stream and wetland restoration
Strait Creek Prairie Bluffs stream and wetland restoration © Dana Ohman/TNC

Stories in Ohio

Ohio Stream and Wetland In-Lieu Fee Mitigation Program (OMP)

OMP restores and protects streams and wetlands for future generations while offsetting unavoidable environmental impacts from economic development.

Contact the Ohio Mitigation Program:  Devin Schenk or 380.206.2213



Through the OMP, TNC is able to perform stream and wetland restoration that enhances and protects water quality and provides quality stream and wetland habitat, while allowing for economic development.

The Ohio River, Lake Erie and their tributaries are of critical importance to TNC's efforts to conserve whole systems. Degraded streams and wetlands, and failed mitigation projects have a pronounced cumulative impact on these large-scale systems.

The OMP consolidates money from many small permitted impacts to streams and wetlands and uses those resources to implement well-designed and strategically located projects that have a high chance of ecological success. Research has found that permittee-responsible mitigation projects, which are often small, scattered and poorly placed in the landscape, have a high failure rate. Through the OMP, TNC and its conservation partners can conduct restoration and preservation activities in the same watersheds where wetland and stream disturbances have occurred, and provide further funding for watershed enhancement.  Restoring the streams and wetlands in the watersheds of impact also provides the ecosystem services of flood control, fish and wildlife habitat, and water quality to local residents and communities.

Where possible, projects are also part of ongoing conservation initiatives by The Nature Conservancy or other conservation partners with comprehensive ecological management and watershed plans. The OMP utilizes an extensive Compensation Planning Framework that was developed by the Conservancy to drive project selection on a watershed-based scale. The result is that mitigation sites will be located in areas that provide greater ecological benefit than small, isolated projects.  


TNC OMP staff pursues wetland and stream projects that meet a strict set of criteria. The following items are considered during the identification and review of a potential project: 

  • Overall fit within the OMP Compensation Planning Framework.
  • Appropriateness of the site to provide mitigation for permitted impacts.
  • Mitigation need and available funds in the project area (Primary Service Area).
  • Likelihood of long-term success.
  • Ability to permanently protect aquatic resources (e.g. conservation easement).
  • Proximity to identified areas of concern, environmentally sensitive sites, or other protected lands.
  • Project cost.

TNC will use a Site Selection and Evaluation Checklist, developed in coordination with other external experts, to score the proposed project and then develop a mitigation plan for the highest scoring projects in that Primary Service Area. The mitigation plan is submitted to the Interagency Review Team for their review and approval.


The regulatory agencies ultimately approve the OMP’s restoration projects. TNC submits potential projects to the regulatory agencies, who must approve both the proposed mitigation plan and the budget before the project can move forward. The regulatory review panel is known as the IRT (Interagency Review Team) and is chaired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). Additional agency representatives on the IRT are from Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The IRT provides regular review and input on the proposed projects.

Each project site is also put on public notice through the Corps and is available for public comment for thirty days. TNC addresses IRT and public comments in the development of a final project plan.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact the Ohio Mitigation Program Manager, Devin Schenk at or 380-206-2213