The warning about toxic blue-green algae posted at Wingfoot Lake State Park in Portage County was removed yesterday; it was the last one to come down this year.
"It’s December, and we’re finally closing the season on algae," said Heidi Hetzel-Evans, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources…
…Over the summer, alerts were posted at 20 public lakes and ponds across the state.
"This past summer was unlike anything we’ve ever witnessed in Ohio," Hetzel-Evans said.
No lake was hit harder than Grand Lake St. Marys, a 13,000-acre manmade lake in western Ohio. The algae, which first showed up last year, grew so thick in the water that officials warned visitors to avoid the water.
The Ohio EPA still says that fish in the lake are unsafe to eat. Toxins sickened some visitors and kept boaters and swimmers away for most of the summer. Tourism there died.
The state dumped aluminum sulfate and sand into Grand Lake in a bid to get rid of toxic algae. Officials still don’t know whether that worked.
More recently, the Ohio EPA began to test fish there to see whether toxins build up in their tissue over time.
Ohio EPA spokeswoman Dina Pierce said she hopes the results of Grand Lake’s tissue study can be used statewide.
For now, Pierce said, state officials are catching their breath and working to keep Ohioans safe.