Port Clinton News

Restoration project to bring native coastal species to area

Projected area for restoration

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released a detailed project report and environmental assessment for the Coastal Wetland Restoration Project for the City of Port Clinton. The project specifically details section 506, which is the Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration (GLFER) Project. The restoration would produce wetland and shoreline habitat that would be better suited for native species than what is now in place in the area.

The affected area of the project is west of City Beach on Perry Street and east of Derby Pond at Waterworks Park. The project is also set to restore the shoreline in front of Waterworks Park that reaches to the pier. 

The need to protect and conserve Great Lakes coastal wetlands is an increasing concern. This is especially true in Ohio. Between 1780 and 1980 Ohio lost 90% of its wetlands. Natural and cultural practices have greatly altered the coastal wetlands of the Great Lakes and it is feared by federal agencies, state agencies and environmental groups that past and continued uses of the Great Lakes will lead to continued water quality problems and significant losses of rare habitats and biological diversity.

The coastal wetland in the projected area, which is a preserve, currently provides little quality habitat for coastal species, including migratory birds. The area now is characterized by an abundance of non-native and invasive plant species. The existing wetland is also cut off from external sources of surface water, such as upland lake connections, that would provide adequate water input or exchange. The preserve is bordered on three sides by large areas of maintained lawn that don’t provide suitable habitat. According to the report, the proposed restoration site on Perry Street along the lake provides very few of the required habitat qualities sought by coastal and migratory species.

The restoration and expansion of the coastal wetland will enhance ecological function and provide an additional high quality migratory bird stopover habitat. The projected restoration will result in the expansion of coastal wetland habitat, increased habitat quality and improved water quality.

The report states that the Preferred Action Alternative is Alternative 22, which consists of invasive species removal and revegetation, wetland expansion, creation of microtypography within wetlands and creation of a hydraulic connection between the wetlands. The total first cost for implementing the recommended plan is $2,047,800. The cost will be covered by the Army Corp of Engineers and the federal government. Any other costs will be covered in grants that the City of Port Clinton can earn. 

After the project is completed, the cost for maintenance, repair, replacement and rehabilitation of the area is to be taken care of by the city. The report states the cost of maintaining the project is projected to be $15,300 per year.


Developing Waterworks Park is like casino gambling

On March 11 Port Clinton City Council was presented with an impossibly optimistic economic impact study for the proposed Waterworks Park development. The Ottawa County Improvement Corporation and FirstEnergy made a presentation based on a computer software program called IMPLAN®, data from the area and the project was fed into a computer and out popped the numbers. 

According to the numbers fed into the IMPLAN® software the city would collect, after time, $7.8 million dollars in property, sales, income and bed taxes per year. The State of Ohio, after time, would collect $4 million dollars in taxes. Now that seems like a lot of taxes, but they surely won’t be coming from the supposed 585 people making an average yearly income of $18,803 because they don’t pay very much in taxes, nor will they have any money to spend the new development. This sounds like the “rich get richer” from our Waterworks Park and to quote former Judge Moon “we are all the poorer for it”.

“You can use all the quantitative data you can get, but you still have to distrust it and use your own intelligence and judgment,” Alvin Toffler.

Mayor Vince Leone asked if the software was proven in other communities, if there were examples of other projects showing its reliability. Councilman Aukerman identified the “poverty level” incomes of the new jobs created and asked if the study could tell us what additional costs there will be to support our community. Councilman Snider unfortunately said the wrong thing,”earliest possible timeframe” which sounded like a rush to judgment. Our newest at-large councilman, Lisa Sarty, loved the “black and white” information. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy and we may all be seeing red if you make the wrong decision.   

In theory people are rational and they make complete calculations to reach the right and wise decision. In reality people make decisions with personal biases that find a way into the process of decision-making. City Council needs to recognize and avoid these personal biases--the selective search for evidence, the premature termination of search for evidence, source credibility bias, selective perception, prejudice, wishful thinking, optimism, choice-supportive bias, incremental decision making and escalating commitment, underestimating uncertainty, the illusion of control, group think and peer pressure.

“A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.” Plato

According to the March 7 News-Herald article “Casino Revenues Fall Short”, during  Ohio’s first year with four operating casinos, revenues are $1 billion dollars short of campaign promises, leaving county and school officials with significantly smaller tax payouts. (Hope Port Clinton City Schools was not relying on that money to build a new school). Alan Silver, a gambling industry expert and Ohio University assistant professor, said there was nothing nefarious about casinos’ promises. Predicting revenue for a new industry is simply difficult to do, he said. “Anytime you do studies, you’re shooting in the sky,” Silver said. Rob Walgate, vice president of the anti-gambling American Policy Roundtable thinks what “we’ve seen is a lot of false promises here. They can’t hit the numbers that they promised. They lied.”

The State of Ohio in its desire for a better economy made decisions based on quantitative data to allow gambling in the State. According to the American Gaming Association, the gaming industry relies on the well-known and widely used IMPLAN® Model for economic impact studies.

So developing Waterworks Park is a lot like casino gambling if you’re betting on the numbers. The message to Port Clinton is the numbers don’t lie, they just fall short.  

Victoria Clemons
Citizens Organized for Responsible Development


PCHS Environmental Science Club wants old tennis shoes

The new Environmental Science Club at Port Clinton High School wants your old tennis shoes. The Environmental Science Club started collecting used tennis shoes earlier in March and will continue until the end of the school year. The collection is part of Nike’s “Reuse a Shoe” campaign. The shoes will be recycled to make to make something new, such as Frisbees or running tracks. Drop off areas are Port Clinton High School and Bataan Memorial Elementary.

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