Government

New Research Gets a Grip on Hopatcong Docks

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0ffc66fdc101acb6973b_dock.jpg

ROXBURY, NJ – New research by Drew University could make life easier for those who regulate Lake Hopatcong docks as well as for dock owners in need of permits, according to the state.

Discussing what it called a “milestone” piece of research, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said the survey of docks on the lake will be a “key planning and enforcement tool.” It will help both the DEP and the Lake Hopatcong Commission’s new “dock committee,” a panel that will review regulations relating to docks, said the statement.

Drew conducted the dock survey, plotting the structures with a geographic information system (GIS). The DEP said the work created first comprehensive GIS survey of docks on the lake.

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“This gives us a current and accurate inventory of docks for the entire lake and provides a very useful tool in helping us manage the lake,” said Mark Texel, director of the state Park Service, a division of the DEP. “It is especially important because the state has control over these docks, and with the growth of dock construction in recent years we did not have a current inventory.”

The DEP believes the information will not only help in dock regulation enforcement, but it should also help expedite requests for new dock construction and existing dock maintenance.

The research found there are 2,183 docks on Lake Hopatcong. It lists detailed information about each of them, including their lengths, owner information, lots and blocks and street addresses. “It also provides a breakdown of docks by the four municipalities surrounding Lake Hopatcong – Hopatcong, Jefferson, Mount Arlington and Roxbury – and divides them into residential and commercial structures,” said the DEP.

Hopatcong State Park Superintendent Emily Rich said the research will save an enormous amount of time and effort. “Before this work was completed, we had to get in a car and drive around the lake to find and inspect a dock each time a permit application was submitted to us,” she said. “With this information now compiled into one database, we can perform these tasks much more efficiently.”

Rich said Drew University’s work will “provide big savings in time and money for the state and expedite reviews for lake residents and businesses.”

The work was done by Drew students Maxwell Dolphin and Daniel Ratyniak under the supervision of Drew Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Lisa Jordan. It was coordinated by the Lake Hopatcong Foundation’s coordinator of grants and projects Donna Macalle-Holly.

“This is a fantastic example of what great work can be done when a variety of groups come together for a common purpose,” said foundation president Jessica Murphy. “Drew University put together an excellent report and the state Park Service is able to instantly put that study to work on behalf of Lake Hopatcong residents.”

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