Deal Lake, the largest lake in Monmouth County, is a great asset to the county and with a bit of money could be an “absolute gem,” said Jerry Maurer, president of the Friends of Deal Lake.
Local and state officials toured the lake last week in an effort to get some restoration movement started.
Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, Ocean Township Mayor William F. Larkin and Township Administrator Andrew Brannen, Asbury Park Councilman John Loffredo, environmentalists and others took a boat tour of the lake, sponsored by the Friends of Deal Lake, Aug. 28.
“I think the tour was a great thing and we all had some very good dialogue and the group was very receptive,” Maurer said.
“It allows people to get away from the table and see everything firsthand. The group was quick to see that this lake is a diamond in the rough and a great asset. With a bit of money it could be an absolute gem.”
Deal Lake has faced siltation, weed infestations, fallen trees, failing bulkheads, erosion, debris, and other environmental problems over the years and Superstorm Sandy caused even more problems.
Maurer said he hopes officials who took the tour can help obtain funding, permits and overcome various obstacles that stand in the way of cleaning up the lake.
“We need to get over these speed bumps and get some of these projects done. We are looking for help to get the Deal lake Commission to move forward. Nobody has a clue what assistance we can get or is it just up to the volunteers,” he said.
Mayor Larkin said that a large portion of the lake’s shoreline is in Ocean Township and that he used to visit the lake often when he was younger.
“There has been a dramatic difference and when you see it from the lake you can appreciate the problems,” he said.
Larkin said Ocean Township is doing the best it can with a limited budget.
“But the lake does need help. It is a tremendous asset and sometimes you don’t appreciate it until you are out on the lake. But our hands are pretty much tied and we need help from the county and the state,” he said.
Assemblywoman Angelini said the lake “is a wonderful local resource…and that we have to put our collective heads together” to deal with the problems.
“It’s a gorgeous resource right in out own backyard and it’s sad that the various bureaucratic departments can’t fix the problems. We need to try to shake state and federal agencies to do something,” she said.
The Deal Lake Commission was created in 1974 by the seven towns that surround the lake: Allenhurst, Asbury Park, Deal, Interlaken, Loch Arbour, Neptune Township, and Ocean Township. Deal Lake is about 158 acres with 27 miles of shoreline.