DEP Awards $248K in Coastal Zone Grants
Grants will fund seven vital projects in the Lake Erie Coastal Zone
Most would agree that the Gem City would be at best considered cubic zirconia without its most precious resource — Lake Erie and its shoreline. Coastal waters and coastal land are often grouped together as "coastal zones," because one directly and intimately affects the other.
Day in and day out, the Lake Erie Coastal Zone is under constant threat from human development, erosion, biodiversity loss (i.e. disappearance of species key to preserving ecological balance), and pollution. Altogether, the Lake Erie Coastal Zone encompasses 77 miles of the Lake Erie watershed in Erie County — much to embrace, and much to worry over.
That's why the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection awards hundreds of thousands of dollars in Coastal Zone Grants each year to fund vital projects relating to:
- Preservation of fisheries, wetlands, and coastline
- Stormwater management (runoff carries both pollutants and nutrients with it into the water, fueling harmful algal blooms)
- Public education
Explains DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell: "Our coastal zones are vital environmental, economic, and community resources for the commonwealth. 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."
This coming year, $248,000 in Coastal Zone Grant money will fund seven projects.
- The Erie Bird Observatory will further take flight in the areas of bird migration research and promoting Erie as a veritable birding destination. ($50,000)
- Erie County will receive one grant to help coordinate with and assist other grant recipients. ($75,000)
- Erie County will receive a second grant to help Lake Erie coastal communities adhere to the Bluff Recession and Setback Act of 1980, which provides for identifying hazard areas and limiting property damage related to bluff recession. ($9,000)
- The Erie County Conservation District will improve access to both Freeport Beach and 20 Mile Beach in North East for individuals with disabilities with purchase of grant-funded Mobi-Mats — which are described by the manufacturer as "non-slip, semi-rigid and stable rollout pathways." ($11,500)
- Gannon University's Summer School of Excellence will educate roughly 30 regional high school students (from Erie, Crawford, and Warren counties) on issues relating to the coastal zone environment. ($12,217)
- Lawrence Park Township will totally rehabilitate and restore its Lakeside Boat Launch to its original functionality. ($45,000)
- The Regional Science Consortium will closely examine the presence of saxitoxin (a potent marine neurotoxin) from harmful algal blooms along the Lake Erie Shoreline ($50,000).
Matt Swanseger has no additional grant monies to award, just his already publicly available work email address, email@example.com