The state Department of Environmental Protection will reduce the water flow out of Lake Hopatcong from 5.3 million gallons per day to 4.2 million gallons per day.
The reduction, announced by Deputy Director Amy Cradic at the Lake Hopatcong Commission meeting on Monday, will take place because the lake still stands more than a foot and a half below the dam’s gage height, causing local marinas and other lake businesses to suffer as the lake’s active season begins.
Commissioner Daniel McCarthy of Hopatcong took Cradic and other DEP representatives on a tour of the lake during the day on Monday, pointing to the empty dock slips at marinas and the lack of water in some of the most important fish-spawning areas at the lake’s edges.
Cradic told the commission and the dozens of residents in attendance that the visible water shortage and the cool weather pattern inclines the DEP to return the outflow by more than 1 million gallons of water per day. The dam will not be shuttered completely because of concerns about aquatic life downstream, specifically in the 1.4-mile connector stream between Lake Hopatcong and Lake Muscanetcong.