WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following an advisory barring swimming and wading in Grand Lake St. Marys today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) pledged to help combat the Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) that have plagued the lake. Brown, the first senator from Ohio to serve on the Agriculture Committee in 40 years, has worked with local community leaders and federal officials to chart a strategy for improving the water quality and boosting tourism in the region.
“Advisories like today’s have had to been issued too many times for Grand Lake St. Marys,” Brown said. “A healthy Grand Lake St. Marys is critical to western Ohio’s prosperity and we must all work together to restore water quality and revitalize the recreation, tourism, and boating industries that it supports. That’s why I’ll pursue every avenue to find solutions to restore the lake.”
Grand Lake St. Marys has been affected by toxic blue-green algae that has left the lake unsafe for swimming, contributed to a decline in tourism, and reduced economic activity and local business in the area.
Brown helped secure $1 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) funding for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) efforts in the Grand Lake St. Marys watershed. EQIP offers technical assistance for farmers to plant cover crops, build manure storage facilities, install filter strips, and complete other conservation measures that keep phosphorus out of Grand Lake St. Marys. Studies on Grand Lake St. Marys have shown that excess phosphorus loading of the lake has been the primary reason for toxic algae blooms during the past few summers.