|In this July 2010 image from nbc4i.com, the toxic algae |
problem at Grand Lake St. Marys is clearly evident.
COLUMBUS, OH – A step toward improving water quality at Grand Lake St. Marys will occur this spring when an alum treatment will be applied to cover the entire lake. This treatment is part of Gov. John Kasich’s approach to improve Grand Lake St. Marys through rough fish removal, dredging, installation of a treatment train, wetland creation, watershed improvements and other water quality initiatives.
“We are committed to improving the water quality at Grand Lake St. Marys,” said Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director James Zehringer. “A healthy and thriving lake will not only benefit the residents of Mercer and Auglaize counties, but this improvement will benefit all Ohioans.”
Ohio has offered steep discounts for campground reservations at Grand Lake Marys State Park, which obviously has seen a huge drop-off in campers since the lake problems first surfaced several years ago. One significant result was the findings of an outside company in determining the cause and solution of the toxic algae.
ODNR continues to work collaboratively with Ohio EPA to improve water quality in Grand Lake St. Marys. This is the second year an alum treatment has been applied to the lake.
The 2012 funding for the alum treatment totals $5 million and includes funding from the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund administered through the Ohio EPA and the Distressed Watershed Loan Program administered through the Ohio Water Development Authority. Additional funding will be provided by ODNR’s Division of Parks and Recreation for investigations at other inland lakes in Ohio that experienced harmful algal blooms (HAB) over the last few years.
“This partnership is demonstrative of the wonderful relationship we have with the leadership of Ohio,” said Grand Lake St. Marys Restoration Commission Manager Milt Miller. “From day one they have been at our side, asking what they can do to help as part of the process of rehabilitating our lake. It’s truly been a dialogue, which has been extremely appreciated locally.”
Phosphorus within the lake contributes to HAB. This year’s alum treatment will start two months sooner than the treatment in 2011, which should allow the phosphorus to bind to the alum more effectively and improve water quality. The alum treatment is projected to begin April 1.
Grand Lake St. Marys is a 13,500-acre recreational lake located in western Ohio. Last year’s alum treatment was applied to more than 4,900 acres in the center of the lake and removed 56 percent of the phosphorous from the treated area.
Through dredging in 2011, approximately 272,000 cubic yards of sediment was removed from Grand Lake St. Marys. This quadrupled the amount of cubic yards removed from the lake compared to the previous two years. ODNR’s Ohio State Parks and Division of Wildlife also removed nearly 14 tons of rough fish from Grand Lake St. Marys last year. An additional four tons were removed during a carp derby planned by the Lake Restoration Commission. Rough fish stir up sediment and contribute to phosphorus-related problems.