Today, Vice President Harris announced that the Department of Commerce has recommended $8.2 million for projects across Ohio to make communities and the economy more resilient to climate change, as part of the Investing in America agenda. Across Ohio, four projects will create jobs and boost economic and environmental outcomes for coastal communities. The awards are made under the Biden Administration’s Climate-Ready Coasts initiative funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) with additional funds leveraged from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
“Lake Erie and the Chagrin River are home to vital freshwater species and habitats and serve as an economic driver for northern Ohio,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The Biden-Harris Administration is proud to recommend funding for four unique community-led projects that will both protect and expand these habits while creating workforce opportunities for underrepresented populations in the Cleveland area.”
Administered by the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Climate-Ready Coasts initiative is focused on investing in high-impact projects that create climate solutions by storing carbon; build resilience to coastal hazards such as extreme weather events, pollution and marine debris; restore coastal habitats that help wildlife and humans thrive; build the capacity of underserved communities and support community-driven restoration; and provide employment opportunities.
“Ohio’s recommended projects will protect habitat along the Chagrin River, restore the shoreline and marshes along Sandusky Bay, and remove trash and debris from Lake Erie,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “NOAA is proud to recommend and support such projects, which recognize that healthy ecosystems offer valuable benefits to people and are examples of how together we can build healthier and more resilient coastlines and coastal communities.”
“We must do all we can to keep Lake Erie healthy for the Ohioans, businesses, families, boaters, and anglers that rely on the lake,” said Senator Sherrod Brown. “Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, these investments will ensure that Lake Erie and its watershed are protected and maintained for today and for the next generation.”
"I am encouraged by NOAA’s Climate-Ready Coasts investment in Ohio — building coastal resiliency in the Great Lakes basin is a forward-thinking investment in our future," said Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09). "Natural infrastructure projects are a multi-faceted strategy that shore up our coasts while enhancing habitats for local fish and wildlife. These initiatives are critical for supporting our coastal ecosystems and will support the excellent on-going work happening in Northwest Ohio."
“Saving our Earth means protecting the environments that make America beautiful,” said Congresswoman Shontel Brown (OH-11). “With NOAA's Climate-Ready Coasts initiative, the Biden Administration continues to protect our wildlife and improve coastal infrastructure through habitat restoration and coastal resilience programs. In Ohio and across the nation, it will be exciting to see how these programs work to tackle the climate crisis, create jobs, and help coastal communities prosper.”
These projects are part of NOAA’s nearly $6 billion total investment under BIL and IRA. Recommended projects and funding amounts in Ohio include:
- Sandusky Bay Initiative: Pickerel Creek East Nature-Based Shoreline Project
The Nature Conservancy: $6 million ($1.5 million year 1; up to a total of $6 million over three years)
Funding Source: Transformational Habitat Restoration and Coastal Resilience Grants
This investment will restore shoreline and marsh habitat in Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area along Lake Erie’s Sandusky Bay. Part of the broader Sandusky Bay Initiative, the project will help to address significant water quality issues, including harmful algal blooms that are expected to worsen with climate change. A barge access ramp and road will be constructed that will improve public and emergency access and increase recreational opportunities and public safety. When fully implemented, construction of an offshore berm will reduce wave energy and exposure, helping to rebuild and protect a historic shoreline that has been impacted by severe erosion.
- Chagrin River Floodplain Land Conservation Project
Ohio Department of Natural Resources: $1.7 million
Funding Source: Coastal Zone Management Habitat Protection and Restoration Grants
This investment will be used to acquire 105 acres of riparian habitat along the Chagrin River in a coastal community approximately four miles upstream from the confluence with Lake Erie. The Chagrin River Floodplain Land Conservation Project will provide critical habitat that will increase climate resiliency for urban coastal communities and will contribute to a growing conservation, public access, and recreation corridor along the river, from downtown Willoughby to Lake Erie.
- Plastic-Free Cleveland: An Expansion of Coalition-Based Efforts to Reduce Marine Debris Throughout the Great Lakes Region
Wisconsin Sea Grant: $300,000
Funding Source: Marine Debris Community Action Coalitions
Wisconsin and Ohio Sea Grant Programs will work together to develop a plastic-free coalition within the Cleveland Metropolitan area. The project's primary objectives will be to reduce the consumption of unnecessary single-use plastics by individuals and businesses, thereby reducing pollution entering the watershed. This project will also expand the efforts of Plastic-Free MKE (Milwaukee), particularly surrounding the coalition's education and outreach efforts focused on marine debris.
- Beach and On-water Trash Trapping Tech Team for Lake Erie (Bottttle)
Ohio Sea Grant: $299,000
Funding Source: Marine Debris Community Action Coalitions
This project will offer paid workforce development opportunities to underserved and underrepresented youth in the greater Cleveland area to assist in the creation of training resources for two newly implemented trash removal devices that support cleanup efforts on beaches, marinas, inland waterways and ports in Ohio. In addition to support for students, this work will provide operator support to on-site partners using active trash removal devices and further clean-up of coasts and waterways.
Scott Smullen, email@example.com