‘There is no time to waste’

Greenwood Lake. U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer urges DEP to release the funds to address the Harmful Algal Blooms that are affecting Greenwood Lake’s water, local businesses and recreation and North Jersey residents.

07 Aug 2020 | 12:07

U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) visited Greenwood Lake with local officials to call on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to release investment to address the Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) impacting the lake’s water, local businesses and recreation, and North Jersey residents.

In November 2019, Gottheimer met with New Jersey congressional, state, local and environmental leaders as the State of New Jersey announced steps to combat HABs in Jersey’s lakes — including $13.5 million available for local projects that will improve water quality and help prevent, mitigate and manage toxic algae.

This was done in part using federal investment from the EPA’s Clean Water Revolving State Revolving Fund.

To date, $2.5 million of this investment has been released to nine local demonstration projects throughout New Jersey.

‘A helpful start, but not enough’

Greenwood Lake has received $52,800 from this investment to help conduct studies and to build vegetative floating islands to absorb the nutrients in the lake that fuel HABs.

“This is a helpful start, but frankly it’s just not enough,” Gottheimer said. “Today, as we deal with a pandemic impacting our local economy, it’s clear that we must do everything at our disposal to protect the tourism and recreation economy in North Jersey — especially the local outdoor industry and related businesses that revolve around Greenwood Lake, where residents can adhere to social distancing.

“It’s my understanding that NJDEP is close to releasing the additional $11 million in grant investment to New Jersey lakes,” the congressman added, “but, with most of the summer over, it’s vital that this investment is released as quickly as possible. There is no time to waste.

‘Protect our local economy throughout this crisis’

“I’m here today to call on NJDEP to release the $11 million in grant investment so that Greenwood Lake and lakes throughout the State can fight this toxic algae head-on and so we can protect our local economy throughout this crisis.” Gottheimer continued.

In January 2020, Gottheimer and the Greenwood Lake Commission called for further emergency investment to combat toxic algae harming Jersey lakes, drinking water and jobs.

In Congress, Gottheimer’s provision recently passed the House to address the Harmful Algal Blooms impacting many North Jersey lakes by ensuring a U.S. Geological Survey be reported to Congress on ways to combat toxic HABs like those found in Greenwood Lake.

Gotttheimer was joined by West Milford Mayor Michele Dale, Passaic County Freeholder Terry Duffy, New Jersey Chair of the Greenwood Lake Commission Paul Zarrillo and local lake officials and business owners.