Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday @ Grand Lake

I grew up here in Northwest Ohio. Born and raised here, I have lived here all of my life except for the few years that I moved a little further south where I met my husband.  Ultimately it was here that we decided to raise our children so we planted our roots back here to stay.

Every year on this weekend, we celebrate the Lake Festival. You see, here where I live is home to Grand Lake St. Mary's, once recognized as the largest man-made lake in the world. Workers were paid 35 cents a day and a jigger of whiskey to dig the lake and in 1845, the 13,500 acre Grand Lake was the largest man-made lake in the world. In the 1890's, oil was discovered and the lake was dotted with oil derricks. Today, a pile of rocks near the center of the lake marks the spot of the last producing well. Why am I telling you this? Because our lake is in trouble.

We took my kids to the lake over the 4th of July and from afar, it still looks like beautiful Grand Lake. Growing up, my sisters and I made a lot of memories on this Lake and I wanted the same for my children. I remember days of boating, fishing and swimming on the beaches.

But now, the water looks like this

And this

You see, an algae bloom has made the lake unsafe.  According to EPA reports, the water contains nerve toxins that are harmful to the liver and lungs.  Signs have been posted all around the lake advising no contact, including watercraft. One local Marina has already shut down and restaurants are starting to feel the affect. The smell coming off of the lake sometimes can be smelled across our entire city. It smells like rotting animals and makes you gag when you get a big whiff of it. The algae is so thick, the water near some of the beaches looks like green pudding.

Here are some pictures that my little sister and another friend took.



And it breaks my heart.

1 million dollars was given to the Lake this week to help fix the problem and they fear it won't be enough.

I am sad because I want my kids to be able to enjoy this lake growing up like I did but it makes me even sadder to know the impact it will have on our economy.  So many businesses have come to rely on the income they generate from tourism and other means to keep their doors open.

I hope they can fix it before too much damage is done.

Otherwise my kids are going to miss out on seeing cool things like this.


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