Article Posted: October 02, 2005

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Six long and short-term projects to benefit from grants

TOLEDO, OH - Six projects whose goal is to improve Lake Erie and its watershed will benefit from $209,221 in grants approved Wednesday by the Ohio Lake Erie Commission (LEC). The projects include three long-term efforts to improve Lake Erie water quality and three short-term efforts to further restore lake tributaries and wildlife habitat and improve tourism in selected areas.

“Each of these projects will significantly improve and protect the Lake Erie watershed,” said Edwin J. Hammett, executive director of the commission. “Each also furthers goals set forth by the Lake Erie Protection and Restoration Plan which is the strategic blueprint for improving Lake Erie as a quality resource.”

A total of $181,763 in large grants for implementation of specific projects went to The Ohio State University, the Western Reserve Land Conservancy and the Chagrin River Watershed Partners.

The Ohio State University’s Ohio Sea Grant received $20,243 to support the Ohio Clean Boater Program (with a focus on Lake Erie) as an ongoing component of the Ohio Clean Marinas Program. Goals of the project are twofold: to develop an organizational structure and location for the program and to further develop ways of enticing watercraft owners to take the Clean Boater Pledge. Project director: Leroy Hushak, Ph.D.

The Western Reserve Land Conservancy received $100,000 for Prioritization of the Western Reserve’s Lake Erie Basin. This regional land conservancy, encompassing 14 northeast Ohio counties, will prioritize parcels of land in the Lake Erie portion of the Western Reserve region that contain the most sensitive tributaries, floodplains, wetlands, rare species habitat and

other important features. The product of this process will be a database of prioritized parcels that will be used in developing a regional Land Protection Program. Project director: Anne Murphy

The Chagrin River Watershed Partners received $61,520 for Implementing Best Local Land Use Practices. The project will assist member communities and others throughout the Lake Erie basin implement riparian and wetland setback zoning and floodplain restoration during development. Money will also provide these communities with tools necessary to ensure long-term storm water management planning. Project director: Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells.

A total of $27,458 in small grants went to the Doan Brook Watershed Partnership, the Ashtabula Marine Museum and the Northeast Ohio Four County Regional Planning Development Organization (NEFCO).

The Doan Brook Watershed Partnership received $7,700 to restore 300 feet of Doan Brook in Cuyahoga County in accordance with an action plan to stabilize the stream channel and create a healthy riparian buffer. Project director: Keith Jones.

The Ashtabula Marine Museum received $10,000 to restore the Fresnel lens from the Ashtabula Lighthouse in order to enhance tourism in Ashtabula. Project director: Robert Frisbie.

NEFCO received $9,758 to begin a watershed management plan for the Breakneck Creek Watershed in Portage County. The plan will prioritize problem areas and recommend remediation activities and best management practices to solve watershed problems. Project director: Claude Custer.

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission was created to preserve Lake Erie's natural resources, enhance its water quality and promote economic development in the region. The director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources serves as the commission's chairman. Additional members include the directors of the departments of transportation, development, health, agriculture and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

The commission oversees the Ohio Lake Erie Protection Fund, which is the source of grant funding. This fund is supported by Ohioans each time they purchase a Lake Erie license plate displaying either the Marblehead Lighthouse or the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse - both designed by artist Ben Richmond. During the last 12 years, the commission has raised nearly $8 million through the sale of Lake Erie license plates. The money has gone to a wide range of efforts to preserve and enhance life along Lake Erie.

Source: ODNR

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