Killer lake kills property values, tourism jobs

Algae bloom, Baltic sea
Algae bloom, Baltic sea

There is a 13,000 acre lake in western Ohio that has turned into a killer. Thanks to an overabundance of phosphorus from runoff fertilizer and manure, an outbreak of toxic algae has taken it over. The algae is suspected of making nine people sick and likely contributing to, if not causing, the death of three dogs. The state has declared the lake a "No Contact" zone, meaning people should not even touch the water.

But health problems are only one aspect of the disaster. For homeowners in the area with lakefront properties, the algae has been financially devastating. I spoke with Wilhelmina Klosterman of Grand Lake Realty, who told me that since they were forced to add "EPA issue" to listings, home sales have virtually died. She has one $1 million listing that isn't selling although the price has been cut to $785,000. Another $97,000 home has drawn no interest even after dropping the price to $79,900. Another part of the problem is lenders, who are unwilling to take a chance in this market. Klosterman also rents camp spaces and motor homes to people who visit the lake for summer recreation. This summer, her business has been abysmal.