The Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Program provides grants for up to 75 percent of the estimated costs for projects that do either of the following:
Open Space – Open space acquisition and/or related development of those open spaces, including the acquisition of easements. This includes acquisition of land or rights in land for parks, forests, wetlands, natural areas that protect an endangered plant or animal population, other natural areas, and connecting corridors for natural areas. Related development projects include projects for the construction or enhancement of facilities that are necessary to make the acquired open space area accessible and useable by the general public. An application can be made for acquisition only, acquisition and related improvements, or for improvements only on properties previously acquired through Clean Ohio. Eligible improvements include trails, pedestrian bridges, observation decks, kiosks/signs, benches, trash receptacles, invasive species removal (one time), parking lots, restoration, and fencing.
Riparian Corridor – Protection and enhancement of riparian corridors or watersheds, including the protection of streams, rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. Projects may include reforestation of land or planting of vegetation for filtration, and fee simple acquisition or acquisition of easements for providing access, or for protection and enhancement.
The Clean Ohio Greenspace Conservation Program is focused on environmental conservation. This means that projects and project components are for the preservation, protection, or restoration of the natural environment, natural ecosystems, vegetation and wildlife. Therefore, items that do not lend themselves to conservation are generally not allowable under this program. Improvements are meant to provide access with minimal impact to conservation values. Improvements may be applied for at the time of application for acquisition, or as a separate application on a previously acquired Clean Ohio property. The following list serves as guidance but is not meant to be exhaustive as the very nature of the program makes it difficult to conceive all possible scenarios. If you have an eligibility question, please contact your OPWC program representative. Per ORC Section 164.25, project applications must meet the Clean Ohio requirements as specified in statute.
Eligible Improvements with Clean Ohio funds (fee simple acquisition only):
- Boat ramps
- Fencing (property perimeter only)
- Trash cans
- Benches/Picnic Tables
- Bike racks
- Portable Restroom Enclosures
- Observation decks
- Hiking/Biking trails
- Pedestrian bridges
- Vehicular bridge (access only onto the property if needed)
- Mitigation (for conservation purposes)
- Archaeological Surveys
- Invasive species removal (one-time)
- Lighting (environmentally-sensitive)
Eligible Improvements without Clean Ohio funds (must specify in Deed Restrictions):
- Pavilions/Picnic Shelters/Shelter Houses
- Dog parks (small footprint, fencing and waste disposal)
- Playground and work out stations (small footprint)
- Rental spaces (if already in existence, no new structures – funds must go back to preserving the site)
- Council circle/natural amphitheater
- Solar panels (on buildings/for lights)
- Camping - primitive or otherwise. Including cabins
- Wind turbines
- Manicured flower beds
- Sports fields
- Storm Water/Drainage infrastructure
- Solar fields
- Administrative and monitoring costs
- Maintenance items
- Seller paid items/seller settlements costs
- Non-native plants
- Rail Banking
- RV Parks
- Improvements for Well Fields
- Aesthetic landscaping/decorative items
- Access Improvements on easements
Eligible Activities/Improvements at NRAC’s discretion:
- Mountain Biking
- Equestrian Trails
- Disc Golf
- Dam Removal
- Demolition of structures
Improvements to existing buildings or reasonable additions to buildings are allowed for nature centers, maintenance buildings and the like, contingent upon identification and approval by the appropriate district NRAC, but cannot be included as part of the Clean Ohio funding or match. No new buildings are permitted. The property must be predominantly open space to qualify.
The acquisition and/or demolition of buildings as part of a Clean Ohio project is at the discretion of each NRAC.
Other items to note:
- No new oil and gas leases are permitted once the NRAC has approved the application.
- Any modification or breach of the recorded deed restrictions or conservation easement that occur once the Project Agreement has been signed and without the advanced written approval of the OPWC Director are subject to the imposition of liquidated damages.
- Wetland restoration is permitted but new wetland creation is prohibited.
- Post acquisition activities must be concluded within two years from date of acquisition unless a formal extension has been approved by OPWC.
- No improvements to easements are permitted except for one-time invasive removal.
See a full list of all of our previously funded Clean Ohio projects HERE.
Appraisal Standards for Round 14
Appraisal Standards for Round 15. Various changes have been made for Round 15 of which highlights are as follows:
Appraisals will be required at the time of application to the respective NRAC.
NRACs will be required to specify in their guidance as to if they require an Appraisal Report or Restricted Appraisal Report. The applicant should check with the NRAC having jurisdiction over the project location, if necessary.
If the NRAC requirement is for a Restricted Appraisal Report and the project is funded, the document must be converted to an Appraisal Report for the Request to Proceed submittal.
As in the past, the costs for the Appraisal Report, Restricted Appraisal Report, and Appraisal Review Report are eligible and reimbursable in accordance with the project agreement’s participation ratio.
The selected appraiser must certify that they received and read OPWC’s Standards and include the certification in the appraisal’s Letter of Transmittal. The OPWC will not approve the Request to Proceed submittal without this certification.
As in the past, the appraisal must be conducted by an Ohio Department of Transportation Prequalified Appraiser. If the subject property is for a conservation easement, in addition to this list, Appraisal Institute Designated Members who have successfully passed the Valuation of Conservation Easements Professional Development Program are also approved for use.
As in the past, the OPWC may approve projects where the purchase price exceeds the appraised value, if validated and approved by the respective NRAC. A change places a maximum such that the price cannot exceed 5% above appraised value. Anything over 5% must be paid by the applicant outside of the project application.
ODOT Prequalified Appraisers: See “Prequalification List” on left-side of the following ODOT webpage. Information is located on the Tab entitled “Right of Way”.
ODOT Prequalification Requirements: See "Prequalification Information".