Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lake County comes through with latest Lake Erie Commission grants

Northeast Ohio not only collected the lion’s share of the Lake Erie Protection Fund’s latest quarterly grant money it feasted on the entire menu.

The Fund is administered by the multi-state agency and private outreach individual - Ohio Lake Erie Commission. Fund monies are derived from the sale of vanity state license plates embossed with the image of the Marblehead lighthouse or else a life preserver.

Persons also make direct tax-deductible contributions to the grant program.

The most recent grant recipients were the Chagrin River Watershed Partners - $6,770 to update the Lake County Stormwater Utility Fee Credit Manual as well as research the potential implementation of a fee credit program. The Commission sees this manual’s development as eventually assisting other local governments seeking to help find funding for aging infrastructure.

The Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization - $14,890 to establish a portfolio of land-based restoration within the Cuyahoga River Navigation Channel. It is this project’s objective to help with the enhancement and improvement of the river’s fish habitat system.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History - $15,000 (the grant program’s largest allowable amount) to help restore at least 10 acres in Lake County’s Mentor Marsh, located mostly within Mentor and consisting of 900 acres of wetland and currently under stress by the invasive plant, phragmites.

All grants are competitively based and are designed to aid in the protection and restoration of Lake Erie, and all approved projects must meet a 25-percent match in order to be eligible for the state’s 75-percent share.

Likewise, grants must fall within the purview of the state’s 2013 Lake Erie Restoration and Protection Plan.

Since its inception some twenty-one years ago the program has awarded over $12 million in grants and involving no fewer than 360 projects. These projects have ranged from fisheries, watershed planning, non-point pollution abatement, wetlands restoration, exotic aquatic  (nuisance) species, the lake’s algae bloom and other important subjects related to the welfare of Lake Erie.

 Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.

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