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Lake Hopatcong Five-Foot Drawdown – Timeline and Procedures

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By Lake Hopatcong Foundation Jess Murphy - This year, the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection will be moving forward with its five-year, 60-inch drawdown procedure to allow access to waterfront structures for inspection and maintenance.

Residents can contact Hopatcong State Park at 973-398-7010 to inquire about needed permits for work to waterfront structures.

The drawdown also allows for cleanup of the lakebed and it also may reduce the aquatic weeds the following season. A Lake-Wide Cleanup is being organized for November 3.  The timing of the drawdown is intended to allow for repairs before winter weather sets in, with refill beginning early enough to reduce the likelihood of impact on the lake’s water level the following boating season.

The target date for the lake to fully drop 60 inches (five feet) is Nov. 1, with a drawdown rate of 1.5 inches per day. If the lake level is at nine feet, the drawdown will begin on Sept. 22, though that date of initiation will be adjusted based on the water level reading at the Hopatcong State Park dam, with it starting one day earlier or later for each 1.5-inch deviation from the nine-foot mark.

Note: Lake Hopatcong is currently at 9.1 feet, which means that the drawdown may start before September 22.

According to the NJDEP’s Lake Hopatcong Water Level Management Plan, the drawdown schedule was designed to remain at the four-foot level at the dam long enough to allow reasonable opportunity to complete repairs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15. After that, the refill will begin and continue until hard ice is formed on the lake, or the lake reaches the level of the regular drawdown of 26 inches.

More information about the five-year 60-inch drawdown can be found in NJDEP’s Lake Hopatcong Water Level Management Plan

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