A local lake restoration group is in the process of whittling down a large list of possible solutions to help it in its fight to heal Grand Lake St. Marys. “There are approximately 50 to 55 different companies, or solutions that have been presented to us,” Grand Lake St. Marys Restoration Commission Facilitator Tom Knapke said during Saturday’s Lake Improvement Association meeting. “We are in the process at this point in time of starting to evaluate those. We have a grant from ODNR through the foundation at the college, plus with the Lake Restoration Commission, we have about $50,000.”

That funding will be used to whittle the list down to a top three to five. Knapke said the solutions that are deemed feasible would be added to the arsenal to help heal the lake.

“We’re trying to bring some experts in here to give us some assistance on some of these initiatives,” Knapke said. “And that’s going to be Battelle as our potential helper. We’re also looking at the aeration of some of those channels.”

Knapke revealed there are some projects going on behind the scenes the public may be unaware of at this point. Knapke said the projects are aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of the proposals.

“About a month ago, a company came in here from Missouri with a potential,” Knapke said, declining to reveal the name of the company. “I took him to a certain producer in the watershed and he is working with that producer. This company will provided 60 days of solution to do their testing and pay for it with without any cost to us.”

Grand Lake St. Marys Park Manager Brian Miller briefed LIA members on several projects going on around the lake. To date, more than 10 tons of rough fish have been removed as a result of trapping.

Miller also touted the recent success of Memorial Day weekend at the lake.

“From a park perspective, we did have a good Memorial Day weekend,” Miller said. “We had about 85 percent occupancy.”
Miller also issued a reminder that dock fees are due.

“It’s 50 percent off and we’re expecting 100 percent compliance,” Miller said. “I just gave my officers a list of those people who haven’t paid them and you will be getting a visit if you are one of those folks.”

Revenue from dock fees helps fund the park’s operation.

“Our expenses are more than the revenue we bring in,” Miller said. “So those dock fees help with those things.”

Dredge Supervisor Tom Grabow gave a report on dredging progress. Dredges are currently operating in Kozy Kamp Ground, Riley Bay and Coldwater Creek. Grabow noted the new dredge for the park has been ordered, which has a price tag of $668,000. The remaining allocation, which was $750,000, will be used for riprap at Harmon’s Landing.

“We’ve removed 64,684 cubic yards,” Grabow said. “We are moving material.”

The next meeting of the Lake Improvement Association is scheduled for 10 a.m. July 2 at the Celina Moose Lodge.


By Mike Burkholder, The Evening Leader