Greenwood Lake powerboat races canceled in NJ due to harmful algal bloom

| 29 Jul 2019 | 05:35

There will not be powerboat racing on the New Jersey side of Greenwood Lake this year because of the current harmful algal bloom, the organization posted on its Facebook page Saturday.
“Due to circumstances that are beyond our control the Greenwood Lake Powerboat races will unfortunately be canceled for 2019,” the post on the Greenwood Lake Powerboat races Facebook page said. “An elevated algae count has caused the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to close the southern end of the lake to all swimming.”
The DEP placed an advisory on the New Jersey side of the 7-mile, bi-state lake on July 16 after cyanobacteria levels reached over 20,000 cells per milliliter.
The warning advises residents not to come into contact with the water on that side of the lake until the levels go below the 20,000 threshold, according to DEP officials.
Swimming is prohibited on three beaches on the southern end of the lake, officials said.
The New York side of the lake, however, remains open to all activities.
During a presentation in front of the Greenwood Lake Commission last week at the West Milford Municipal Building, DEP officials said the cyanobacteria above the 20,000 level can produce toxins that could make people and animals ill, depending on the individual’s sensitivity.
Symptoms can range from a simple rash to vomiting or kidney and liver issues if the water is ingested.
Residents are also advised to not have pets come into contact with, or drink, the water.
The races, which were scheduled for Aug. 24-25 on the southern end of the lake by Brown’s Point, were called off because the sponsoring organization could not get liability insurance due to the advisory and bloom.
“Our rescue crews could get wet in a situation for emergency response and frequently contestants get splashed during the actual racing. In addition, we have volunteers assisting on the water such as tow boats, Coast Guard Auxiliary and turn judging that could also come in contact (with the water), the post said. “This bacteria is reported to potentially cause skin rashes, sickness or worse, and our insurance is not prepared to take on the added liability.
The organization said racing will be back next year.