Buck Creek park marina remains closed after film found on water’s surface

ODNR official: ‘Nature can mimic something that looks like an oil spill, and we think that’s what we have.’

The marina at Buck Creek State Park remained closed on Tuesday because of a substance appearing at the top of the water, but officials said it will reopen.

Natalie Foos, statewide administrator of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources division of parks and watercraft, said the substance appears to be a combination of plant and fish material breaking down and releasing hydrogen sulfide, which is sitting on top of the water, and the lake water turning over. She said both events appear to have caused “discoloration” on top of the water, and she said it isn’t anything to worry about.

“A lot of times nature can mimic something that looks like an oil spill, and we think that’s what we have,” Foos said.

Foos said Ohio lake waters flip in the fall and spring, which can “shock” the systems of some fish. In this case, some shad have washed up because of the shock.

According to Ohio Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Stephanie O’Grady, the substance was contained to the marina area using flotation devices called containment booms.

ODNR spokesperson Andy Chow said the substance has not been identified for certain. He said ODNR is working with the Springfield Fire Rescue Division, Moorefield Township Fire Department, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Clark County EMA to address the situation.

The Ohio EPA visited the lake and had no concerns, Foos said Tuesday morning. Ohio EPA spokesperson Dina Pierce said Tuesday afternoon the substance “cleanup is progressing well” and they do not yet know if the substance is man-made or natural.

Foos said the lake will reopen but did not specify the timeline.

“Any sort of recreation, we want our visitors to be vigilant and safe, so wear their life jacket, go out with a buddy — don’t go alone, or let someone know that you’re coming out to the lake,” Foos said.

Foos said the ODNR regularly tests the water quality at Ohio beaches from Memorial Day to Labor Day. She said any quality advisories will be posted to the Ohio Beach Guard website.

Staff writer Daniel Susco contributed to this report.

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