Ohio Daily Impact in the Global Spotlight - “The clock is ticking. This lake is dying.” - "OHIO IS GOING OUT OF BUSINESS"

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 02/08/2011 - 19:13.

Char Richtmyer, a Grand Lake St. Marys resident for 16 years, pulls a dead fish off the beach to toss it back in the water.
For the second year in a row, the lake has been plagued by a new and potentially toxic form of algae that is killing fish,
creating foul odors and driving away tourists at the height of the summer season. Staff photo by Jim Witmer

Ohio was in the news for incompetent environmental planning, last week, in The Daily Impact - Chronicling the Crash of the Industrial Age - "Ohio Lake “Dying”: Governor Applies Lipstick" - what does this say about our future? Thank God for outside media coverage of Ohio... the truth is sometimes told...

The government of the great state of Ohio demonstrated last week, with laser-like precision, exactly why we do not have a chance of avoiding the multiple catastrophes bearing down on our supplies of food, energy and water. In unveiling what was universally described as a “plan” to deal with one of the state’s biggest pollution problems, the governor and his fellow politicians also demonstrated the new first principle of government: it is far, far better to appear to be doing something than to actually do something.

What does the non-response of Ohio government to this environmental disaster tell us about the non-response of government we may expect to environmental disasters here in Northeast Ohio, really! Just look at government's non-response to lead poisoning and pollution from Mittal for clues.

If the Grand Lake St. Marys disaster is caused by industry, why should citizens foot the bill to clean-up their mess? Why aren't polluters going to jail for this disaster... and paying back the $ billions this toxic disaster costs citizens?

What does government inaction (and stupid actions) about Grand Lake St. Marys tell the rest of the world about Ohio.... and about Democratic and Republican leadership here? We'll see what the signs read this Summer... I suspect they shall say "OHIO IS GOING OUT OF BUSINESS"!

Ohio Lake “Dying”: Governor Applies Lipstick

January 31, 2011

The government of the great state of Ohio demonstrated last week, with laser-like precision, exactly why we do not have a chance of avoiding the multiple catastrophes bearing down on our supplies of food, energy and water. In unveiling what was universally described as a “plan” to deal with one of the state’s biggest pollution problems, the governor and his fellow polititicans also demonstrated the new first principle of government: it is far, far better to appear to be doing something than to actually do something.

Here’s the problem. Excess application of synthetic fertilizer and unfettered dumping of industrial quantities of animal manures have clotted the waterways of agricultural Ohio with algae — minute plants whose growth is over-stimulated by the over-supply of synthetic nutrients. The problem, which has been known to be worsening for many decades, reached a point last year at which the excesses of industrial agriculture began to eat out the foundations of another major industry — tourism.

Grand Lake St. Marys is, with an area of 13,000 acres, Ohio’s largest lake and, by itself, the generator of $160 million in tourist revenues and 2,600 jobs. In 2009, the lake became so clogged with algae, and its water quality so degraded as a result, that the state EPA posted the lake with signs advising people not to drink the water and to limit any contact with it. Much angst ensued, but the only apparent effort to deal with the problem was an appeal by then-governor Ted Strickland for federal cash to somehow deal with what he described as a problem that was “causing a significant loss to local businesses and the overall livelihood of the region.” If anyone suggested dealing with the sources of the problem — the farm fields and feed lots — they did not get a hearing.

Anyone puzzled by this needs to know that while tourism at the lake yields $160 million a year, agriculture in the two adjacent counties is worth more than four times that.

Winter killed the algae mats (as winter always does), they sank from view (to lie on the bottom where their decomposition sucks all the oxygen out of the water), the water cleared and in the spring of 2010 the Ohio EPA took down the warning signs. If they had any idea that the crisis was over — and it’s highly unlikely that they did — they had only a few weeks before they had to put up even sterner signs. Because this year, not only did the algae come back as before, it was joined by a new, toxic strain that laced the water with liver- and neuro-toxins that killed fish and threatened people. The new signs advised people not to touch the water. The lake’s tourist industry crashed and burned. For the region’s agriculture industry, it’s business as usual.

Now comes the new governor, John Kasich, to announce last Friday what has been variously represented as “an accelerated recovery plan,” “a new attack on algae,” “an effort to keep the algae from returning,” and “a plan for stopping algae.” A cursory review of the actual content of his proposal, however, leads to the conclusion that he would have been better advised to hold a prayer service.

Here’s what the governor said he might do, if he can find the money:

  • Dredge more of the lake sediment that is suffused with nutrients — phosphorous and nitrates from agricultural runoff — some of which will be disposed of elsewhere, some of which will be piled up at a different location in the same lake to create “wetland islands.”
  • Kill more carp, because they stir up the aforementioned sediments and mix nutrients into the water.
  • Filter more of the water flowing into the lake to remove nutrients.
  • And, if possible — meaning that if someone somehow figures out how to raise, borrow or print the money — dump alum into the lake. Or some of the lake. Alum is a chemical that is supposed to lock up phosphorous in the water so the algae can’t use it, but when it was tested as a way to deal with Ohio’s problem, it failed.

So the governor proposes to dig up more — but not all — of the contaminated lake bottom, to filter some — but far from all — of the contaminated water flowing into the lake and to dump in some — but not all — of the lake a chemical that, demonstrably, does not work. All of this subject to his somehow, sometime, finding the money in a state facing an eight billion dollar budget deficit. And this is described as a “plan.”

In the governor’s announcement and the resulting media coverage, there was barely a mention of limiting the application of synthetic fertilizers or the spreading of manure, hardly a whisper about leaving buffer zones between fertilized fields and waterways, and no suggestion that feedlots ought to be responsible for their city-scale effluents. (Yes, there are federal programs that “encourage” buffer zones and wetland preservation. They offer $3,500 an acre to preserve or restore wetlands, where an acre of cropland bring three time that on the open market; and a princely $50 an acre to create buffer zones. But the programs don’t have any money anyway.)

Governor Kasich may not understand biology, or comprehend what is about to happen to his state, but he certainly knows his politics. By proposing a flurry of expensive activity that can have no successful outcome he has generated scores of admiring headlines, has earned the approval of environmental organizations for taking a “first step” in the general direction of an eventual maybe solution, and yet he has not antagonized the industrial-ag people whose money he needs to get reelected. Does it get any better than this?

Meanwhile, in the words of Sean Logan, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, “The clock is ticking. This lake is dying.”

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Let Metroparks' Rzepka build on Tinker's Creek

  Why not accelerate the damage and get it over with...time to leave Ohio?  Who needs drinking water, anyway?!

http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2011/02/biologists_investigating_sudde.h...

http://www.cleveland.com/chagrinsolonsun/index.ssf/2010/01/new_housing_p...

 

time to stop wasting tax money stocking Ohio waters with fish

Shadows of things to come... time to stop wasting tax money stocking Ohio waters with fish that will just suffer and die... and may as well fire all the park and wildlife management folks failing to protect either... save more tax dollars  - the sport fishing industry is dead in Ohio - don't trust the government here - don't eat local fish - put away the tackle boxes until you save up enough money for a long vacation...


Lonnie Timmons III l The Plain DealerShadow Lake in the South Chagrin Reservation of Cleveland Metroparks
has been closed to fishing because of the deaths of hundreds of trout.

Biologists investigating sudden deaths of hundreds of trout at Cleveland Metroparks' Shadow Lake

Published: Saturday, February 05, 2011, 5:15 AM     Updated: Saturday, February 05, 2011, 10:23 PM

SOLON, Ohio -- The sudden deaths of hundreds of stocked trout in the Cleveland Metroparks' Shadow Lake in the South Chagrin Reservation have anglers puzzled and biologists investigating what might have gone wrong under the ice.

Metroparks Fisheries Biologist Mike Durkalec said Friday that "it's very likely all the rainbow trout are dead" in the three-acre lake, which sits south of Solon Road and east of Richmond Road in Solon. He said he also saw several dead sunfish this week near the edge of the lake.

"This is unprecedented for this lake, which is why we're investigating it so actively," Durkalec said. "The red flags went up because this is not a reedy lake where oxygen levels have dropped off in the past."

Fish kills may be caused naturally by oxygen depletion when lakes and ponds ice over each winter, Durkalec said, but that doesn't appear to be the case with Shadow Lake.

Which is why the park system is trying to determine whether runoff with a "high organic content" somehow accelerated the oxygen loss, which Durkalec said he noticed immediately when he tested the water.

Disrupt IT