Freehold Borough officials authorize grant to aid Lake Topanemus


FREEHOLD – Municipal officials in Freehold Borough have authorized a grant agreement with the state that is expected to provide approximately $96,000 in funding for work at Lake Topanemus.

As previously reported, the grant was announced in August. The council’s action in November will allow borough officials to execute the grant agreement with the state.

The grant from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will address a lake protection and watershed management plan for Lake Topanemus.

According to the Freehold Township municipal website, Lake Topanemus Park is a 71-acre site between Pond and Robertsville roads in Freehold Township that offers opportunities for fishing, jogging, bicycling, boating, picnics, walking and bird watching. The lake is owned by Freehold Borough.

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

The lake has been afflicted by weeds and algae during the summer months. As stated in a press release from the DEP, 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.

Officials have said the state grant is expected to be used to hire a company that will develop a lake protection and watershed management plan. The primary goal of the grant is the restoration of Lake Topanemus.

As stated in the DEP press release, the Lake Topanemus Commission is seeking to update an 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.

Borough Council members have authorized a professional services agreement with Princeton Hydro for certified lake manager services at Lake Topanemus. The contract is in the amount of $83,000.