The Town of Hammonton has received a permit from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife allowing Hammonton Lake to be gradually lowered and brought back to normal water level in regulated stages between November 1st and March 1st.
The Town’s Municipal Utility Department (MUD) Supervisor, Anthony DeCicco, will oversee the lake lowering process beginning November 1, when the first of three boards will be removed from the dam at the White Horse Pike. This is a full team effort between the State, Town Municipal Utility Department staff, and the Town Council.
The lake lowering gives lakeside owners an opportunity to clean the shoreline abutting their properties. This in turn reduces the amount of organic debris like leaves, wood, dead plant material, and algae that may have accumulated within the lake area. It also gives owners a chance to remove any other debris like bottles or plastic bags that may have entered the water body. All of this material has a negative impact on the quality of the lake ecosystem.
Once the Lake is at its lowest point, it will make it easier for cleaning up the shoreline. Also, the Town MUD will inspect the existing boards within the dam structure. Should there be a need to replace any damaged boards the Town MUD will work with the State to coordinate that replacement.
The Town has to balance a number of issues, including giving lakeshore owners an opportunity to get their shorelines clean, as well as DEP regulations covering the lowering of lake levels in South Jersey. Here, the Town is required to lower the lake to its lowest level by November 15 and start adding boards back by February 12, 2024 so that the normal lake level will be achieved by March 1st. It is desired to give as much notice and time as possible to Hammonton Lake shoreline property owners to conduct their cleanups while the lake level is lowered.
DEP regulations governing “Water Lowering” are part of a set of regulations called the Fish Code, and are part of the New Jersey Administrative Code, section 7:25-6. The code requires waters below US Route 195 to reach their lowest point by November 15. The regulations also note that additional restrictions may be imposed to minimize negative impacts on threatened or endangered species. The permit granted to the Town contains no additional restrictions.
Lake lowering is part of the Town’s Hammonton Lake Management Plan, which was revised in 2018, and covers the period from 2018 through 2023. According to the Plan, the lake is slated to be lowered every other year to ensure opportunities to remove debris that contributes to sedimentation and nutrient-loading. This year the Town received approval to lower the lake again to allow any clean-up and dam repairs to occur.
This notice will appear in the local newspaper, Town website, and be sent to property owners that abut the Hammonton Lake.
Any questions regarding this year’s lake lowering may be directed to the Mayor and Town Council, the Town Clerk’s office at (609) 567-4300 ext. 121, or the Town Public Works Manager at ext. 101.
Thank you for your cooperation.