Senator O’Brien: $4.8M Boost for Lake Erie Wetland Restoration

Ohio State Senator Sean J. O’Brien has announced the release of over $4.8 million for a Lake Erie wetland restoration project in Ashtabula County.

Image source: The Port of Cleveland

The project is expected to create additional recreational opportunities in the area and will support continued maintenance and operation of the Ashtabula Harbor.

“I have always cared deeply about environmental issues, so I was glad to learn about the investment of these important funds,” said O’Brien. “I have worked for years with my colleagues in the Ohio legislature on initiatives to benefit our Great Lake and I am confident this money will help improve water quality throughout the region.”

The funds were released by the Ohio Controlling Board, and the project will be located behind the “East Breakwater” within Ashtabula Harbor.

According to O’Brien, the investment is intended to improve Lake Erie water quality by eliminating the open-lake disposal of dredge material into the lake in support of the newly announced H2Ohio water quality initiative.

Through the creation of an in-water aquatic ecosystem and new habitats using dredged material, the project will result in needed wetland, fish and wildlife habitats and water quality benefits within the Ashtabula Harbor. The site encompasses an area of approximately 25 acres.

“While we still have a long way to go until we reach our goal of a pristine Lake Erie, funding and projects such as this are all steps along the way toward the finish line,” added O’Brien. “I will continue my work with the Governor’s office and legislative leaders to ensure funding opportunities such as this one, which will be so beneficial for folks in my district far into the future.”

The Ashtabula Wetland project will be led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and will directly address the intent of House Bill 529, passed in 2018, to promote the beneficial use of dredge material in Lake Erie.

The $4.8 million released today will cover the non-federal share of project costs, with the federal government providing an additional $8.99 million.