“Cooperation is probably the right word,” is how Jeff Van Loon of the Medina County Soil and Watershed Conservation District described a meeting of groups affected by toxic algal blooms in Chippewa Lake.
The conservation district, Medina County Park District, Save the Lake Coalition and other area organizations met recently at the park district’s Krabill Shelter in Lafayette Township to discuss what needed done to prevent the blooms from occurring, which resulted in the lake being closed last year because of algal toxins.
Mark Krosse from Save the Lake Coalition said the group made up of Chippewa Village residents was formed after the lake was closed late last summer due to harmful algal blooms.
The Chippewa Lake algal bloom is the result of a microscopic organism called cyanobacteria. Its blooms can produce harmful toxins that may make people and pets sick when they come into contact with the water.
“Typically, when you start getting a lot of algae blooms, that is caused by nutrients pollution,” Krosse said. “Too much nitrogen, too much phosphorous from many possible different sources across the watershed.
Krosse said the algal blooms in Chippewa Lake could be a result of a number factors, including septic tanks, industrial waste and runoff from a nearby golf course, farms and housing developments. He said the runoff could find its way into the 22-square-mile Upper Chippewa Creek Watershed, which feeds the lake.
“There are a lot of moving parts and sources of the problem,” Krosse said.
Van Loon said Paul Anderson from the private company Enviroscience attended the meeting and provided the group with some information about what is going on with the lake, and what can be done to help determine the causes of the algal blooms.
“He used to be with Ohio EPA in Twinsburg until he retired,” Van Loon said. “He was probably Ohio’s top stream-monitoring person, so he is very knowledgeable from a science prospective.”
He added:”Echoing what Mr. Anderson said, the lake itself has to be examined, flow and depths, sediments on the bottom, how much phosphorous is tied to those and what might be coming in from various sources.”
Krosse said another reason the public should be aware of what is going on in Chippewa Lake is algal blooms are starting to show up in other Medina County lakes.
“The purpose of that (meeting) was to get all of the interested agencies who own a piece of the problem to get together in a room and figure out how we work together,” Krosse said.
Van Loon said a follow-up meeting will be held this week to help determine what upcoming work can be done by the Save the Lake Coalition in the coming months.
In December, park district reopened the lake to the public, but a public health advisory remains for pets and vulnerable people to avoid water contact.
Contact reporter Nathan Havenner at (330) 721-4050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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