ST MARYS — The trees on a section of the shore at Frey’s Channel on the northeast side of Grand Lake St. Marys have been torn down and cut up to make way for a dredging material relocation area.
“It is like a big bowl,” said Kara Birt, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Financial Associate Supervisor at Grand Lake St. Marys.
After the downed trees and brush have been moved out, ODNR will begin construction on the relocation area, said Dan Gillis, equipment maintenance superintendent at the Grand Lake ODNR office.
The relocation area will be leveled off at the center, and then dirt will be raised along the edges, forming a raised circle or oval, Birt said. Then gates will be placed around the dirt sides. The lake will be dredged, and water will be pumped into the area, then the gates are removed so the water can drain back into the lake and the mud left dries in the sun, she said.
“We’ll be pumping in muck from the marina, the sailboat club, Frey’s Channel, the campground and west beach,” said Gillis, who is the ODNR dredging supervisor, said. “The muck will be dried out, and we’ll probably offer it to the public as free dirt. It will hold about 200 to 300 cubic yards in it.”
Once the dredge has been dried and taken by the community, ODNR will decide whether the location will be used again as a dredge material relocation area or leveled off and be used as a public space again, he said.
Gillis said an added benefit of ODNR’s yearly dredging project in Grand Lake is lessening excess phosphorous in the lake. The main focus is improving boating navigation and safety, as well as fishing. Dredging pulls sediment off of the bottom of the lake which gives the lake more depth, which is turn helps with oxygen production in the lake, said Brian Miller, South West District Manager for Ohio state parks and water craft.
“Deeper waters are cooler in the summer, and fish migrate to deeper waters,” Miller said.
The Frey’s Channel dredging material relocation area will be the third location on ODNR-owned property on Grand Lake, Miller said. The other two locations are on the West Bank and Park Grand Area. ODNR also leases two private properties used as dredge relocation areas, he said.
Gillis said anyone in the community can come and take what they want of the downed trees and brush at Frey’s Channel. Those interested in partaking of the wood must come prepared to cut and load it themselves though, he said.
“The sooner we can get everything out of there to start construction, the better,” Gillis said.
Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362