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Mayor Dwyer’s Column

April 30, 2014

Changing Strategies for the Health and Well Being


    Since I became a Trustee in the Village 4 years ago, I have had to run for re-election every single year, except this past year. I have spoken to hundreds upon hundreds of residents. Listened to complaints, listened to arguments, and most importantly, I have listened to possible solutions. One thing is overwhelmingly clear – not enough has been done to stop the sedimentation and weed growth in the East, North and West Arms of Greenwood Lake.

    Over the past several years it has become overwhelmingly apparent that Greenwood Lake is undergoing an unprecedented and dangerous transformation. Many tools have been employed and many hundreds of thousands of dollars have been thrown recklessly at the problem. The fact remains, the problem still persists and even appears to be getting worse year after year.

    The Village Board in Greenwood Lake is responsible for, among many other things, ensuring the safety, security and well-being of our residents. Without swift, intelligent, and cost effective measures, we may lose more than 50 acres of our lake within our lifetime. We must utilize a different method to treat the ailments of our lake – and to that end, the Village Board voted unanimously to use herbicides to treat the affected areas of our lake.

    I understand that the use of herbicides presents a stigmatized name and that some lab studies (only lab studies) show its flaws. However, I would ask that table salt, aspirin, caffeine and nicotine are inspected in the same way. The major difference between the two:  herbicides are less toxic than all and they are not manufactured for human consumption. The long term goals that this Village Board will endeavor to save our lake include: 1) dredging, 2) capping the entry of sediment in our north and west arms, 3) preventing sewage from entering our lake in the south end at Belcher’s Creek 4) working toward a sewer system that will remove sewage from our valley and pipe it to the County owned line on Lakes Road, as well as 5) the cost effective and temporary measure of herbicide treatment to keep down the enormous weed problem. 

     What we are proposing is not the end. Herbicides will not, alone, save this lake. It will not reverse the decades of sediment, phosphorus and nitrates which have been filling in our lake. They will, however, provide residents with the most cost effective measure for combatting weed growth in our lake. This method is currently being used in thousands of lakes and reservoirs across the country. You may have heard of a few: Tuxedo Lake, Round Lake in Monroe (8 miles from here), Upper Greenwood Lake, Port Jervis Reservoir, Lake Katonah in Westchester, 3 of the 6 Highland Lakes, and also, the southern end (West Milford) of Greenwood Lake will be using herbicides this year. In fact, The Village used to use herbicides to treat our lake and that was a time when ALL residents could enjoy all ends of the lake safely and freely. No deaths, illness and no proof of adverse consequences to local ecology as a result of that treatment.

    The Village Board remains committed to the safety, security and well-being of all of our residents. I am available to meet with concerned residents at their convenience. If you have questions or concerns, please, contact Village Hall and I will make myself available to address your concerns. Village Hall: 845-477-9215.




  • Village Board Roundtable Discussion April 30th from 7-10p.m. at Village Hall.
  • Mexican Fiesta for Grades 6th – 8th  May 9th from 6:30p.m. – 9:30p.m. at the GWL Elks Lodge. Event is sponsored by the PBA and the GWL Coalition.
  • GWL Teen Center open every Wednesday from 6:00p.m. to 9:00p.m. under the Holy Rosary Church.
  • Open Gym for Grades 9-12 every Friday at the MS. Free for Village and Town Residents
  • Scott Lynch Memorial BBQ, Sat., May 3rd starting at 1:00p.m. at the American Legion. Cost $15 per person. Proceeds go to a memorial for fallen soldier and resident Scott Lynch. 
2 Comments leave one →
  1. George permalink
    April 30, 2014 8:39 pm

    I think its great that we are finally going to clean our lake. Is their a fish that can eat all the weeds ? There is for a fact many lake front homes, that there septic tanks are leaking into the lake, and the leach fields are reaching the lake. The Town of GWL, and West Milford need to inspect all homes & commercial properties for possible sewage leaks.

  2. May 4, 2014 4:24 pm

    I think the health and longevity of Greenwood Lake is our biggest concern as a community. Greenwood Lake is beautiful, and it breaks my heart to know about and see these problems. I know many residents would echo the same sentiments. The greatest challenge is Belcher’s Creek, however, and the New York is truly suffering because of the pollution from there. I empathize with homeowners at the south end of the lake, too. But ending the pollution from NJ seems like the number one priority.

    Is there any way to network with environmental groups that have success treating other problems (i.e., the Eurasian milfoil)? I know it is being treated in the Adirondacks. Can we rally greater support from residents, too? I support the use of the herbicides as well as other treatments to help our lake.

    Thank you for all you do.

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