Partnership Protects Aurora Wetlands (OH)

Aurora, OH, 02/25/2005 – The Trust for Public Land along with the City of Aurora and Chagrin River Land Conservancy announced the successful protection of 250 acres including critical wetlands and natural area located 35 miles southeast of Cleveland. Funded in part by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s (OEPA) innovative Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program (WRRSP), the acquisition protects two properties containing some of the most sensitive wetlands in the area, provides vital recreational opportunities for future generations, and prevents poorly planned development that could jeopardize future water quality.

The conservation partnership also involved the Cities of Wooster and Wadsworth, which sponsored this protection effort through the WRRSP. The property is now owned by the City of Aurora. A conservation easement donated by the city to Chagrin River Land Conservancy will provide an additional layer of protection on the property. The City’s Green Space Protection Fund contributed additional dollars for the acquisition.

“This conservation effort is important to the future of Aurora,” said Lynn McGill, Mayor of Aurora. “By protecting this land we have helped to ensure the long-term water quality and provided another place for families to come and experience the natural beauty of Aurora. This is a great addition to the City’s conservation of over 1,100 acres owned by the residents of Aurora, set aside for parks, recreation and conservation. This is a legacy that will just keep on giving for many decades.”

“The Aurora Wetlands are critically important to the region’s water quality,” noted Christopher Knopf, Director of the Trust for Public Land’s Ohio Office. “This collaborative effort will help ensure the long-term protection of the area’s water supply and will complement nearby natural areas like Tinkers Creek State Park and Nature Preserve and the Summit Liberty Metro Park.”

Protection of the Aurora Wetlands is part of the Trust for Public Land’s effort to create a network of parks and protected lands throughout northeast Ohio based on watershed protection and recreational trails. Earlier in the year, TPL partnered with Hiram College in Portage County to protect a stretch of Silver Creek as part of the College’s Biological Field Station.

Ohio EPA Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program (WRRSP) continues to be a model for the rest of the country. The WRRSP is part of the Ohio Water Pollution Control Loan Fund, which is a state-run fund that provides low-interest loans to units of government, such as cities, villages or townships, to finance improvements to their wastewater treatment systems.

“The Aurora Wetlands project has been a success because of this partnership and because of the contributions from all of these organizations,” stated Rich Cochran, Executive Director of Chagrin River Land Conservancy. “Most of all, though, it’s the Ohio EPA’s WRRSP that has made the difference in preserving these properties. We are very grateful to the Ohio EPA, TPL and the City of Aurora for their partnership and we look forward to working with all of them again in the near future.”

“This success is exactly what the program was intended to do, protect Ohio’s water resources through land conservation.” Said Joseph Koncelik, Director of Ohio EPA. “The Cuyahoga River will be positively impacted as a result.”

Chagrin River Land Conservancy is a private, nonprofit conservation organization that works with landowners and governmental entities to preserve the scenic beauty, rural character and natural resources of portions of Portage, Lake, Geauga, and Cuyahoga Counties. The Conservancy is led by 25 trustees, 12 employees, and countless volunteers. Founded, funded, led, and inspired by landowners, CRLC serves landowners and communities by preserving land to ensure the high quality of life afforded by Northeast Ohio. The group was founded in 1987 and has protected more than 6,100 acres so far.

The Trust for Public Land conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land has helped protect more than 1.9 million acres across the nation. Critical past accomplishments in Ohio include reclaiming the former Richfield Coliseum site as an addition to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and protecting Edison Woods and the East Sandusky Bay Preserve in Erie County. The Ohio Office of the Trust for Public Land is supported in part by grants from The Cleveland Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, The Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation and the George B. Storer Foundation.