Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Uprooting a Greenwood Lake Hazard

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Uprooting a Greenwood Lake Hazard

Article excerpt

WEST MILFORD -- The state has announced it will fund removal of a major hazard for boaters on Greenwood Lake: roughly 1,000 submerged tree stumps rooted in, and protruding from, the lakebed.

The Department of Environmental Protection announced Thursday it will support the bi-state Greenwood Lake Commission project. The commission obtained an $84,350 proposal from Downes Tree Service of Hawthorne this year to conduct stump-grinding during a 5-foot drawdown of the lake set to begin Oct. 11. The commission has been petitioning various entities for financial support ever since.

The project would commence in late November or early December, but is contingent on weather -- and whether the lake drawdown should take place, given worries that drought conditions might hinder the lake's subsequent recharge, said Paul Zarrillo, commission co- chairman.

In any event, said Zarrillo, "We've been fighting for this. I've been threatening to sue the DEP and the state, and I'm thrilled that this is going to happen.

"If we get it done, it's a huge feather in our cap," he added.

Lurking in the vicinity of Sportsman Marina and Fox Island in West Milford, the slowly decaying stumps are the vestiges of the forest that existed before loggers clear-cut the area to allow for expansion of Greenwood Lake in the 1830s. The expansion helped feed the Morris and Essex canal as well as the commercial growth of the region. The remaining stumps have been considered time bombs, posing fatal hazards to recreational boaters, water skiers and wakeboarders.

"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," DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said. …

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