First Phase of Mentor Marsh Protection Completed (OH)

February 2, 2006
Ohio

Mentor, OH, 2/2/2006 - The Trust for Public Land announced today it has completed the first of two phases to ultimately convey more than 99 acres of protected critical wetland habitat near the shoreline of Lake Erie to the City of Mentor. Earlier today the land conservation organization conveyed 61 acres of Mentor Marsh to the City to preserve critical habitat for birds and wildlife, protect water quality, and to provide recreational opportunities for generations of people. The remaining 38 acres are expected to be conveyed in June. The property is adjacent to the Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve and will be managed by the City, which is using state, federal and private funding to purchase the land.

The City of Mentor and conservation groups have 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.

"This is an important milestone to realize a dream long held by 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. The Trust for Public Land thanks Sen. Mike DeWine and Rep. Steve LaTourette for their critical support at the federal level."

"On behalf of the citizens of Mentor, I applaud the efforts of The Trust for Public Land, Mentor City Council and staff, and all of our collaborating partners who have made this conservation success possible," Mentor Mayor Ray Kirchner comments. "By protecting significant portions of land along the Lake Erie shoreline, we help protect water quality, wildlife, and the natural beauty that attracts people to this area."

In addition to the City, The Trust for Public Land, 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.

"I am pleased to see the Mentor Marsh project moving forward," says Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH), who walked the property in July 2005 and, as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, secured nearly $1 million for the acquisition from the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program. "This project will protect and restore Mentor Marsh so that future generations can enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of the Great Lakes Region." Senator DeWine is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force.

Representative LaTourette (R-14) secured $560,000 for the project from the Federal Transportation Reauthorization Bill. Rep. LaTourette comments, "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 newly conserved 99 acres 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