Thursday, July 22, 2010

In Search of the Grand Lake Ohio Killer Algae

For the last 6 weeks or so, the talk around this area of western Ohio has been Grand Lake and the warnings put out by the Ohio EPA and Ohio Dept of Natural Resources(ODNR) for the toxic algae that has invaded the 13,000 acre lake.  At one time Grand Lake St. Marys was the largest man made lake in the world...hand dug by thousands of workers in the first 1/3 of the 1800s, it began as a feeder for the famous Miami-Erie Canal.  After railroads took over most of the moving of goods and equipment, the lake eventually became a hot spot for tourists and fishing.
The lake for years was dotted with cabins and recreational summer parks....that all changed when the lake became a central sewer district in the mid 1980s.  The development companies got their greedy hands on the property, destroyed wet lands(while paying small fines), and built gated communities and high end houses on the lake, it became an expensive, high property taxed recreational area.

The two things that never changed were farm waste runoff and the shallow depth of the lake....Algae blooms have destroyed the fishing in recent years, this years massive Blue/Green Algae outbreak has basically killed the tourism, boating, and fishing, around the lake, and put a massive crimp in the economy of the 2 main towns on Grand Lake...Celina and to a lesser extent St. Marys.

In search of the Algae Bloom_____

Yesterday I headed over to Nick's on the south side of Grand Lake....Nick's parents moved over that way from Celina back in the mid 1970s when he and I were down living in Athens and attending Hocking Technical College.  When the parents passed away, Nick and his sister took over the 10 acres and now have 3 houses on that and a nearby property...Nick has been a Lake Rat for a couple of decades now.

Nick had taken a day off work, and we sat with his dog in the open air of the garage, smoking a cigar and popping the cap on a first beer....well it was about 1pm and I certainly didn't want to spend the day drinking beer...well at least not in one spot, so after some thought, we decided, against EPA and ODNR warnings(not orders) to take his Pontoon out and about, hit a few bars and see if we could photograph the "Killer Algae Bloom"...5 hours and at least as many beer later, we were back in his garage, I was waiting for Patricia to pick me up(I wasn't about to drive the Jeep with a 6 pack in me, even though it was over a 6 hour or so period), we had discovered that the main lake was algae free, and to me, it looked and smelled much like it did when I first saw Grand Lake on a summer vacation to Celina, 50 years ago, in August of 1960.

In 1960 we were living in Venice, Florida, when on our summer trip, we stayed with our old family friends Jon and Sharon Swoveland, in Celina for a few days....some 2 plus years later, dad had purchased the Celina Marathon Service Station on Main Street, and we were back in Western Ohio.  Dad's station was 2 blocks from Grand Lake, and I fished that place over the next 5 years whenever I got the chance....Algae Bloom or none, the lake looks little different than it did back in those days.  Except for the Condos and over development.  The Algae outbreak was bad a few weeks back, but the media and state bureaucrats have decided to make a mountain out of a mole hill....and the fragile economy(thanks in most part to incompetent Celina City Mayor and Officials) is in deep trouble.

Aftermath_____

In my humble(humble my arse) opinion, the perpetrators of the farm runoff that has caused the bloom should be tried, convicted, and fined heavily....it is also my opinion after being out on the lake for 5 hours or so yesterday, the problem is going away, and the OEPA, ODNR, and the Media need to cease the scare tactics and horror stories....it isn't that bad...it still looks and smells like 1963 to me.  Except for those damn gated communities, condo, and destroyed wetlands.

I just noticed that this is post #800 for this Blog, and next week will mark 3 full years of posting.
Milestones, milestones....
Photos-Nick with his turn at the controls, and the lake...does it look that bad?  The wildlife doesn't seem to worry about it, a large swam swims along without a care near Duck Foot Landing, and the setting sun as our day on Grand Lake comes to and end.  No Killer Algae Found!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I live in Dayton and own a cottage at Club Island. I'm planning to visit the lake this weekend after being away for about a month. Thanks to your site I feel a little better obout the lake condition. That big algae bloom in early July was pretty bad.

I too hate Obama and everything he stands for but have to admit the thought occurred to me that if he sent over $100M to fix the lake I might change my mind. I figure it might be a good exercise for Obama to spend money somewhere and actually accomplish something.

Anymore my big enjoyment of the lake comes from just looking at it and boating. I would like for the grandkids to be able to swim though.

Thanks for your site,

PRH....... said...

Thanks for stopping by...the OEPA needs to drop the boating warnings, the media is blowing things up and out of reality.

The majority of the lake looks and smells like it did 40 and more years ago.

Things need to be done to bring the fishing and swimming back...killing the business on and around the lake, is not the way to go.

Heck, maybe Obummer can just have the printing presses cranked up a few hunderd million more, and send it our way. Although the area probably doesn't fit his and Strickland's voting resume'

jbuchberger said...

I was diggin' your site until my nuckle-dragger warning lights flared.

PRH....... said...

I always love posting assclowns snide comments....especially when the dumb bastards can't spell what the are trying to say...

So Jbuchberger...what the Hell is a "nuckle"? Knucklehead! :0

Anonymous said...

This is anonymous again,

I have been enjoying your site, brings back memories. I was out on my boat this past weekend. The lake really looked bad. This years alum treatment hasn't had a positive effect at least not yet. Sure hope things improve and the state focus remains strong. I figure the lake didn't get this way overnight and it wont be fixed overnight. Still a great place to relax and have a few beers.

Keep your fingers crossed that the country will come to it's senses and elect a new president that is qualified to do the job.