The Marsh Area Regional Coalition is a group of government organizations, private conservation groups and individuals dedicated to the preservation and environmentally sound development of Mentor Marsh and its surrounding environs.
To develop and promote a management plan to protect and enhance the environmental, social and economic assets of the Mentor Marsh Watershed and related communities for the benefit of present and future generations.
A dedicated partnership ensuring a legacy of diverse ecosystems, fostering economic and social well-being in the Mentor Marsh Watershed and surrounding communities through innovative planning and stewardship.
The MARC Steering Committee is made up of many diverse interests representing government agencies, land owners, and special interest groups. Among those represented are:
- Office of Coastal Management ODNR
- Cleveland Museum of Natural History
- Lake County Soil and Water District
- Mentor Public Schools
- Headlands Beach State Park
- ODNR _ Div. of Soil and Water Conservation
- Mentor Marsh Board of Management
- Village of Fairport Harbor
- Div. of Parks, Recreation and Public Lands for the City of Mentor
- Ohio Sea Grant Program
- Lake County Utilities Department
- Fairport Harbor Port Authority
- Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve
- Lake Metroparks
- Lake County Planning Commission
This group acts as the steering committee for the development of a Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) for the Marsh area.
To address the issues critical to the preservation of one of the Gems of the North Coast, the Steering Committee has been broken up into several different task groups. Each task group is charged with defining the issues affecting the resource within their area of responsibility. The following is a listing of the Task Groups:
- Wetlands and Biodiversity
- Water Quality
- Nearshore Issues and Shoreline Management
- Recreation and Public Access
- Land Use and Economic Development
Many issues that relate to the Marsh overlap the responsibilities of more than one Task Group. In these cases, joint meetings are held to help establish consensus on the best practices for managing the issue. Among the issues identified as being of special significance to the Marsh area are:
- Enhancement and creation of recreational use amenities
- Lakeshore and watershed erosion and sedimentation
- Existing development patterns
- Failing septic systems
- Industrial land uses in close proximity to environmentally sensitive areas
- Jurisdictional interests and concerns
- Brine wells
- Loss of riparian and wetland habitats
- A need for a coordinated strategic recreational plan
- Negative impacts of some types of public access
- Oil storage lagoons
- Ownership and land management
- Point source pollution
- Projected growth patterns
- Public understanding and attitudes
- Stormwater runoff
- Coastal sand supply
The Marc has completed a document containing the issues identification. For a downloadable copy of this document, please click on the link below.
Please be patient. Due to the size of this document and the graphics it contains, it may take a some time to load.
The Marsh Area SAMP Boundary includes the Mentor Marsh Watershed, extending eastward to include Fairport Harbor, and extending westward to the westernmost boundary of the Eastlake power plant. To the west of the Marsh Watershed, the landward boundary follows the Coastal Erosion Area defined by the Coastal Management Program, since this is the area which has the greatest influence on the coastal processes affecting the Marsh and the beach ecosystem. Longshore sediment transport in the Marsh area is influenced by two primary factors, the Eastlake power plant jetty and the Chagrin River.
Water and sediment supplies to the Marsh are controlled by the activities within the watershed. The communities that have territory falling within the watershed are Mentor City, Painesville City, Grand River Village, Painesville Township and Concord Township.
Who are the stakeholders in such a project? Simply put, you and me. All of us who live and work in the area or recreate in the Marsh area are stakeholders. All of us have an interest in preserving our environment. There are many other groups and individuals besides the Steering Committee, who are involved in the decision-making process. Local government, nature groups, developers and their representatives, and private landowners are all involved in the process. If you are interested in participating please drop us a line at Marsh Area Regional Coalition and we will notify you of upcoming meetings.
What is a SAMP?
What is a SAMP? A SAMP is a special area management plan. This plan first involves a study of the issues affecting the marsh and then details coordinated approaches to deal with them. It is based on a study of the Marsh itself and what is happening to it. Whatever happens to the Marsh has a cause, and that needs to be determined. Once the source of a problem has been determined, a range of possible solutions is recommended.
How are the effects on the Marsh determined? The first step is an inventory of the Marsh. There is already a sizable inventory of information available about the Marsh. A grant from the Lake Erie Commission to Ohio State University has already set in motion an inventory of available data which will result in a comprehensive Geographic Information System database being compiled for the Marsh. In addition, a second grant has been awarded for the purpose of preparing a hydrologic study of the Marsh. These studies will assist in establishing the baseline conditions that will help to define the issues and potential answers.
Who enacts or enforces the recommendations? You do! Since studies of this type recommend strategies to resolve problems, it is up to the individual, the local government and local organizations to help resolve issues. Local government regulation isn't in place to do the job until the people (the stakeholders) tell their representatives to make the rules. Typically, such rules would take the form of a community land use plan and zoning.
Who pays for these improvements? We all do, but not through any increase in taxes. We can make contributions simply by leaving the brush along the side of a creek. We can help by not over-fertilizing the lawn. We can demand that proper soil retention practices are used by developers in our communities. There are many ways we can help.
There are also many sources of funds for specific projects within the Marsh for habitat restoration and preservation. Money is available from developments where wetlands are filled. Where such projects occur, developers are required to provide funds for wetland restoration in other areas. Funding is also available through USEPA, and Ohio Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance for watershed planning and other projects. These are only two of a multitude of potential sources. As part of the SAMP, potential funding is researched according to the type of project proposed.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MENTOR LAGOONS
The Mentor Lagoons had its origins as part of the Mentor Marsh more than 1,000 years ago. The largest remaining marsh in Lake County, Mentor Marsh is located in what was once the channel of the Grand River. At one point in time, there existed a large estuary where the Grand River flowed into Lake Erie. It is believed that the Grand River’s course changed to a more direct flow rather than flowing northwestwardly to the lake. Without the cleaning action of the river’s flow, the abandoned channel evolved into the marsh.
At the eastern end of the marsh is Headlands Beach State Park. This park includes a state nature preserve, the Shipman Wildlife Pond, and parking facilities sufficient enough to handle large numbers of visitors.
The residential section between Lake Erie and the Mentor Marsh is known as the Headlands community; a large residential area, which includes a fire station, two elementary schools, and a small retail center. The western end of the Marsh flows directly into the Mentor Lagoons.
The history of plans to develop the marsh area date to the latter part of the nineteenth century. In the 1870’s a plan was developed to dredge the marsh channel and build an inland dock to hold grain shipped in at a cheaper rate than the railroads were charging to haul it. This plan was made null and void by the enactment of the Granger Laws in 1874, which established maximum rates that the railroads could charge for freight. In 1900, a plan was formulated to develop the marsh into a port for coal and iron ore shipping. Rapid changes in the steel industry and one landowner’s refusal to sell his property stopped this project and instead forced U.S. Steel to develop in Lorain, Ohio, located west of Cleveland.
The recreational use of property located adjacent to Lake Erie had been popular since the 1870’s as evidenced by the development of several beach clubs in the Mentor area. Speculative land development beginning in the 1920’s reflected this recreational perspective and resulted in the layout of the Headlands community. The small parcel lots, most of them approximately 50 feet wide by 150 feet deep, were later more fully developed with relatively small homes in the postwar building boom of the later forties and early fifties.
In 1924, a group of relatively well to do Clevelanders spent over one million dollars to develop the Lagoons area into a "Venice of the North". The current system of Lagoons were constructed and a subdivision containing elaborate homes, a small boating port, and an access road to the Lagoons were proposed. A bridge was partially constructed at Mentor Harbor Boulevard, but the accompanying road connection was never built. The development project was ended by the 1929 stock market crash. The bridge has since become known to locals as "the bridge to nowhere".
Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve and Marina
8365 Harbor Drive
Mentor, Ohio 44060
City Of Mentor
The Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve and Marina is four hundred and fifty acres of pristine forest nestled along 1.5 miles of natural Lake Erie shoreline. The area is a haven for hikers, bikers, birdwatchers, boaters, and nature lovers of all ages. The Marina offers transient and seasonal dockage for boaters. The Nature Preserve is open to the public during daylight hours and features four miles of marked trails. During the summer season, electric carts are available for the disabled. Trails in the winter are groomed for cross-country skiing.
In addition to the Email address listed above, a number of other agencies may be contacted for additional information on the SAMP. Here is a listing of the agencies, Email addresses and phone numbers:
Marsh Area Regional Coalition