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CELINA — An area official updated members of a local lake organization on a project that is scheduled to start this fall.
Mercer County Economic Development Director Jared Ebbing addressed members of the Lake Improvement Association during their monthly meeting Saturday morning.
He noted the Prairie Creek treatment train would be a system to return the “ecological balance” to that section of Grand Lake St. Marys.
“You still need to restore that balance, restore that ecological system that needs to be there,” Ebbing said. “It’s a very, very important part.”
He noted Prairie Creek was chosen because of its size.
“We wanted to focus on something that was manageable,” he said. “That was why Prairie Creek was chosen.”
The treatment train, which will be funded through grants from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Army Corps of Engineers, has been in the works for a while, Ebbing said, noting the project finally has everyone on board.
The treatment train, he said, will divert the path of the water into the lake.
“It shoots right into the lake, so everything else goes right into the lake, too — sediment, etc,” Ebbing said. “This would divert the flow into wetlands.”
In addition to diverting the creek’s path, an added benefit would be slowing down the water.
“We’re looking at getting something out to bid to move the sediment,” Ebbing said, noting the approximately 20,000 cubic feet of clay currently at the Prairie Creek site.
Once the sediment is moved, officials would then begin the planting of the floating wetlands and using dredge material to create restored and constructed wetlands.
“You want to create certain settings with the plantings, where it’s not just a standing pool of water,” Ebbing said.
He also noted they will be continuing with the alum and chitosan dosing, which would encourage the dissolving of phosphorus.
“It’s another piece of the puzzle — it’s creating balance,” Ebbing said.
He noted officials used aerial photos of the lake from the 1930s when creating the basis for the treatment train.
“This is what the lake used to look like — we have to get back there,” he said. “We’re trying to restore what was naturally a buffer and go back to that.”
The project, Ebbing said, would also visually enhance the lake.
“We feel that this is going to enhance people’s view,” he said. “This is an added benefit, not only for water quality, but the whole appearance of the lake.”
The project has a September 2012 deadline.
During Saturday’s meeting, LIA members also heard an update on the dredging in the lake, were encouraged to submit nominations for the Guardian of the Lake award and reminded that the Children’s Fishing Derby will be held Sept. 14 at the East Bank Shelter House No. 1.
The next meeting of the Lake Improvement Association will be at 10 a.m. Oct. 1 at the Celina Moose Lodge.