On Monday, three of the Lake Hopatcong Commission's weed harvesters began operations for the summer season, hitting Woodport, Shallow Cove, and the area south of Bertrand Island.
This year's harvest was made possible because the commission allocated the last of its available money, about $32,000, toward preparing the machinery for the effort and paying for operation through the end of July.
Commission chairman and Jefferson mayor Russ Felter said the commission has the ability to fund the harvest in other ways as well, such as having the township of Jefferson pay for gas and then get reimbursed through the commission via I Boat NJ grant money that is still available to them.
"It's of paramount importance to keep this going," Felter said.
When the commission approved the funding for the harvest, there was still hope that the state would provide money through its budget. When that budget passed on June 30, the $600,000 that had been allocated for the commission was stripped out. As a result, the commission is holding a special meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the Mt. Arlington Borough Hall to determine its next steps.
Either way, Felter said, his intention is for the weed harvesting operations to continue at least through the end of the month.