Story by A.J. Arias
Dale Van Nimwegen, the treasurer of the Greenwood Lake Commission, presented the Commission’s annual treasury and yearly reports for 2018 at the Commission’s meeting on Wed., Nov. 28 at the West Milford Township Library.
The annual treasury report, which was approved at the meeting, calls for a slightly higher budget for the 2019. The budget’s main addition is funds for a mailing project the Commission is working on in order to reach out to more owners and residents around the lake.
The report comes after Orange County Legislator Barry Cheney gave the Commission a check for $20,000 on behalf of Orange County. Cheney has an unofficial promise from Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus that funds will increase to $30,000 next year.
The treasury report additionally included funds for Geese Control. When pressed by the Committee for Humane Geese Control on what the Commissions geese control methods included for the upcoming year, the Commission stated that they were waiting for a report back from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which would include a recommendation for what the Commission should do.
The same USDA recommendation last year resulted in the controversial killing of 206 Canadian Geese. The number of Geese killed is the official number provided by the Commission in their report from the USDA.
Strategy for the Future
In their proposed annual report, the Commission laid out a strategy for the upcoming years. The strategy covers a variety of topics including the best ways to manage and clean up the lake. The most controversial part of the Commission’s plans is a change in their lake draw down plans.
The Commission is currently proposing a two-foot drawdown every year or every other year with a larger drawdown of five to seven feet around every seven years. The drawdown is still being discussed in terms of exact numbers. The drawdown currently has the support of Village of Greenwood Lake Mayor Jesse Dwyer with the condition that the Commission holds a proper amount of public hearings on the issue and reaches out to the public to listen to what they have to say. The lake is currently 10 feet and 10 inches high according to Commissioner Eric Pain.
A large part of the debate for the Commission moving forward is their reliance on studies over actions. Commissioner Eric Hastings has been outspoken about the Commission spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on studies in the past with little action to show for it.
New Jersey Co-Chair Paul Zarrillo has stated that the trend should end soon with a Princeton Hydro study that will be conducted in the very near future. The $90,000 project is the most in depth study to be conducted on the lake in years.
The study will give a very detailed analysis of several problem areas of the lake including Belcher’s Creek. It will give a breakdown of what’s in the lake and causing its high phosphorus and E. Coli levels, according to Zarrillo.
The Commission is hoping that the detailed analysis should come with the credibility to secure the much needed funds from other governing bodies in order to help clean up the lake.
Canadian Geese are Not an Invasive Species
It was previously reported in several other articles covering the Commission’s geese control efforts that Canadian Geese were an invasive species. According to their absence from both the New York and New Jersey Department of Environmental Conservation’s Invasive Species list, Canadian Geese are not considered to be an Invasive species.
The next meeting will be held on Wed., Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Greenwood Lake Senior Center, located at 132 Windermere Ave. in Greenwood Lake NY.