The Nature Conservancy applauds Gov. John Kasich and Ohio’s General Assembly for approving $52 million in additional funding for the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, a program that has conserved more than 92,000 acres of open space and farmland since 2000.
On Sunday, June 30, Gov. Kasich signed the bill that allows the state to sell additional bonds to finance the program, which was first approved by voters in 2000 and reauthorized with overwhelming voter support in 2008.
“We applaud the governor and the leadership in the General Assembly, especially the strong bipartisan support of the House and Senate Finance Committees, for helping to see the will of the voters fulfilled by making this important and cost-effective investment in Ohio’s natural resources,” said Josh Knights, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Ohio.
“For more than a decade, the Clean Ohio program has demonstrated its value in protecting Ohio’s natural assets, including clean water, open space, and recreation while contributing to the growth of small businesses that rely on conserved lands and waters,” Knights said.
The return on investment in the program was documented this past spring in an economic study released by the Trust for Public Land with support from the Conservancy. The report detailed how for every $1 invested in the Clean Ohio Fund’s conservation programs, people receive at least $4 worth of natural goods and services, such as drinking water protection, flood control, and air pollution removal.
Since it was first approved the program has had strong bipartisan support from state leaders and has had an impact in every one of Ohio’s 88 counties, helping to create parks, build trails and protect farmland for future generations.
When voters reauthorized the program in 2008, it allowed $200 million to be dedicated to conservation programs including farmland preservation, open space, and trails. The General Assembly approved selling $100 million in 2008 but there were no additional bond sales until the 2012 capital budget, when the legislation approved another $48 million.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
The Nature Conservancy