State Senator Keith Faber (R- Celina) announced today that increased dredging at Grand Lake St. Marys will soon take place in an effort to remove phosphorus-laden sediment that is contributing to water-quality issues at the lake. An amendment providing $750,000 to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) for the dredging and related disposal was included as part of the state Transportation budget that was approved by the Senate yesterday.

“Grand Lake St. Marys is a tremendous asset to our region, and it is crucial that we take corrective steps now to help avoid the algae blooms and toxin outbreaks that inhibited peoples’ ability to enjoy the lake for much of last year,” Faber said. “I applaud ODNR Director Mustine for working to get this amendment included in the transportation budget so that dredging can begin as soon as possible and we can move forward on our efforts to clean up the lake.”

Last year, high levels of algal toxins and large blue-green algae blooms caused advisories to be issued cautioning people from touching the water or consuming fish caught in the lake. The additional dredging was one of several improvement actions announced earlier this year by Ohio Governor John Kasich and the directors of ODNR, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Department of Agriculture to improve the lake’s water quality.

“We welcome any additional assistance in addressing the water quality challenges facing Grand Lake St. Marys,” said ODNR Director David Mustine. “Governor Kasich recognizes how vital this popular recreational lake is to the local economy and appreciates the efforts of Senator Faber
and many others who are pulling together to return the lake to a healthier state.”

Besides the additional dredging, other actions being implemented by the agencies include using granular alum to help inactivate excess phosphorus in the lake, installing water treatment equipment and removing fish species that are believed to stir up the bottom sediment, releasing more phosphorus.

Grand Lake St. Marys was constructed in the mid-1800s to store water for the Miami-Erie Canal and is Ohio’s largest inland lake.