The Foundation was approached by the LMCC Fishing Club to provide a grant for restocking Hybrid Stripers in Lake Mohawk. Stripers have not been stocked in the Lake since 2004. Fish stocking was recommended many years ago as part of the lake management plan developed by Princeton Hydro for improving and maintaining overall water quality.
Fish are a vital component of lake food webs- they help keep algae in check. But how does that work? Currently, in Lake Mohawk, there is an overabundance of white perch. This species eats large quantities of zooplankton. Zooplankton eat algae. Algae blooms are the result of an excess of nutrients (particularly phosphorus and nitrogen) into the lakes. Algae blooms are both unsightly and the growth of algae uses up the dissolved oxygen in the water. When dissolved oxygen content decreases, many fish and aquatic insects cannot survive. Hybrid stripers reduce white perch populations which in turn help prevent large algae blooms.
Stripers are sterile and do not reproduce. The Foundation will provide a small grant to the Fishing Club in order to reestablish stripers in the Lake. The Lake Mohawk Country Club will then be responsible for maintaining yearly restocking as per recommendations by Princeton Hydro, our lake management consultants. We will follow up with the Fishing Club and the Lake Committee to obtain surveys of fish stock in the lake and will look for improvement in water quality.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers stormwater runoff as the number one threat to water quality in our lakes and streams. Sediment collects in catch basins or storm drains in our roads to prevent runoff from entering the lake. Roads are cleaned yearly and these basins are also periodically cleaned out, but as lakefront homeowners, boat dock users and beachgoers know, runoff continues to collect in our lakes. As roads are repaired and replaced, catch basins and drainage areas are improved.
Lakefront homeowners play a big part in preventing sediment from flowing into the lake from their yards. Sediment, including sand and dirt from your yard, enters the lake during a rainstorm. Homeowners should be careful not to divert water directly into the lake from gutters or drains, as sediment travels with it. Leaves, grass clippings and other debris should never be dumped in the lake. Planting a rain garden; or not mowing and fertilizing along 10 feet of the lake of the shoreline are also helpful for reducing runoff into the water.
Lakefront homeowners should also attempt to deter geese from their properties. This can be done with scare tactics (decoys, reflective objects), modifying your property with tall plantings or grass at the lakefront (geese like short grass), or placing fencing (rope) 2-3 feet from the water line. You will see that many beaches put up fencing at the end of the day to deter geese.
Finally, chemicals used to kill weeds also contaminate our lakes. Please read the labels on weed killers prior to using them on your yards and around bodies of water! Speak to your landscaper about the chemicals they use. Are they harming fish, frogs and turtles as they beautify your property?
A rain garden catches and holds water that runs off from your roof or other impervious coverage (like a driveway) on your property. A rain garden fills with water during a storm, and the water slowly filters into the ground rather than running into storm sewers or directly entering the lake from your yard.
Compared to a patch of lawn, a rain garden catches water and allows about 30% more to soak into the ground by creating a root “sponge” zone. Pollutants and nutrients are filtered in a rain garden.
A rain garden will resemble a typical garden, although it is planted slightly below grade. A variety of grasses, wildflowers, and woody plants-specifically native plants- are used as they have adapted to our New Jersey climate. Native plants require minimal maintenance once they are established. Visit our demonstration rain garden near the dam on the Boardwalk. You will see that they can be beautiful as well as functional. We have more information on Rain Gardens on our webpage.
One goal at the Lake Mohawk Preservation Foundation is to improve and preserve lake water quality now and for future generations. We do this by providing education and involving volunteers throughout our community. Our meetings are held usually 6pm on the last Wednesday of the month in the Country Club building. Details are posted on our website and on Facebook.
We hope that you will consider how you can help the Foundation protect our community’s most valuable assets– our lakes! The Foundation is an independent, all volunteer organization committed to protecting and sustaining our region’s aquifers. Our organization is a 501(c)(3) Charitable Organization and your donations, underwriting support and legacy giving are, in general, tax deductible. Donations can be made by check to Lake Mohawk Preservation Foundation, 21 The Boardwalk, Sparta, NJ 07871, or through Pay Pal on our website.
Prepare now to participate in the Askin & Hooker Labor Day 5K, End of Summer Run-Monday, September 3! This is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year. Details can be found at the Labor Day 5K Website.