Grand Lake St. Marys (GLSM) is Ohio's largest inland lake at 12,700 acres. The watershed consists of 59,160 acres of drainage land area. Crop and livestock production accounts for approximately 90% of the land in the watershed. The drinking water of 11,500 City of Celina residents is supplied by Grand Lake.
The NRCS and Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) have worked closely with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Department of Agriculture, and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to implement the Grand Lake St. Marys & Its Watershed: Water Quality Improvement Initiatives plan which was announced in November 2009.
A special Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Demonstration Project was initiated in 2008 and was offered again in 2009, 2010, and 2011 for farmers in the Grand Lake St. Marys Watershed. Through this program, farmers in portions of Auglaize and Mercer Counties had the opportunity to receive funding for conservation practices aimed at keeping nutrients and sediment out of Grand Lake.
Ohio NRCS developed a special EQIP practice encompassing a conservation systems approach. This practice suite was offered in the recent EQIP signup in the watershed and will continue to be promoted.
Using several conservation practices together in a system increases the effectiveness of managing nutrients. Learn more by visiting the Management Systems page.
Ohio NRCS funded a 3-year water quality monitoring station, operated by the Heidelberg College’s National Center for Water Quality Research, in Chickasaw Creek, a major tributary to Grand Lake. The data collected clearly identifies agricultural runoff and nutrient loadings as a major contributor to the Grand Lake problem.