Over $248,000 in Funding Will Help Restore and Protect Lake Erie

MEADVILLE, Pa. – Restoration of the Lakeside boat launch in Lawrence Park Township and funds to research bird migration in the Lake Erie Costal Zone are just two of the seven projects that have been awarded more than $248,000 in grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to protect and restore the Lake Erie Coastal Zone.

(Photo courtesy of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection)

“Our coastal zones are vital environmental, economic, and community resources for the commonwealth,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Each year, the diverse Coastal Zone projects help us rethink, reexamine, and rededicate our efforts towards a comprehensive approach to ensuring the sustainability of these habitats.”

Coastal zones are the area where land meets the coast and include both coastal waters and adjacent shorelands and are under increasing pressure from development, erosion, biodiversity loss, and pollution. Coastal Zone Grants are awarded to projects related to fisheries, wetlands, stormwater management improvements, recreation, public education, coastal hazards such as bluff recession, and other areas. Grants may also be awarded to other projects in the watershed that have an impact on coastal waters.

The 77-mile Lake Erie coastal zone is in Erie County and includes the Lake Erie shoreline and several major tributaries. The coastal zone also extends to the middle of the lake, to the international boundary with Canada, and inland an average of 1.4 miles.

Approved projects include:

Erie County

  • Erie Bird Observatory – $50,000 to conduct research on bird migration in the Lake Erie Coastal Zone and to promote awareness of birding as an economic driver in the Erie area
  • County of Erie – $75,00 for coordination and technical assistance with Lake Erie coastal zone grantees
  • County of Erie – $9,000 to assist Lake Erie coastal communities in administering the Bluff Recession and Setback Act of 1980
  • Erie County Conservation District – $11,500 to purchase and provide Mobi-Mats to allow for beach access for persons with disabilities at Freeport Beach (Halli Reid Park) and 20 Mile Beach
  • Gannon University – $12,217 for the Summer School of Excellence to educate approximately 30 high school students from Erie, Crawford and Warren counties on coastal zone environmental issues
  • Lawrence Park Township – $45,000 to rehabilitate and restore the Lakeside boat launch to its original, functional condition
  • Regional Science Consortium – $50,000 to research the occurrence of saxitoxin from harmful algal blooms along the coastline of Lake Erie

Funded primarily by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the grants are administered by DEP’s Coastal Resources Management Program. Since federal approval of the DEP Coastal Resources Management Program in 1980, the program has provided more than $50 million in funding for coastal zone projects.

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