Tuesday, September 4th, 2007
State to clear stumps, debris in Grand Lake
By Nancy Allen
Grand Lake St. Marys State Park officials will remove stumps and other debris from the lake this fall for the first time in two years, said park manager Craig Morton during Saturday's Lake Improvement Association (LIA) meeting.
State officials have not been able to do stump removal for a while because the lake level has been too high, but it is down enough this year to make it possible, Morton said.
"In my 41/2 years here this is the lowest the lake has been going into the fall," Morton said, adding that the lake's water level is about 7 inches below normal pool.
Morton encouraged people who see stumps and other debris in the lake to mark them with jugs attached to a string and weight and then call the park office at 419-394-3611 and let them know where it is.
Morton said park officials will start stump removal some time between now and the end of October.
Morton also reported the big dredge spent the last couple of weeks working at the mouths of the Windy Point east channel, D&W Marina channel and the east and west Bass Landing channels.
This week the big dredge will begin work in the Burdge Creek main channel that leads to the Shingle Shack area.
About two weeks ago, the small dredge finished up the Duck Foot Landing channel and the St. Marys Boat Club channel. This week the small dredge will continue to work in the Behm's Landing channel.
The big dredge started the Behm's Landing channel job about six weeks ago, cleaning out the mouth and the first stretch up to the first bend, Morton said. The big dredge was swapped out and then mechanical problems held up the job for about two weeks, Morton said.
Morton said state park officials also plan to dredge the Windy Point west channel this year. Between that job and stump removal, state park officials should be kept busy, he said.
The LIA on Saturday voted to donate $5,000 to the state park to build a three-bay boat garage on the West Bank to house a state lake patrol boat.
The Division of Watercraft will fund half of the $40,000 project, and the state is seeking funds for the other half, Morton said.
The state has another boat bay on the East Bank. Having a boat garage on the West Bank would help with emergencies on or near West Bank, Morton said.
Club Island resident Tom Rampe received the LIA's Guardian of the Lake award during Saturday's meeting.
The award is presented each year by the LIA to recognize people, persons, groups or companies that have contributed to the improvement of the lake and its environment.
Rampe became involved in the LIA's Lake Restoration Committee during the last few years, attending numerous meetings, researching grants and other information and spreading the word about the lake's water quality problems.
Rampe, a Navy veteran, has used his past work experience in civil and sanitary engineering, to help with lake issues. In the Navy he worked on various environmental cleanup projects.
Weekend at Grand Lake park:
Grand Lake St. Marys State Park Manager Craig Morton said there were no serious incidents or injuries during the Labor Day weekend.
"It went really well and of course we had perfect weather," Morton said. "The campground was full and there was a fair amount of people out boating, but not as much as you would think."
Morton said there was at least one lake DUI charge and a stolen boat reported. A couple of bicycles reported stolen were returned to their owners, but the boat has not yet been found, he said.
"It's been a good year. There's not been much in the form of serious injuries since Memorial Day weekend when we had an almost drowning of a 7-year-old girl," he said.
A local man who wished to remain anonymous saved the girl after she had an epileptic seizure and went under the water at the campground beach. No one else reportedly saw her go under, Morton said.
The last drownings on Grand Lake were April 8, 2005, when the jon boat two 15-year-old Celina boys were trying to take across the lake capsized in rough water.
Morton said children should be watched at all times when they are swimming in the lake.
"If you have young children, don't let them any more than arm's length away, especially when you are in water murky enough you can't see them ... That's if they don't have a life jacket on," he said.
- Nancy Allen