State Rep. John Rogers* (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake) today announced that the newly created Marsh Restoration Fund will receive $250,000 in state funds for the engineering, design and planning services for remediation of the Mentor Marsh, Ohio’s first natural landmark and one of the largest natural marshes along Lake Erie’s shoreline. Yesterday, the state’s Controlling Board released these funds, previously approved in in the FY 2019-2020 biennial Capital Budget.
“The Mentor Marsh is an important natural and historic landmark in Lake County and these dollars are the start of what will be a tremendous investment by Ohio in this project,” said Rep. Rogers. “This is just the beginning of the efforts toward restoring this area of the Marsh and ensuring this beautiful community asset lives on for future generations.”
Additionally, $10.6 million in private funds are being earmarked for use in these restorative efforts, expected to take between two and five years.
The Mentor Marsh serves as a breeding area for Lake Erie fish and as a waypoint for migratory birds, was at one time an ecologically diverse forest wetland. In 1966, some 225,000 tons of waste salt were dumped into the wetland, creating a salt fill site with salt leaching into the Marsh over time, killing nearly all of the trees in the area.
Much of the marshland today is dominated by phragmite, an invasive cattail that does not rot and can become dry as paper, responsible for fueling several serious fires in the Marsh over the years.
Custody of the land in question is being be transferred to the Lake County Land Reutilization Corporation or Land Bank while the Ohio EPA oversees the remediation efforts. Once the work is completed and the area restored, ownership and the responsibility for preserving the Marsh will be transferred to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.