Monday, September 15, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

NJ's Newton Lake: Soup or salad?

The centerpiece of a Camden County park goes green. And not in a good way

NJ's Newton Lake: Soup or salad?

Increasingly shallow due to erosion, and awash in nutrients from lawn fertilzer runoff and Canada geese droppings, Camden County, NJ's Newton Lake has become a vast vat -- a veritable sea -- of pea-and-watercress soup, seasoned with skunk cabbage.

I'm being metaphorical, as well as kind.

The county says help is on the way in the form of an aquatic contraption called a "Truxor,"  which may start to chop and chomp the Newton's weedy waters today.  All hail, Truxor!

But given the results of the county's earlier attempts to improve the lake, which seem at best ambiguous and at worst, fruitless, perhaps we can be forgiven our skepticism.

Consider the aerators, those bubbly floating fountains that look so nice and sound so soothing but do so little to prevent the lake from becoming a bog. You might also recall the dredging project of a decade ago, which among other accomplishments created a silt-collection basin that either doesn't work, is chronically overloaded, or both.

Environmentalists, bless them, have successfully pushed for maintaining Newton Lake in as "natural" a state as possible. This would be fine if not for the fact that the lake isn't a lake at all --  it's a dammed, dredged, re-channelled stretch of Newton Creek.

The county built the park and the lake in the 1930s; ever since, the lake has never stopped trying to turn itself back into a swamp. And what with all those steroids in the form of man-and-goose-made fertilizer, Mother Nature is well ahead.

Even the mighty Truxor may prove no match for her.

Kevin Riordan Inquirer Columnist
About this blog
Blinq is a news commentary blog featuring contributions from Inquirer Metro columnists Karen Heller, Kevin Riordan and Daniel Rubin.

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