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Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

New islands come with lots of cost and rules

By Nancy Allen
Building islands in Grand Lake is a good idea and would provide a place for muck dredged from the lake, but the process is extremely expensive.
That's what Grand Lake St. Marys State Park Manager Craig Morton told members of the Lake Development Corporation (LDC) during the private group's meeting Monday. LDC members have brought up the topic of building islands in the lake on other occasions, noting that master plans for the lake have long included the creation of islands.
Morton also said if islands were built, the state would have to mitigate, or create wetlands elsewhere, to replace the volume lost in the lake by building islands.
"We talk about the lake needing more volume and needing a place to put the stuff," said LDC member Tom Knapke. "It seems this would solve it."
Morton said if a private individual helped finance it, the state would help them through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permitting process necessary for the work.
"If someone got enough money to put a ring of rocks out there (in the lake) we'd work with the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers to do it, but that's a big amount of cost especially when you have to barge the rocks out there," Morton said.
Morton said he priced creating a 10-acre dredge material relocation area a few years ago and it would cost about $1.6 million. And that estimate didn't include additional costs that would be incurred if the area was located away from shore and the rocks had to be taken out on barges.
The relocation area he priced out is a wetland, with low-lying areas that would hold water, not an island. Wetland-type areas do not require mitigation, while islands do, he said.
LDC member Frank Murray also asked if the state could make some money selling dredge material from the lake as top soil or a type of fertilizer, since it is high in nutrients.
"We used to sell it, but now we're just happy to get somebody to take it away," he replied. "We're fine with having people come take it away."
Morton said anyone wanting to use the dredge material for fill or topsoil is welcome to come get it for free, after completing a small amount of paperwork.
"If contractors, cities, townships or municipalities are interested we can provide them with a lot of dirt," Morton said. "If someone is going to take a lot of dirt, we want them to have their own machinery to load it and take it away."
Morton said if cities or municipalities want the dredge material, the state might be able to use their own machinery to help load it, if the machinery is available, but not transport it.
Morton said a dredge material relocation area the state has behind its maintenance shed near the state park campground is still too wet to be taken, but that material, along with material at a site near the Rustic Haven area, should be available soon.
Interested persons can contact the state park at 419-394-3611.
The next LDC meeting is 4 p.m. Oct. 1 in room 182 at Wright State University-Lake Campus.
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