From the Dayton Daily News’ B.J. Bethel:

"The lesson is clear … act on environmental problems before they act on you."

Give the state of Ohio credit. Despite a $9 billion budget shortfall, the state is delivering on help to beleaguered Grand Lake St. Marys — finally.

The last two years, the lake has been devastated by toxic algae blooms, which closed the lake and destroyed local tourism — a center of economic life in the region.

After the lake made headlines last summer, out came the politicians and the promises — and it looks as if some are being delivered on. Starting in 2012, winter manure loading is banned in the area. Last week, Gov. John Kasich said the state would be furthering alum treatments to diminish algae and to begin three dredging projects.

Looking back, it’s a shame this effort wasn’t made a decade ago. Ohio was living high on a budget surplus, and the lake wasn’t nearly as polluted. If the dedication had been made, the two lost summers could have been avoided.

Now, the future is uncertain. Alum treatments have shown mixed results in early testing and have never been tried in such a mass scale before. Dredging is a controversial issue for some environmental groups who have sued to stop such projects in the past.

Unfortunately, this new attention doesn’t mean things will be better this summer — or that boats might actually out-number dredges on the water come July.

But the lesson is clear across the state — act on environmental problems before they act on you.