Photo of Mercer  Brian M. Hughes and members of the Board of Freeholders and DEP officials sinking an artificial reef in Lake Mercer

Park Commission employee Jamie McDermott, Hopewell Township Deputy Mayor David Sandahl,

Contact: Silvio Marcacci
(609) 278-7137

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes joined members of the Board of Chosen Freeholders and DEP officials to sink an artificial reef in Mercer County Park’s Lake Mercer in celebration of Earth Day.

Today’s event continues the commitment that this administration has made towards our environment,” began Hughes.  “Since taking office in 2004, we have preserved more than 2,300 acres of open space, and by creating this artificial reef today, we are enhancing the environment by creating new fish habitats, expanding the biological diversity at Lake Mercer, and providing new recreational fishing opportunities.”

Mercer County joined with the New Jersey Department of Fish and Wildlife and local municipalities to recycle used Christmas trees into reef structures.  Hamilton and Hopewell Township participated in the program, collectively donating 200 trees to the project.  Cement and other materials for weights were donated, and New Jersey’s State Fisheries Habituate Biologist made arrangements with two Hamilton bass fishing clubs to construct the habitats.  The structures, in time, will provide shelter for immature fish and baitfish and in turn, will attract larger fish for feeding and shelter purposes.

Lake Mercer was stripped of all materials that could potentially be used by fish as habitat when it was initially excavated.  Before flooding, it closely resembled a sunken empty parking lot.  Hughes also noted that this is the first time a project of this type has been undertaken in Lake Mercer in 30 years, and that a similar project is being planned for Mercer County’s Rosedale Lake, which has never had a habitat enhancement project since it was flooded in 1970.