Federal funds to benefit Presque Isle beaches

ERIE, Pa. -- Presque Isle State Park will receive $3 million  for beach nourishment this year.

Park officials received the news Thursday that the federal government will contribute $1.5 million  dollars for efforts to replace lost sand.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allocated the funds in their 2017 budget, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will match the funds.

Federal funds were absent last year.

"It's needed on this side... on the open water side, absolutely,” said Ralph Byerly, who was fishing with his 5-year-old daughter near Perry Monument.

The first area to see work is near Beach 6.

"The western side of Beach 6--we call it Beach 5--but that's the feeder location for sand for us. We put a lots of sand in that,” said Matt Greene, park operations manager of Presque Isle State Park.

“That (sand) slowly erodes and filters into (beaches) six, seven, eight and then into Mill Road," he said.

Work will be done between Independence Day and Labor Day.

Some regular visitors to the peninsula are looking forward to it.

"Well, if it doesn't rain in Erie, but we come here once a week or so," said Maggie Radu of Erie.

Byerly said, "We come down here probably at least 30 times during the summer--fishing, going to the beach."
Less funds resulted in less sand being replenished last year. This season the beach erosion is more pronounced.

"We've been running off of a deficit of sand over the last two summers, now; and we've had some pretty big erosion that's happened over our warmer winters over the last two years," said Greene.

He said keeping proper levels of sand is a matter of public safety and protecting the ecosystem, including migrating shorebirds and flora.

"It's important to get that sand in there, now, to protect the infrastructure of the park with the sand dunes and other areas of the park,” he said. “So, we're excited to get that going."

Beach swimming will begin Saturday, May 27.

Beach 8 and the Mill Road beaches will remain closed.


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