Did you know that New Jersey is one of the fastest-warming states in the nation? Not only that, did you know the average temperature increase in the state is double the average of the rest of the Lower 48 states?
In a recent article, the Washington Post uncovers quite startling findings from analysis of more than a century of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration temperature data across the Lower 48 states and 3,107 counties. The article takes a specific look at the impacts climate change has had on Lake Hopatcong.
Princeton Hydro has been working with Lake Hopatcong for 30+ years, restoring the lake, managing the watershed, reducing pollutant loading, and addressing invasive aquatic plants and nuisance algae blooms. Lake Hopatcong has one of the longest, continuous, long-term ecological databases in New Jersey; 30+ years of consistently collected water quality data.
Dr. Fred Lubnow, Director of Aquatic Programs, and Katie Walston, Senior Scientist, are featured in the Washington Post article. Here’s an excerpt:
On a cool but sunny day in May, Fred Lubnow, director of aquatic programs at Princeton Hydro, and Katie Walston, a senior scientist there, pulled up their anchor in Lake Hopatcong to find it covered with aquatic weeds. The culprit? Fertilizer runoff combined with winters too warm to kill them off.
“The plants start growing earlier and linger around longer, as well,” Lubnow said. The thick ice blocked sunlight from nurturing the weeds. But “in some of these shallow areas, as early as February, we’re looking through the ice seeing the plants growing.”
By summer, the weeds become a nuisance, forcing the state government to “harvest” them with large paddles and toss them onto a conveyor belt, then onto barges. Some years, funding has been hard to get, delaying harvesting and angering homeowners.
“If this area is not harvested, you can’t get a boat through it,” Lubnow says. Swimming isn’t possible, either. Fishing becomes difficult.
If you’d like to read more about climate change, check out our recent blog: