From the Dayton Daily News:

You know what I like — besides hitting a jackpot in Vegas? I like to see people doing something to help themselves. And that’s what I am seeing now at Grand Lake St. Marys.

Instead of waiting around for the state or federal government to conduct this study or that survey, and instead of waiting for the EPA to perform a gazillion series of tests, the people who live and work there are taking matters into their own hands.

Their goal is to bring people back to the beleaguered lake. They are not trying to create Utopia. They just want it like it was before the toxic blue-green algae took over. Grand Lake St. Marys was a great place to bring a family for a leisurely day of boating, water skiing, swimming and fishing.

Now it’s almost a ghost town.

So for about 10 months, the Grand Lake St. Marys Restoration Commission has been raising money and spending it on equipment and programs that will improve water quality in the lake. They have not been afraid to approach groups, companies, the government and the general public, asking for donations. And instead of accumulating funds, they have spent the money almost as fast as they have brought it in — every bit of it going toward improving the water.

The Grand Lake St. Marys Restoration Commission held an open meeting to update area citizens on what has been done and what will happen in the future.

“It’s like a person who has been in a traffic accident,” said Tim Lovett, president of the Lake Improvement Association. “Doctors will do what has to be done long-term to bring that person back to normal, but first they must help the person survive.

“We must do something immediately to help our lake survive. We want to be on this lake and in this lake next year.”

What’s being done immediately started with the placement of equipment to add oxygen and to filter out the phosphorus that feeds the algae. The goal is to create treatment paths as the water enters the lake through nine creeks. So far, enough money has been raised to start that cleansing process in three locations. As money is raised, all nine creeks will be involved.

Although cooler weather has improved the water quality to an extent, the EPA still has an advisory against swimming, skiing and contact with the water. People have been fishing lately and the crappies and bluegills are biting. But since it is unknown if the toxic water has contaminated the fish — just about everyone is practicing catch-and-release.

Commission members have been thinking outside the box, so to speak, and have come up with an idea for a carp derby. A carp derby? Here’s the reasoning:

Carp and other non-game fish eat a phytoplankton, which the game fish need while young until they become carnivores. Rough fish also secrete dissolved phosphorous in their waste, which feeds the toxic blue-green algae.