LAKE HOPATCONG - A marina owner has lost his legal battle to try to stop the state from draining Lake Hopatcong every few years.

Ray Fernandez, owner of Bridge Marina, tried to challenge the state DEP on its procedure of lowering Lake Hopatcong's water every five years, but a judge said the draining could proceed.

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That means Fernandez' docks at the Bridge Marina will soon be dry, and the boats will be out of the water within the next 48 hours.

The DEP has not commented on the lawsuit, but in its 2011 lake management plan, it says the regular lowering allows for people to do maintenance and work that might be difficult or more expensive to do in the water.

Fernandez says the lowering the water every year makes it hard for the lake's water level to rebound, and he believes the practice should end.

Fernandez says the water level is supposed to be replenished by March, but he expects it may not be totally back to normal levels until next June.