TRENTON, N.J. – Under legislation signed into law on Friday, $10 million in grants will be available for lake conservation and management efforts, including the mitigation of the notorious harmful algal blooms.
The bill (A5778/S3618), co-sponsored by Assemblywomen Aura Dunn and BettyLou DeCroce, prioritizes projects that involve lakes with public access.
“Proper lake management can’t happen without dedicated funding. This is a big win for Lake Hopatcong and our region, which benefits from the lake’s recreational activity,” Dunn (R-Morris) said.
Under the new law, qualified entities like the Greenwood Lake Commission, the Lake Hopatcong Commission, the Deal Lake Commission and the Lake Topanemus Park Commission, may apply to the state DEP for grants to help pay for certain maintenance costs associated with lake recreation and conservation.
“This is an important investment for our lake communities, tourists, and businesses. Today we celebrate this funding to preserve one of our region’s greatest assets, Lake Hopatcong,” DeCroce (R-Morris) said. “Future lake closures from harmful algal blooms can and will be prevented, thanks to this new law.”
Harmful algal blooms occur when colonies of microscopic algae or bacteria grow at exponential rates and produce toxins harmful to humans and animals. When the blue-green algae concentrates rise above the state’s safety threshold, the DEP closes the lakes to recreational activities and swimming.
The law appropriates the grant money for fiscal year 2022.