Lake Topanemus commission will use grant to help protect natural resource

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The Lake Topanemus Park Commission has been awarded a $96,000 grant from the state to design a plan to maintain and protect Lake Topanemus.

Lake Topanemus, between Pond and Robertsville roads, is in Freehold Township, but owned by Freehold Borough.

According to the Freehold Township municipal website, Lake Topanemus Park is a 71-acre site that offers opportunities for fishing, jogging, bicycling, boating, picnics, walking and bird watching.

The care of the park is overseen by the Lake Topanemus Park Commission. Roger Kane, a former mayor of Freehold Borough, chairs the commission. Robert Higley is the vice chairman. The other commissioners are Edward Daley, Dr. C. Gregory Jewell, Christopher Kean, Jim Lau, Joseph Luongo and Joseph Reilly.

In a press release dated Aug. 10, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that the Lake Topanemus Park Commission would receive a non-point source pollution grant in the amount of $96,000.

The lake has been afflicted by weeds and algae during the summer months. As stated in the press release, water quality issues including eutrophication (excessive richness of nutrients), elevated nitrogen and phosphorous levels, sediment accumulation and dense aquatic plant growth have been documented in Lake Topanemus.

Kean said the grant would be used to hire a company that will be charged with developing a lake protection and watershed management plan. It is expected that Princeton Hydro will be retained to complete the project.

Kean said a formal plan is needed to help improve the lake and said the plan will guide lake management activities to be undertaken by the commission.

Kane described the overall goal of the grant as being the restoration of Lake Topanemus.

As stated in the DEP press release, the Lake Topanemus Park Commission is seeking to update the existing lake characterization study which is almost 40 years old. The commission is also looking to identify the steps necessary for future restoration and management.

Kean said the commission’s effort to receive the DEP grant has been a lengthy undertaking, with the commissioners beginning their pursuit of the grant three years ago.