TRENTON, NJ - The state will provide $500,000 annually to preserve and maintain Lake Hopatcong, thanks to proposals signed into law Monday by Gov. Chris Christie in his last day in office.

One of the new law's sponsors was state Assemblyman Anthony Bucco, who also serves as Roxbury's township counsel. Roxbury is one of four municipalities bordering Lake Hopatcong, the state's largest lake.

“Lake Hopatcong is a powerful economic engine with a 38-mile shoreline,” said Bucco," who described himself, in a statement, as "a long-time advocate for state assistance to ensure Lake Hopatcong remains a recreational and environmental treasure."

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Bucco said he's long sought a way of “protecting the lake and the millions of dollars of revenue generated each year from vacationers, boaters and recreational fishermen from across the state."

The Assembly bill was also sponsored by state assemblymen Parker Space and Jay Webber and assemblywomen BettyLou DeCroce and Gail Phoebus. It was paired with a twin state Senate bill sponsored by senators Anthony Bucco, Steven Oroho and Joe Pennacchio. 

Money for the new Lake Hopatcong Fund will come from boat license fees. It will be dispersed by the Lake Hopatcong Commission.

“Boating and fishing on the lake have been threatened in recent years by persistent weed growth that has overwhelmed many areas," said the assemblyman. "Low water levels from sedimentation and droughts, like the one that disrupted the boating season in 2015, have also plagued the lake in recent years. This funding is crucial to ensure that people will be able to enjoy Lake Hopatcong for many years to come.”

“This funding for Lake Hopatcong is well deserved,” said Pennacchio. “Local economies are dependent on the survival of Lake Hopatcong. Unlike most New Jersey lakes, Lake Hopatcong’s lakeside businesses and restaurants depend on consistent weed removal for survival. I’m glad to see our measure become law.”