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  TRENTON (September 30, 2016)- The Department of Environmental Protection has agreed to fund a tree stump reduction project on the New Jersey side of Greenwood Lake that will reduce boating hazards and enhance public safety on the popular waterway, Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.



The project is being done in cooperation with the Greenwood Lake Commission, a bi-state agency responsible for protecting the resources of the lake and its watershed. As part of its lake management program, the Commission does a lake drawdown approximately every five years to allow property owners an opportunity to repair docks and bulkheads. 


During the drawdown scheduled to begin October 16, the Commission will undertake a project to reduce tree stumps that present a hazard to boaters because the stumps are submerged when the lake is at normal water levels. The lake will start to refill by February 15, 2017. DEP is providing up to $84,350 for the project. 


"Keeping Greenwood Lake navigable and safe from potential hazards is an important project for the many people in New Jersey and New York State who travel this scenic waterway, which also is a critical water resource for the northern region of the state," Commissioner Martin said.  "Our cooperative effort with the Greenwood Lake Commission for this work will help ensure that the public can enjoy the lake for many years to come." 


"I am grateful for the cooperation that the state Department of Environmental Protection, the Greenwood Lake Commission, and our legislative office had on this important issue," said State Senator Joseph Pennacchio, whose district includes Greenwood Lake. "Reducing these potentially dangerous tree stumps shows the level of commitment that our state has in keeping its people and property out of harm's way."


Approximately 1,000 stumps are to be reduced in size to lake bed level in the channel area between Sportsman Marina and Fox Island, resulting in a water depth increase of between two and three feet, according to Paul Zarrillo, Co-Chairman of the Greenwood Lake Commission. 


"On behalf of the Greenwood Lake Commission, I want to take this opportunity to thank Commissioner Martin and his staff at the DEP for their support in this cooperative stump reduction project during the upcoming drawdown on Greenwood Lake," Zarrillo said. "The reduction of these stumps will increase the water level in this area but most importantly, it reduces the hazards to swimmers and boaters, which has been a major safety issue to the Commission for years. I would also like to thank Senator Pennacchio and the West Milford Council and Mayor for their persistent efforts that helped this cooperative effort come to fruition receive this funding."


"The State funding for this stump reduction project contributes to the proper maintenance of Greenwood Lake, a jewel of West Milford for its recreational and economic benefit and the supplier of the daily water needs of over 3 million residents and thousands of businesses," said Assemblyman Jay Webber, whose district includes Greenwood Lake. "This project is especially timely, with the upcoming lake drawdown giving the best opportunity for efficient and effective stump removal in the lake. All of us who advocate for Greenwood Lake appreciate Commissioner Martin's recognition of the environmental, recreational and economic value of this important Garden State resource."


Greenwood Lake is an approximate nine-mile waterway that straddles the borders of New Jersey and New York State, in the Skylands Region. The lake, a popular tourist destination for water sports and recreation, extends from West Milford in Passaic County, between Abraham S. Hewitt State Forest and the Wanaque Wildlife Management Area, north to New York's Sterling Forest and the Village of Greenwood Lake.


Numerous stumps remained on the New Jersey side of the lake after trees were cut down to enlarge the lake in 1836 for recreational purposes. The lake was also extended that year with the creation of a dam at Ringwood State Park, which supplied water to the Morris and Essex Canal, then used by Pennsylvania coal barges.


In 2000, the Governors and Legislatures of New Jersey and New York enacted legislation to create the Greenwood Lake Commission to protect the quality of the environment by preserving its natural and scenic resources. In 2005, a $100,000 DEP grant funded reduction of more than 2,000 submerged tree stumps during a lake drawdown on the New Jersey side to help improve boating safety.


For more information about the Greenwood Lake Commission, visit