Harkins, Merski: Nearly $350,000 awarded for projects to improve Erie fishing opportunities

ERIE, April 26 – Erie anglers will benefit from $348,600 in funding awarded by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today.

The lawmakers said the following two grants were awarded through the Erie Access Improvement Grant Program, which was expanded based on legislation co-authored by Harkins and Erie colleague state Rep. Parke Wentling:

  • $248,700 to Western PA Port Authority for Parade Street Dock Access Rehabilitation.
    The dock’s public access wall has failed, creating sidewalk cracking requiring the dock’s closure. The funding will allow the Port Authority and S.O.N.S. of Lake Erie Fishing Club to reconstruct the handicapped accessible fishing area by building a new sheet-pile retaining wall and concrete walkway and installing safety ladders. The facility and adjacent parking lot will be ADA-accessible.

  • $99,900 to Penn State/Pennsylvania Sea Grant for Manchester Falls fish passage study.
    The Pennsylvania Sea Grant will lead a feasibility and design study to provide a framework for increasing fish passage and improved fishing opportunities upstream of Manchester Falls of Walnut Creek. The study will also address prevention of invasive species migration upstream.

“The Parade Street dock along Presque Isle Bay has offered years of enjoyment as a special place for all anglers, including those using wheelchairs,” Harkins said. “Unfortunately, high-water levels caused the public access wall to fail, creating large walkway cracks that pose a public safety danger. The new funding will allow Erie-Western Port Authority and the S.O.N.S of Lake Erie Fishing Club to construct a new wall and walkway to restore access to this beloved spot.”

Merski, who serves on the House Game and Fisheries Committee, said, “In addition to restoring the Parade Street dock, the commission’s grant funding will help improve fishing upstream of Manchester Falls on Walnut Creek by allowing the Pennsylvania Sea Grant to study ways to remove obstacles restricting steelhead migration. It’s another way we can hopefully expand fishing opportunities for the region.”

Wentling said, "As a member of the House Game and Fisheries Committee, I take great pride in ensuring Pennsylvanians can take advantage of the wonders the commonwealth has to offer. This funding will do just that. I am grateful to work alongside Representatives Harkins and Merski on bipartisan legislation to benefit the great anglers in the state."

More information about Erie Access Improvement grants is available here: https://www.fishandboat.com/Transact/Grants/Pages/ErieAccessImprovementGrantProgram.aspx.