JEFFERSON - A very small section of Lake Hopatcong has been temporarily closed to boat traffic in an effort to prevent the spread of the extremely aggressive invasive Water Chestnut plant. The area is located just off shore near the undeveloped Prospect Point Preserve and across from Liffy Island.
The first plant was found in mid-June. Since then, approximately 70 plants have been spotted and pulled from this part of the lake and from the Jefferson canals, said Donna Macalle-Holly, grants and program coordinator for the Lake Hopatcong Foundation.
The Foundation, a non-profit working to improve Lake Hopatcong, received approval from New Jersey State Police Marine Bureau for the temporary closure. Working from kayaks, Macalle-Holly and a group of volunteers, roped off the aforementioned area using colorful swimming noodles as the barrier and also hammered a "Stay Back" sign into the lakebed, warning boaters to stay away.
"One acre of Water Chestnut can produce enough seed to cover 100 acres the following year," said Macalle-Holly. "Help us protect Lake Hopatcong and please keep out of this area during the closure."
For more information on how to identify and report Water Chestnut, visit lakehopatcongfoundation.org/water-chestnut/.