City of Columbus, Ohio skyline.
Columbus, Ohio TNC works across Ohio to advance policy that supports people and nature. © Jordan Griffith

Stories in Ohio

Advancing Policy that Supports People and Nature in Ohio

The Nature Conservancy is striving to create a world where people and nature thrive. Supporting environmental policy will help us get there.

Ohio boasts both a strong economy and an abundance of natural resources—two things that should not be mutually exclusive. The Nature Conservancy's policy efforts in Ohio reflect that philosophy. By applying the best available science to protect and restore our most important lands and waters, we're helping to address the causes and impacts of climate change, help our communities become more sustainable and create opportunities for people to connect with nature, all while strengthening our economy. Our nonpartisan support of environmental policies and our work with elected officials, partners and policy makers in Washington D.C. and throughout Ohio are helping to achieve lasting results in the Buckeye State and beyond.

Climate

Climate change is driving record-setting rainfall and drought events, water level fluctuations and unseasonable temperatures. But clean energy can help us cost-effectively address climate change, reduce health risks to people and create a more reliable energy sector. Ohio’s geographic location puts us right at the center of opportunities to help meet the growing and changing needs of Americans while demonstrating leadership to ensure a prosperous, clean and secure energy future. We support policies that will help Ohio increase energy efficiency, spur growth in renewable energy, enhance technology to help us meet carbon emissions reduction goals and help landowners adopt climate smart forestry practices.

Wetland at Morgan Swamp Preserve.
Morgan Swamp Preserve Funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will help support natural climate solutions like wetlands, which act as carbon sinks. © Kent Mason

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

The Nature Conservancy advocated heavily for the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which passed in November 2021. The Act provides $1.2 trillion in investments towards climate, clean energy, natural infrastructure, and forest restoration and resilience. TNC spent years engaging with Congress and partners to ensure that climate resiliency and natural climate solutions were included as part of this massive investment in our country, and we will continue working with our state officials and agencies to determine how best to direct these dollars using conservation and climate as guiding principles.

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Solar panels in field under cloudy skies.
Renewable Energy The Inflation Reduction Act will help support the buildout of renewable energy infrastructure which will help us meet our carbon reduction goals. © American Public Power Association via Unsplash

Inflation Reduction Act

Through years of scientific data analysis, stakeholder engagement and political strategies, TNC developed a list of policies and programs we believed would truly make a difference in reducing carbon to meet our goal of removing 3 gigatons of CO2 from the atmosphere every year by 2030. Our work in demonstrating the benefits of investing in climate solutions was pivotal to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022. We expect millions of dollars in funding to flow to Ohio as we invest in clean energy infrastructure throughout the state.

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Land

Ohio’s lands support thriving, resilient communities and dynamic economies. Unfortunately, Ohio’s most biodiverse and climate-resilient natural areas are isolated in small pockets sprinkled throughout the state, making them highly susceptible to further fragmentation and development. Investments in land protection and habitat restoration represent investments in our future. The Nature Conservancy in Ohio advocates for federal, state and local programs that help drive dollars towards conservation projects. This public funding helps us protect our most biodiverse and climate-resilient lands and waters, ensuring the health and integrity of natural areas, wildlife and people.

Aerial view of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park The Great American Outdoors Act helps filter funding to public parks like Ohio's only national park. © Max Andrey

Great American Outdoors Act and Land and Water Conservation Fund

Passed in August of 2020, the Great American Outdoors Act provides billions of dollars to address deferred maintenance at our treasured National Parks and to provide secure and stable funding for conservation of public lands throughout the nation. The Act also fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which was established in 1964 to purchase, protect and maintain public land, rivers, shorelines and lakes, and has preserved millions of acres natural areas and parks in nearly every county of the United States. TNC actively lobbied Ohio delegation members for support and provided legislative language and examples of how these bills would help Ohioans.

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Aerial view of Ohio farm at sunrise.
Preserving Ohio's Farmland The Clean Ohio Fund helps support Ohio's farmland and trails while investing in economic development. © Carl Schlabach

Clean Ohio Fund

First approved by Ohio voters in 2000, the Clean Ohio Fund is a state program which uses state bonding authority to deliver conservation results that benefit all 88 counties. Unfortunately, the fund, which preserves open space and farmland, improves outdoor recreation through a network of parks and trails and attracts investment and economic development in our state, must be reauthorized every other year in Ohio’s capital budget. TNC is leading a coalition of stakeholders to protect, enhance and preserve this valuable program making Ohio a better place to live, work and recreate.  

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Water

From streams and rivers to wetlands and lakes, Ohio’s waters sustain life. Lake Erie alone supplies drinking water to 11 million people and contains 50% of the fish found in all of the Great Lakes combined. But changes in land use over time have degraded our most precious waterways. TNC is advocating for policies and programs that help support and revitalize our waters. We believe that integration of natural solutions, as well as the adoption of agricultural best management practices, can help realize significant improvements for Ohio’s water quality.

Hand holds up glass of water fille with algae.
Harmful Algal Blooms Funding from H2Ohio helps address water quality issues in Ohio like nutrient runoff which contributes to harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. © Ariana Lindquist

H2Ohio

Working alongside partners and agencies, TNC helped design and lobby for H2Ohio. This innovative program provides funding to improve water quality by reducing and removing excess nutrients before they pose a threat to public water supplies. This program continues to improve the quality of life for our urban and rural residents by creating safer drinking water and improving recreation, tourism and habitat for all Ohioans. But there is more that must be done to secure the future of H2Ohio. TNC is working with partner agencies to advocate for long-term funding for the program.

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TNC staff set fish traps in Lake Eries at sunrise.
Restoring the Great Lakes Funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative helps address invasive species, harmful algal blooms and climate resiliency in Lake Erie and beyond. © Ariana Lindquist

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

To achieve our bold goal of conserving 620,000 miles of rivers and streams and 74 million acres of lakes and wetlands, we must think beyond Ohio’s borders. Initiated in 2010, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is the single most significant federal program directed solely at the Great Lakes. Every year, Congress determines environmental priorities for this program. TNC provides resources to help Congress shape those priorities and the dollars needed to address the overwhelming threats to the Great Lakes which include harmful algal blooms, invasive species and climate change. Even in tough economic times, we have been able to demonstrate the importance of the Great Lakes and maintain funding to support their health.

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