Grand Lake St Marys was a "crowning human achievement"... It was the largest
man-made lake in the world at it's finalization. It served as 1) a
reservoir for the Miami-Erie and Erie-Wabash canals and 2) as a connection
point for the two canals. It is now, like it's sister lake, Indian Lake,
used for recreation, but is basically a settling pool for all the
agricultural run off of the area in between the topography they decided to
The topography is all morainic drift... The placement of the lakes are
between a major advance moraine surrounding the "Bellefountaine escarpment"
(I say in quotes because there's a real name, just can't think of it right
now) and a minor advance that left some of the moraines I descibed a few
weeks ago in my accounts of the Auglaize, Ottawa and Blanchard watersheds
just to the north. I really need to get that Ohio Geology book so I can
hammer these into my head :)
This does take some of the heat off of the Great Miami, the St Mary's
(consequently the Maumee River) and the Wabash because the sediments are
allowed to settle out the lake format. Those two lakes go to absolute
chocolate milk when it rains... It's really amazing to watch happen. And
what you get is a _heavily_ enriched waterbody... Constant dredging is an
absolute must for each lake to maintain it's recreational appeal.
It's interesting to see in the lakes, when angling, that more typical clear
water species like pumpkinseed are still hanging on. Trautman gave records
of the original pools of Indian Lake being clear water, heavily vegitated
ponds and shallow quarrys in the headwaters of the Great Miami, which only
makes sense when you get into the parts of Indian Lake where he was
describing. The water lilys (I believe an exotic) pretty much dominate the
plant world at this point. Finding foxtail etc is pretty rare and usually
restricted to a back pool somewhere that's been blocked off with rhizomes.
Carp, of course, are very dedicated to ruining even these small pockets of
What most interested me in this discussion is that the Erie-Wabash and
Erie-Miami canal ways are still open. Very very open. Orangespot sunfish
and suckermouth minnows are a couple bi-products expanding their range as we
made the habitat more Great Plains-like instead of the pristine Prarie type
streams that existed historically.
What I wonder is if there's been an action plan in place for the silver carp
who may be moving up the Wabash as we type? They'd have little trouble
getting into the Maumee, and thus the Great Lakes from this connection...
What remains of the canals currently are perfect silver carp habitat.
Scarry stuff. I think we're going to have to do some dippin' in next year.
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