97 Acres Protected Near Mentor Marsh (OH)

October 12, 2005
Ohio

Mentor, OH, October 12, 2005 - The Trust for Public Land announced today it has acquired 97 acres in the rapidly-developing community of Mentor for $3 million to preserve critical habitat for birds and wildlife and to provide recreational opportunities for generations of people. The property is adjacent to the Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve and will be conveyed to and managed by the City of Mentor. The Trust will own the 97-acre property until it is conveyed to the city in two separate phases, which are expected to occur in December 2005 and June 2006. The phased conveyance process will allow the City of Mentor to purchase the land primarily using state, federal, and private grants.

The City of Mentor and conservation groups had sought to protect this property for decades. The Trust for Public Land was able to work with the property owner, Morton International, Inc., to finalize an agreement to buy and protect the property. "Today we have realized a decades-long dream for the Mentor community," says Christopher Knopf, Director of the Trust for Public Land Ohio Office. "This acquisition was a collaborative effort locally and nationally. Protecting this beautiful land ensures that generations of people will be able to experience the coastal environment along the marsh and that these fragile resources will remain protected."

"We are grateful for the efforts of the Trust for Public Land, Mentor City Council, and all of our collaborating partners to make this conservation success possible for the residents of Mentor and all those people throughout the state who love and enjoy the environmental treasure that is the Mentor Marsh," commented Mentor City Manager Julian Suso.

In addition to the City, the Trust, and Morton International, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the Mentor Marsh Advisory Board are also critical local partners in the effort. To date, the conservation effort has received crucial philanthropic support from the 1525 Foundation, the Ingalls Foundation, and the Cleveland Foundation Lake/Geauga Fund. The project has also involved critical support at the federal level from U.S. Senator Mike DeWine, and U.S. Representative Steve LaTourette.

"Mentor Marsh plays a critical role in connecting citizens to the unique ecosystems along Lake Erie," says Senator DeWine. "I am pleased to secure funding to protect this vital habitat for future generations." Senator DeWine, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, was instrumental in securing nearly $1 million for the acquisition from the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program.

Representative LaTourette secured $560,000 for the project from the newly-enacted Federal Transportation Reauthorization Bill. Representative LaTourette commented, "In preserving this property next to the Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve, we have expanded a natural haven for local wildlife and created a new place for nature lovers to visit. This is a great recreational treasure for the people of Ohio."

The Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve located adjacent to the 97 acre property occupies an ancient abandoned channel of the Grand River and was designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior in 1966. With more than 640 acres of wetlands, it is a home to a wide variety of animals and birds, attracting naturalists and bird watchers from across the state.

Since its founding in 1972, the Trust for Public Land has helped protect more than 2 million acres of land in 45 states. In Ohio, the Trust for Public Land has protected more than 9,500 acres valued at $60 million. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve its land for people mission and receives leadership support from the George Gund Foundation, the Cleveland Foundation, the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation, and the George B. Storer Foundation. For more information please visit the Trust for Public Land Ohio Office on the web at www.tpl.org/ohio