2002-02-27 / Front Page

Lake Weamaconk awakens Project to restore Englishtown resource is nearing completion

Staff Writer
By dave benjamin

Lake Weamaconk awakens
Project to restore
Englishtown resource
is nearing completion

ENGLISHTOWN — There will be a lot of happy fish in Lake Weamaconk and a lot of happy residents who will use the restored facility, now that a dredging project which began as a dream almost 10 years ago is nearing completion.

"I thought it was a very successful project," said Tom Herits, borough engineer. "It was a win-win situation. We got our lake dredged and the county got some good material for the landfill."

In discussing the project last June, Herits explained that the lake was only 12 to 18 inches deep because sediment from upstream areas along the Weamaconk Creek, and as far east as Freehold Borough, had been carried by the stream and settled in the lake.

Lake Weamaconk is approximately 7 to 8 acres in size and has a dam at one end, so the silt which is carried there stays there, the engineer said.

The plan put forth by engineers was to restore the lake to the condition it was in about 40 to 50 years ago and in so doing, to provide for better environmental conditions for the fish and other animals that live there.

Borough Councilman Harry Soden noted last summer that pond trout and bass were having difficulty living in the shallow water and that only the carp were managing in the conditions.

Prior to the dredging, the fish were removed and transferred by a contractor to Lake Manalapan in neighboring Jamesburg, according to Herits.

The dredging work was accomplished by the RWV Company, Jackson. The aim was to lower the bottom of the lake to a depth of about 6 feet in all areas and to improve the living conditions for the fish and other animals.

For a period of time, temporary pipes had to be installed as part of the preliminary work.

Then the soil at the bottom of the lake, which is really topsoil, was removed, according to the engineer. The plan called for recycling the lake bottom by removing the topsoil and taking it to the Monmouth County landfill in Tinton Falls where it would be mixed and used as landfill cover.

"The material that was dredged from the lake was put to good use as landfill coverage at the county reclamation center," Herits said.

"The dredging has been completed," Soden added, "but we have a couple of more things to work out. One of them is an aeration system, and we still have to put the fish back in there."

Soden said that should be accomplished sometime around April.

"I think it will make a lot of people happy when we get the fish back in," the councilman said. "We put a little dock up there for three boats. Originally, the plan was just to clean it out."

With the addition of the dock along the Park Avenue side of the lake, visitors will be able to use the facility for fishing or boating. Boats will not be stored at the dock; it is just a launch point.

Soden said the estimated cost of the project was $740,000. He credited Mon-mouth County Freeholder Ted Narozanick and the other freeholders, along with Virginia Edwards, director of the Mon-mouth County Community Development Program, and state Sen. John O. Bennett with finding the financial resources for the project.

"They’re the people who really make things happen when a small town tries to do something (like this) and it doesn’t have the money," Soden said.

Herits said fire hydrants have been installed in the vicinity of the lake that will allow firefighters to draw water from the lake in order to fight a fire if that type of an emergency ever arises.

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