KASICH, AGENCY DIRECTORS ANNOUNCE INITIAL EFFORTS TO RESTORE GRAND LAKE ST. MARYS
Thursday Gov. John Kasich and the directors of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA), the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) announced initial actions to address long-standing water quality problems at Grand Lake St. Marys in western Ohio.
Those initial actions will include:
- The appointment of a point person at ODA, Kevin Elder, to coordinate the work of the three state agencies and to also coordinate with local organizations. Elder has worked on Grand Lake St. Marys issues for approximately 25 years;
- Test new treatment methods to evaluate their effectiveness and determine if they should be rolled out on a larger scale;
- Provide funding to assist with the installation of additional water quality improvement technology within the three main feeder tributaries to reduce phosphorous input into the lake;
- Increase the scope and duration of dredging: add a third dredge, begin dredging earlier and continue later into the season;
- Protect game fish species while facilitating the removal of less desirable species that are believed to stir up and release phosphorous contained in lake sediments;
- Provide monthly public updates.
In response to Kasich’s charge to the directors to move quickly to try to resolve long-standing issues with the lake, these actions were developed following meetings held with the Grand Lake St. Marys Restoration Commission members during the three directors’ first week in office.
Responses from local leaders include:
"Our commission members are pleased with the integrity of response we have received from Governor Kasich regarding the critical issues facing Grand Lake St. Marys,” said Dr. Tom Knapke, facilitator of the Grand Lake St. Marys Restoration Commission. “He and his team have recognized the sense of urgency, have listened to our concerns and asked for suggestions and feedback. We are enthusiastic about their willingness to allocate money and resources for lake-wide solutions.”
State Representative Jim Buchy (R-77) of Greenville, expressed his appreciation and enthusiasm for the commitment of Governor Kasich and his cabinet: “Clearly, Governor Kasich is taking action to address the concerns of the Grand Lake St. Marys community. Never in my 18 years as a legislator have I seen three directors work so closely together, pooling their resources and collaborating with the locals on an issue as diverse and challenging as the one facing us now,” said Buchy. “It’s an impressive response to a serious situation that needs a solution, not only for the residents of this area, but for all Ohioans.”
State Senator Keith Faber (R-12) of Celina, also praised the quick action the Kasich administration is taking at Grand Lake St. Marys: “During the campaign Governor Kasich committed to making Grand Lake St. Marys a priority. During his first week in office he had his key directors starting to work on fixing Grand Lake. These actions represent real first steps in this direction. I look forward to continuing to work with the Governor and his key staff to fix Grand Lake.”
More coverage on the announcement: