Article originally published in The Mercer County Outlook

Dr. Robert Hiskey, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Wright State University – Lake Campus, will be collecting samples and providing data for the Grand Lake St. Marys Restoration Initiative, an effort led by the Grand Lake Restoration Commission to clean up Grand Lake St. Marys. The Lake Campus is located on the northern shores of the lake and has a vested interest in improving the quality of water in Grand Lake St. Marys.

Hiskey currently extracts his samples from two locations, both of which are in proximity to the "Airy-Gators" which were installed this spring on the south side of the lake. The Airy-Gator system increases the dissolved oxygen and circulation in Grand Lake St. Marys.

Three nutrients Dr. Hiskey will be monitoring include phosphorus, chlorophyll and nitrate. High levels of chlorophyll are desirable because it increases the amount of oxygen in the lake. Dr. Hiskey has a new piece of equipment, a Flurometer, that pumps lake water through the machine to instantly measure the chlorophyll level. Dr. Hiskey notes that although the scientific equipment is very expensive, Lake Campus funds and donations to the Grand Lake Restoration Commission enabled the purchase of the Flurometer.

Hiskey also has several other pieces of equipment he and his students use to measure the levels of phosphorus and nitrogen in the lake. A high level of phosphorus and nitrogen is lethal combination that can cause blue-green algae to be present in fresh water. Last summer Grand Lake St. Marys users were notified by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and Ohio EPA that blue-green algae was present and that the algae can cause health complications to humans, plants and animals. This problem sparked the initiative to improve the quality of water in Grand Lake St. Marys.

Dr. Hiskey, Lake Campus students and other faculty members will be monitoring the waters of Grand Lake St. Marys on a weekly basis throughout the summer and will report their findings. Dr. Hiskey notes that the water quality of the lake is some of the best he has seen in while, and he is excited that he and his students are a resource for this initiative.