

1,000.00

 

1,000.00

 

 

 

 

 

3100 · TELEPHONE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3111 · Basic Service

1,800.00

 

1,800.00

 

1,800.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

3121 · Internet Service

960.00

 

960.00

 

960.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

3131 · Long Distance

2,300.00

 

2,300.00

 

2,300.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

3151 · Mobile Phones

700.00

 

1,400.00

 

2,800.00

 

 

 

 

 

Total 3100 · TELEPHONE

5,760.00

 

6,460.00

 

7,860.00

 

 

 

 

 

3200 · POSTAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3211 · General Fees

700.00

 

700.00

 

700.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

3241 · Parcel Delivery Fees (UPS,FedE

200.00

 

200.00

 

200.00

 

 

 

 

 

Total 3200 · POSTAGE

900.00

 

900.00

 

900.00

 

 

 

 

 

3300 · INSURANCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3311 · Insurance Pckg (auto,liab,etc)

46,000.00

 

46,000.00

 

46,000.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

3351 · Public Officials

3,500.00

 

3,500.00

 

3,500.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

3361 · Workers Compensation

6,000.00

 

10,000.00

 

14,000.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

3391 · Other (Pollution)

12,000.00

 

12,000.00

 

12,000.00

 

 

 

 

 

Total 3300 · INSURANCE

67,500.00

 

71,500.00

 

75,500.00

 

 

 

 

 

3400 · INFORMATION PROCESSING, DEVELO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3411 · Payroll Processing

2,300.00

 

2,300.00

 

2,300.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

3430 · Software Purchases

250.00

 

250.00

 

250.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

3432 · Software Support/Maintenance

250.00

 

250.00

 

250.00

 

 

 

 

 

Total 3400 · INFORMATION PROCESSING, DEVELO

2,800.00

 

2,800.00

 

2,800.00

 

 

 

 

 

3600 · PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3611 · Legal fees (incl. title)

0.00

 

0.00

 

0.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

3621 · Laboratory Services

600.00

 

600.00

 

600.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

3631 · Technical Services

40,000.00

 

40,000.00

 

40,000.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

3661 · Medical Examinations

600.00

 

600.00

 

600.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

3671 · Temporary Personnel

430.00

 

430.00

 

430.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

3691 · Other

600.00

 

600.00

 

600.00

 

 

 

 

 

Total 3600 · PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

42,230.00

 

42,230.00

 

42,230.00

 

 

 

 

 

3800 · OTHER SERVICES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3821 · Publication legal notices/ads

1,000.00

 

1,000.00

 

1,000.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

3890 · Weed Disposal

8,700.00

 

8,700.00

 

8,700.00

 

 

 

 

 

Total 3800 · OTHER SERVICES

9,700.00

 

9,700.00

 

9,700.00

 

 

 

 

Total 3000 · SERVICES OTHER THAN PERSONAL

129,890.00

 

134,590.00

 

139,990.00


 

 

 

 

 

 

4200 · MAINTENANCE OF VEHICLES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4211 · Routine Maintenance

18,100.00

 

18,100.00

 

18,100.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

4251 · Repairs – Owned Vehicles

10,200.00

 

10,200.00

 

10,200.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

4291 · Other

1,400.00

 

1,400.00

 

1,400.00

 

 

 

 

 

Total 4200 · MAINTENANCE OF VEHICLES

29,700.00

 

29,700.00

 

29,700.00

 

 

 

 

 

4700 · RENT – OTHER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4722 · Postage Meter

1,100.00

 

1,100.00

 

1,100.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

4723 · Copiers

1,500.00

 

1,500.00

 

1,500.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

4791 · Other – Vehicles/Equip

1,500.00

 

1,500.00

 

1,500.00

 

 

 

 

 

Total 4700 · RENT – OTHER

4,100.00

 

4,100.00

 

4,100.00

 

 

 

 

Total 4000 · MAINTENANCE AND FIXED CHARGES

33,800.00

 

33,800.00

 

33,800.00

 

 

 

Total Expense

466,199.00

 

542,164.00

 

650,231.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assumptions:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Includes estimates for 2, 3 or 5 full-time employees and additional full-time seasonal employees for a total workforce of 10 employees

 



[1] Many of the stormwater best management practices implemented by the Commission, such as baffle boxes and bioretention basins, intended to reduce phosphorus loads entering the Lake, will require additional periodic maintenance to ensure that they maintain removal efficiencies.  The cost associated with maintenance of these improvements to the stormwater infrastructure may be absorbed by the municipalities surrounding the Lake.

[2]  For the purposes of this discussion, the Commission’s standard operating budget does not include nonpoint source pollution control grants including the federal Targeted Watershed Grant ($745,000), federal 319(h) grant ($844,500), or the CBT watershed grant ($1,055,000).

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