Lake Erie coastal zones across PA considered for expansion

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MEADVILLE, PA, May 29, 2013 -- Lake Erie coastal zones across Pennsylvania are being considered for expansion by The Department of Environmental Protection to a larger, watershed-based area to encompass all of the state's watersheds that flow into the lake.

Expansion of the coastal zone would allow grant funds to be used throughout the Lake Erie watershed. Currently, grant funds are restricted to smaller areas along the coastline and used for minor construction projects like fishing access areas, or for planning, research, public education and restoration projects.

"Expanding Lake Erie's coastal zone would create new opportunities for grant-funded improvements in the Lake Erie watershed," DEP Northwest Regional Director Kelly Burch said. "We are pleased to offer an opportunity for residents to comment on this important proposal."

In 2011, the local Lake Erie Advisory Committee asked DEP's Coastal Resources Management Program (CRMP) to study and consider an expanded watershed boundary. Since then, CRMP has been weighing the possibility of expanding the coastal zone.

The CRMP serves to protect and manage Pennsylvania's two established coastal areas along Lake Erie and the Delaware Estuary. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provides federal funding to the program under the Coastal Zone Management Act. The CRMP offers grant funding opportunities to Pennsylvania's coastal communities to manage coastal resources and balance economic development with resource protection and conservation.

There are three listening sessions scheduled: June 18 at 9 a.m. in the Springboro Community Center, June 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Girard Township Building, and June 19 at 3:00 p.m. in the Blasco Library in Erie.

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