Park Manager To Push For More Alum

CELINA — A local park manager says he plans to push for a second alum dose next year for Grand Lake St. Marys.

“I’m pushing for phase II alum, I’ll just be honest with you,” Grand Lake St. Marys State Park Manager Brian Miller told members of the Lake Improvement Association Saturday morning. “When I go into the director’s meeting, that’s what I am going to walk in, as your park manager representing you, I am going to press for that and I’m also going to press for corrective measures in the external loading we are receiving. For us in this room, I am pushing for phase II of alum and getting it out there a lot earlier next year and trying to get ahead.”

HAB Aquatic Solutions last week wrapped up a monthlong alum treatment centered on the middle 4,900 acres of the lake. The project featured a low dose of alum aimed at neutralizing phosphorus in the lake — which feeds algae growth.

Microcystin in the lake hit its highest levels of the year. Miller said the high point reached 43 parts per billion near the intake in Celina. Other readings ranged in the low to mid 20s.

“Forty-three is the highest but if you remember last year we exceeded 2,000 ppb,” Miller said. “The microcystin is holding at this time.”

Miller also praised the work of HAB and its contractors for handling the large task of dosing the lake with alum. The project was the largest of its kind in the country.

“There was a lot of product that went down,” Miller said. “We were very pleased with the contractor. They were a very professional group.”

Scum buildups are hitting the lake during calm periods. Miller said once winds hit, the scum dissipates.

“We knew that was going to happen,” Miller said. “We knew there was going to be an algae bloom it was just at what intensity and what type of algae we were going to have were the questions no one could answer.”

Miller is scheduled to meet with Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director David Mustine this month. The two will talk about a course of action for the lake during the next budget cycle.

“We’ll be meeting to discuss our strategy moving forward,” Miller said, noting he planned to again talk about additional alum doses. “Hopefully we’re going to talk about phase II and phase III.”

Dredging continues on the lake. As of Saturday, crews have removed 110,000 cubic yards of material. Miller said the goal for the year is 200,000 cubic yards.

“We’re over half way to what our goal is and it’s only the first of July,” Miller said. “The guys are doing a great job. Our machines are working five days a week.”

During dredging, operators have found a slew of debris that Miller said should never be found in the lake.

Items ranged from toilets and rubber tubing to lawn mowers.

“It’s a sad fact that when some people get done using things that they throw them in the lake,” Miller said. “It’s just a sad fact.”

Core sampling should start in the coming weeks. The project will help determine the composition of the material in the lake.

“We are going to do about 50 cores out in the lake,” Miller said. “We are going to start that the week of July 25 so we can actually get a handle on what is actually out there — do we have sand, do we have silt?”

Last month’s carp derby was a success, Miller said. Participants removed 4 tons of the rough fish from Grand Lake St. Marys.

“If you want to mark your calendars, for those of you who are carp fishermen, it’s tentatively set for May 18, 19 and 20 for next year,” Miller said. “We’re looking forward to that again and I think it’s just going to be huge.”

An LIA member asked Miller if the water was safe. While he noted the current public health advisory imposed on the lake, Miller stressed boating and fishing remained safe.

“You can still boat, you can still fish,” Miller said. “It’s just that contact — it’s the skiing, the swimming and the tubing.”

Miller said he heard there were 37 boats tied up around the lake Friday night for Freedom Days in Celina. He encouraged boaters to hit the lake when weather permits.

The next meeting of the LIA is scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 13 at the Celina Moose Lodge.