(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — More than $280,000 will go to seven projects aimed at protecting and restoring the Lake Erie Coastal Zone.

All of Pennsylvania’s 77-mile Lake Erie coastal zone is within Erie County, and that includes the Lake Erie shoreline and its tributaries. The coastal zone also extends to the middle of the lake at the international boundary with Canada, and an average of 1.4 miles inland.

Erie County Department of Planning and Community Development will receive the largest single grant at $81,000. That grant will go toward coordination and technical assistance with Lake Erie coastal zone grantees, municipalities and residents.

The Regional Science Consortium will receive $60,000 to research harmful algal bloom (HAB) cyanotoxins along the coastline. Regional Science Consortium also will receive $44,345 for historic site preservation and understanding a structure for fish habitat.

Pennsylvania State University will receive $47,802 to create and install a set of “FUNctional Art” recycling bins to reduce litter and pollution.

Erie Bird Observatory will receive $33,724 to continue its work with migratory bird movements and its importance to the Lake Erie Coastal Zone.

Erie County Conservation District will receive $4,200 for its Summer 2023 Erie Conservation Explore Camp which is focused on environmental topics supporting conservation and preservation.

The grants are through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Coastal Resources Management Program and are funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“It’s exciting to see this grant money being put to good use in the Lake Erie Coastal Zone,” said DEP Northwest Regional Director Erin Wells. “The DEP is committed to supporting these partners with grant funding and technical assistance as they restore and protect our natural resources.”