Taking Care of Our Coasts

Our coasts support jobs and everyday life for millions of people, and it’s no secret that we’re crowding them: more people are moving to them and more people are going on beach vacations. Coasts are also some of the most biologically rich places on Earth, including those on the Great Lakes, where fish go to reproduce and birds stop during migration.

It’s little wonder that so much demand for our coasts means that so little open coastline remains.

Here in the Great Lakes, that changed a little on September 16th when northeast Ohio’s Lake Metroparks added about 1.6 miles of coastline as a public space. When completed later this year, the park will encompass some 600 acres.

Lake Erie Bluffs-Kayaks-1

I had the chance to be there for the opening, where I admired the wind rushing off the lake, over shoreline rocks and driftwood, and up the bluffs.

The scenery makes this a magical place. But, something else made it magical, too. Just a few days before, an article with the headline of “Great Lakes program inspires rare bipartisanship” circulated through the national media. The article was about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which helped to fund the Lake Erie Bluffs effort within the park, along with some 1,500 other projects around the region. It cited President Obama as having established the GLRI and quoted Rep. David Joyce from Ohio, who attended the Lake Erie Bluffs opening.

Around the Great Lakes, it’s good to see demand not just for what we can get out of our coasts, but also for stronger efforts to protect them for the sake of the ecology and economy of the region.

Next time you’re in northeastern Ohio, visit the park.

Cameron Davis is Senior Advisor to EPA the Administrator. He provides counsel on Great Lakes matters, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

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