Greenwood Lake annual $500K funding bill passes NJ Assembly

West Milford. State legislation approving some $500,000 a year for Greenwood Lake unanimously passed the New Jersey State Assembly Monday 73-0.

25 Nov 2019 | 03:20

Greenwood Lake is one step away from getting $500,000 a year in state funding.

State Senate bill S2167 unanimously passed the State Assembly Monday by a vote of 73-0, and now needs only the signature of Gov. Phil Murphy to become law.

The legislation funds the annual $500,000 through vessel registration fees.

“I am thrilled to see our bipartisan bill to safeguard one of Passaic County’s most popular and scenic waterways clear the final legislative hurdle,” said State Sen. Joe Pennacchio, R-26. “Establishing an annual, permanent state funding source goes hand-in-hand with all of our local and county efforts to protect and maintain Greenwood Lake. I urge Gov. (Phil) Murphy to sign this into law as soon as possible to ensure that generations of New Jerseyans can enjoy this beautiful waterway for years to come.”

In a press release Monday, Pennacchio said he “has long called for the establishment of the Greenwood Lake Fund.”

An interstate waterway, Greenwood Lake spans nine miles across the New Jersey/New York border, and feeds two of North Jersey’s major sources of drinking water, the Monksville and Wanaque reservoirs, which provide drinking water to 3.5 million residents and thousands of businesses, according to the legislation.

The Greenwood Lake Fund will be used to protect, preserve, maintain, and enhance the New Jersey side of Greenwood Lake, according to the release.

In June 2019, blue-green algae blooms caused Greenwood Lake and others across New Jersey to close for recreation for much of the summer.

The state Department of Environmental Protection issued a “no contact” advisory on the lake in July after it confirmed the existence of a Harmful Algal Bloom.

That advisory was finally lifted on Greenwood Lake earlier this month, according to the DEP.

That advisory proved devastating to businesses and properties along the lake in New Jersey, and Greenwood Lake Commission Co-Chairman Paul Zarrillo said he hopes this funding can help prevent similar events in the future.

“I appreciate Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin for hearing this bill and the positive support the legislation received from his fellow assembly members,” Pennacchio said in the release. Sen. Nellie Pou and I will continue to work together on a bipartisan basis to ensure this funding is made available to Greenwood Lake as soon as possible.”