New Lake Erie park protects valuable wildlife habitat

Project Summary: The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative provided funding for a land purchase that established the 139-acre Lake Erie Bluffs Park, an ecologically significant site in Ohio that is home to 20 rare plant and animal species.


Project name: Lake Erie Bluffs Park.

Location: Lake County in northeast Ohio, about 30 miles east of Cleveland.

The beach at Lake Erie Bluffs Park.

The beach at Lake Erie Bluffs Park.

Description: Lake Erie Bluffs is a county park on the shores of Lake Erie in northeast Ohio. The 139-acre parcel provides public access to a gorgeous stretch of natural beach. The site is also ecologically significant: It provides habitat for 20 rare species, including the bald eagle, least flycatcher, purple sand grass and the inland sea rocket. The site was targeted for development but the project never materialized. Lake County officials then worked with other government agencies and private land trusts to acquire the site. The park meets one of the goals of the Great Lakes Restoration Collaborative. The collaborative, a presidential task force established in 2004, identified nine priorities for restoring the Great Lakes, including “a need for significantly more habitat conservation and species management.” Lake Erie Bluffs permanently protects wetlands, meadows and coast and natural shoreline that provides habitat for fish and wildlife and contributes to the overall health of the Great Lakes.

Approximate cost of project: $2.3 million. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative provided $1.6 million of that amount.

Resource challenges addressed: Public access to the Great Lakes, preservation of coastal wetlands and meadows that provide valuable fish and wildlife habitat.

The park offers stunning views of Lake Erie.

The park offers stunning views of Lake Erie.

Key partners (public and private): U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Lake County Soil & Water Conservation District, the Trust for Public Land and the Clean Ohio Fund.

Results and accomplishments: Lake Erie Bluffs permanently protects 139 acres of natural Lake Erie shoreline, which includes meadows, wetlands and other features that provide habitat for 20 rare species of plants and animals. The park also increases public access to Lake Erie.


Originally Published: January 29, 2013