Strouds Canoeing

A couple canoes at Strouds Run. There is a possibility of state park land being used for future oil and gas drilling, though there are no immediate plans to do so in Athens County.

Note: This story appears in the Sunday, Dec. 8 newspaper on Page A3.

Friends of Strouds Run State Park contracted recently with Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs for water quality testing at Dow Lake.

The tests looked into chemical parameters of four streams leading into Dow Lake, including pH, chloride and volatile organic compounds, all of which were found within expected ranges.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources conducts regular tests on the lake for coliform bacteria, but ordinarily do not test the chemical contents of the water. Friends of Strouds Run (FOSR) were seeking data to serve as a baseline for possible future negative impacts on the lake. These negative impacts could be caused by activities such as nearby clearcutting, gas/oil development or construction.

According to a press release from FOSR, there is a possibility that gas/oil development could occur in the Dow Lake watershed in coming years. The group is advocating for documentation of water quality in the streams that feed into the lake.

“Without baseline data on the present water quality, it would be difficult to prove responsibility and require remediation if industrial contamination were to occur in the future,” the release stated.

FOSR noted that Strouds Run is one of the more popular locations for recreation of Athens County residents, and also contributes to the economy through drawing visitors to the area. “Industrial contamination of the lake would have a serious negative impact on the community,” FOSR warned in its release.

The group has funded water quality tests since 2012. The practice was started when a $2,360 grant from the Ora E. Anderson Conservation Fund for Appalachian Ohio was given to FOSR. Since then, all tests have indicated the streams feeding Dow Lake have very good water quality.

The FOSR press release noted the group is pursuing a 3-5 year contract with the Voinovich School to sample the lake twice next year, at both low and high flow, and to conduct quarterly field monitoring as well as a Tier 3 (for volatile organic compounds) testing of the lake itself.

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