To protect and preserve the greater watershed environment of the Northern Paulinskill River including the sub watersheds of Lake Owassa and  Culver Lake.


Restore the viability and the integrity of water quality of Culver Lake, Culver Brook, Lake Owassa and feeder streams through watershed and lake technology initiatives.

Provide leadership and guidance in watershed management through technology, ecological engineering, lake quality management, and community planning.

Establish environmental education plans and programs for residents, associations and stakeholders with a goal toward the protection and preservation of healthy lakes, streams, and watersheds.

Ensure a sustainable long-term interest and support for the water quality activities benefiting Culver Lake, Lake Owassa, Culver Brook, the Paulinskill and feeder streams.

Support land management planning measures that protect the watershed from runoff damage and preserve the natural environment to protect the health of our watershed for current and future generations.



Rick Ferruggia, President


After graduating with a degree in management from Kean University in 1986, Rick moved forward with his career in the family real estate development and investment business having a role in many award-winning projects. His background and experience have served him well in his position as a member of the GCLWCF particularly in the area of land acquisition for preservation and protection of ecologically sensitive properties. In addition, having worked with civil engineers virtually all of his career, allows him to understand such things as stormwater control and applications that can be employed to improve water quality within the watershed. Having a family home on Culver Lake since 1959, he has been involved with the lake’s water quality efforts since the early 1990’s and also served as president of the Normanoch Association for two years of a seven-year term on that Board. Rick has always been fascinated with nature and has supported conservation efforts for more than forty years. Some of his favorite outdoor recreational activities include hunting, fly fishing, ice hockey and hiking with friends on the many trails in Sussex County. He resides with his wife Kim on a nearby farm in Frankford Township, NJ.

Emily Allen

Emily grew up in Sussex County, and from her parent’s cottage on the West Shore, she first fell in love with Culver Lake in the winter enjoying ice skating, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing—until she discovered that the lake was even better in the summer! She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science from St. John’s University and a Master’s Degree in Fluvial Geomorphology (investigates how flowing water shapes and modifies Earth’s surface through erosional and depositional processes) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a firm believer in deep ecology (an environmental philosophy that promotes the inherent worth of all living beings regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs, and the restructuring of modern human societies in accordance with such ideas).

She currently resides just north of the Culver Gap in the Little Flatbrook watershed. She enjoys reading, yoga, gardening, and spending time on, in, or around bodies of water.

Danae Dotz


Water is on a continuous journey.  Each drop can collect pollutants along the way. However, that does not have to be the case.  If we all play a role as stewards of the water in our watershed and lakes, water can arrive at its destination clean.

A 20-year resident of Lake Owassa, former Lake Owassa board member, and now secretary/treasurer, Danae Dotz  was pleased to accept the opportunity, on the GCLWCF, to help protect water on its downstream, yet cyclical, journey.

Former careers and interests include: Fashion design, interior design, extensive home renovating, and teaching: high school special education, English, woodshop, gardening, sewing, art and quilting.

John Fabian


Committed to conserving the environment, John Fabian became a water quality volunteer for the Normanoch Association shortly after purchasing a cottage on Culver’s Lake in 2005.  As a fisherman and outdoor enthusiast, he developed an early appreciation for lake living when his family built a small cottage on a Connecticut lake.  Since his retirement, he has become a year around resident of Culver’s Lake devoting his time to the lake and its concerns.

Formerly an executive in the television and radio industry with a tenure at the Outdoor Channel, John realizes the fragile balance and environmental challenges all lakes face today.  When invited to become a Trustee for the Foundation, he was enthusiastic about the opportunity to help preserve the greater watershed on multiple levels.  With a passion for conserving our water quality, mitigating harmful algae bloom and storm water management, John understands how delicate the ecological balance is and that this is a critical ongoing challenge.

Jay Higgins

Since 2008, Jay and his four children have been a part of the Culver Lake Community. After three decades in Bridgewater, NJ, Jay made the lake his permanent residence in 2023. He joined the Culver Lake Water Quality Committee soon after the algae bloom issues began. Witnessing the complexity surrounding lake and watershed management, Jay resolved to deepen his involvement by joining the foundation.

Jay has over 35 years of experience in the financial services industry, where he has served as the managing partner of a wealth management and employee benefits firm.

Outside of his professional life, he finds solace in nature, whether hiking, fishing, hunting, birdwatching, or teeing off on the golf course. Jay’s passion for environmental and wildlife conservation drives him, and now, as he embraces semi-retirement, he can now commit more time to safeguarding our watershed.

Henry McNamara

Henry was excited to become a Trustee as he understood the importance of the Foundation’s mission to preserve and protect ecologically sensitive properties and to provide education on the ways we can improve water quality within the watershed. Shortly after Henry and his wife, Kristin, purchased their home on Culver Lake in 2015, Henry joined the Water Quality Committee of the Normanach Association and helped test the lake’s water.  He learned the delicate nature of the lake’s health, the many factors that contribute to it and, most importantly, what we all can do to help preserve it. Henry recently retired from a career in technology where he worked for a number of application software companies including PeopleSoft and Oracle.  Henry enjoys outdoor recreation, especially boating and hiking and looks forward to teaching his grandchildren to fish and water ski.

Judy Nylen


Judy Nylen joined the Foundation Board because she loves the lake, where her family has had a cottage for over 25 years, and wants to preserve it in all ways possible. As Treasurer, Judy maintains the donation database and assists with fundraising endeavors as well as banking. Judy brings 40+ years of experience in Career Development at Pratt Institute from which she holds an MFA degree. She also served on the Normanoch Board for six years and on the Board of the Printmaking Center of NJ. Judy has always had an active printmaking and photography practice as an exhibiting artist. At Judy’s core, she works as a creative problem solver.

Chris Venezia

Mr. Venezia received his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and has more than 30 years of experience working in the environmental field. During his tenure as an environmental consultant, Mr. Venezia has managed various groups including those involved in wetland delineation restoration, threatened and endangered species, submerged aquatic vegetation, site investigation, remediation, and air quality issues. He is also a New Jersey Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP). Mr. Venezia has taught continuing education classes at Rutgers University and is in the process of completing a sustainability program at NYU. He is a lifelong resident of Culver Lake. Chris and his wife Cheryl, their four children (Nicole, Katie, Jack, and Grace), grandchild Joey, friends, and family enjoy summers and fall and spring weekends at the lake and surrounding area.

Dorothea Wefing


Although Dorothea is a recent member of the Board, having joined in 2020 after retiring from a legal and judicial career, she and her family have been members of the Culver Lake community for 70 years.  She has seen the area grow and develop over that time. While growth and development are natural, Dorothea believes it is important that the qualities that attracted her parents here be protected so that her grandchildren and great grandchildren may benefit from them as did she and her children. Dorothea was drawn to the Foundation because of its efforts to protect the watershed and the area’s most precious resource, its water.


Paul Sutphen


After Paul retired from PSE&G, he delved into water quality and the watershed surrounding Culver Lake. Paul served on the Normanoch Board of Directors for a total of three terms, most recently from 2010-2016 as Water Quality chair. During that time he began to study the effect of alum on the removal of phosphorous from Lake waters and developed technology which can have a positive effect on waste water and septic systems. Establishing Clearlake Technology, he patented an innovative system which is now a demonstration project at the Normanoch clubhouse and available for purchase by lake residents. In 2017 he founded the Greater Culver Lake Watershed Foundation and served as President for two and a half years.

Terry McQuillin


Terry McQuillin joined the Foundation Board understanding the importance of protecting the watershed after serving on the Normanoch Water Quality Committee. She was impressed that so many members, beginning in the 1950’s, had committed their time and talents to protect the water quality right here in their own backyards.

Terry serves as corresponding secretary and, as owner of TMac Design, she uses her graphic design skills on various projects to help promote awareness of the work we do. Previously Terry served on the IHN Board of Essex County (now Family Promise) and is a founding member of the Children’s Corner preschool of West Essex.

She and her husband, Lee, vacationed at Lake Owassa for over twenty years before buying their original cottage on Culver Lake in 2003. After building a new home, they became full-timer residents in 2013.

Claire Allen

Claire Allen has joined the Foundation to continue to extend her volunteer outreach in the community she loves. Claire was Clubhouse Coordinator and the Editor of the Normanoch News for 11+ years. Before working for the Normanoch Association of Culver Lake she was a member of their Board of Directors for eight years. She is employed by Atlantic Health Newton Medical Center where she has worked for the past 22 years. Claire and her family have lived in the Culver Lake community for 23 years and care deeply about Culver Lake and the surrounding lake communities. In her spare time, Claire enjoys gardening and being out on the lake spending time with her family and enjoying the beauty of all nature has to offer us here in Sussex County.


According to the North American Lakes Management Association (NALMS), “A lake is a reflection of its watershed.” The Greater Culver Lake Watershed Conservation Foundation (GCLWCF) was formed in 2017 to help protect the water of Culver Lake as well as that of other lakes, streams and rivers found in its watershed. The best way to reverse damage to our watershed is through education, awareness, good land use practices, and, when appropriate, the use of technology.

GCLWCF is a community-based volunteer tax exempt public charity under IRS 501(c)(3), it is completely independent of the Normanoch Association of Culver Lake although the Normanoch Association supports the Foundation in its mission and goals. Please contact us at info@gclwcf.org if you would like more information about us. The Foundation is currently moving into a more active programming and fundraising stage. We hope in the next few years, to attract “corporate” sponsors of our mission and programming.

Please visit the Volunteer/Learn section to join us in our mission.



The Greater Culver Lake Watershed Conservation Foundation (GCLWCF) relies solely on private tax-deductible donations from individuals, families, businesses and foundations to fund its environmental advocacy programs.
Your generosity will ensure continuity of the water quality efforts not only at Culver Lake and Lake Owassa but also throughout the watershed area today, tomorrow, and in the years to come.


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Photo credits:
Lakehouse Reflections by Judy Nylen; Eagle and Silhouetted fisherman by Steve Okeson