A local lake group discussed the results of two projects it operated through a federal grant.

During the Grand Lake/Wabash Watershed Alliance’s Joint Board meeting Tuesday morning, Watershed Coordinator Laura Walker noted she put together the final report for the Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Innovation Grant it received in 2008.

“We started back in 2008,” Walker said. “The first part of it was the shoreline stabilization with geotextile tubes.”

Walker noted the tubes “held up as expected.”

“The only thing we expected was for them to sprout cottonwoods, and they haven’t done so yet,” she noted.

According to the report, they also realized to make the project most effective, the tubes should be placed near a dredge material relocation area and a gate valve should be utilized to provide maximum daily dredging capacity. An estimated 2,600 cubic yards of dredge material was captured in the tubes, and samples showed the process captured an average 65 percent of total suspended solids, 90 percent of total phosphorus and 98 percent of P2O5, plant available phosphorus.

Walker noted the tubes held up well, without getting holes.

“They’ve held up good, they survived the ice two winters now,” she said.

“The second part of the grant was the floating wetlands,” Walker said, noting some floating wetlands have been put back out on the water.

According to the report, the Lizard’s Tail plant had the highest phosphorus concentration.

“MAD Scientist picked these plants because they’re hardy and they were going to be resilient and how they uptook phosphorus,” Walker said.

She noted Mercer Soil and Water hosted the project, and residents have already sponsored their own floating wetlands for this year.

“People have adopted them, so they’re back in the channels,” Walker said. “That’s a good protected area for the floating wetlands.”

She said between 10 and 15 people have adopted the floating wetlands, such as the LIA and the Southmoor Shores Homeowners’ Association.

“Most people have talked about how they can winter them on their own,” Walker said. “(The plants) will make it if they’re down in the dirt.”

Overall, Walker said the grant was successful.

“I think we picked two good things to try, and I think we learned a lot,” she said, noting the project was a way to get the community involved in how they can help with the lake’s situation. “It’s something people can do, it’s hands-on.”

In other business, the group heard Walker’s Watershed Coordinator’s report, which included talk on the 319 grant. After discussion, Joint Board members motioned to send a letter of support to open up the area of the 319 grant to include the Wabash River watershed, in addition to the Grand Lake St. Marys watershed, which the grant currently covers.

The next meetings of the GLWWA will be a Public Advisory Board meeting on Tuesday, June 21, and a Joint Board meeting at 9 a.m. July 19.


By Angela Weaver, The Evening Leader