Ohio's Land Protection Efforts Prioritize Biodiversity
Climate change and loss of biodiversity threaten the future of people and nature worldwide. The Nature Conservancy is addressing these interconnected issues by conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. As part of our 2030 goals, we are working to protect 30% of land and water to help stop irreversible biodiversity loss this decade. This includes conserving 1.6 billion acres of land, 620,000 miles of river and 74 million acres of lakes and wetlands globally.
Here in Ohio, we’re doing our part by conserving valuable habitats that will help us achieve our climate and biodiversity goals. By protecting and restoring habitats like wetlands, streams, rivers, lakes and forests, TNC is helping to reconnect fragmented habitats for plants and wildlife while ensuring the resiliency of these systems to support people and nature in a changing climate.
Here Are Some of the Natural Areas We've Recently Protected
Acquired in August 2023
This small but mighty tract of land at the Edge of Appalachia Preserve (EOA) will help protect the state endangered Allegheny woodrat. At just over 3 acres it is not the largest property TNC has protected, but its location is critical to protecting woodrat habitat, which is limited in Ohio to a small area in and around the EOA preserve. Related to the more famous pack rats of the western U.S., the woodrat, which looks more like a large mouse than a rat, has a penchant for collecting objects. Funding for this acquisition was made possible by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife.
Fuzzy Five Tract
Acquired August 2023
Located on a high bluff overlooking the Ohio River and the hills of Kentucky, the Fuzzy Five tract is 250 acres of Appalachian hardwood forest adjacent to Shawnee State Forest. The acquisition is part of TNC's effort to conserve one of Ohio’s most resilient forested landscapes, which is anchored by the 65,0000-acre Shawnee State Forest and the 21,000 acre Edge of Appalachia Preserve.
In spring 2023, TNC acquired two properties that protect Ohio Brush Creek, one of the most resilient watersheds in the eastern U.S. The 35-acre Wayne Moore tract protects a quarter mile of Ohio Brush Creek frontage, which includes part of a great blue heron rookery. The land is wooded with small ephemeral tributaries and an occasional slump block of Peebles dolomite. Protecting the Moore tract also helps to safeguard a population of uncommon snow trillium (Trillium nivale) population on an adjacent tract of protected land while preserving the quality of Ohio Brush Creek.
Generously donated by Jan and Wym Portman, the 154-acre Portman tract at Edge of Appalachia Preserve in Adams County protects a quarter mile of Ohio Brush Creek and one-third of a mile of Beasley Fork. The property also boasts extensive wooded slopes of the Ohio Brush Creek valley wall. The land has small cliffs of Peebles dolomite and a few small sinkholes. Protection of this land helps preserve a portion of the incredible view visitors see when they look out on the Ohio Brush Creek valley from the top of Buzzardroost Rock.
Acquired January 2023
Nearly adjacent to Lynx Prairie, the 98-acre Frame tract is part of the larger Lynx Prairie landscape. The property is marked by rolling hills, dolomite cliffs and rocky streams that encompass one of the most extensive landscapes in Ohio of very rare, dry limestone prairie. The area supports three state-listed species, including Uhler’s sundragon (Helocordulia uhleri), jelly lichen (Enchylium coccophorum) and a state-threatened soil lichen (Placidium squamulosum). The forests and prairies of the Edge of Appalachia protect one of Ohio’s most valuable resources—fresh water. The Frame tract helps protect nearly one-third of a mile of Middle Branch Run and three-fourths of a mile of spring-fed tributaries, all feeding into Scioto Brush Creek, one of Ohio’s highest-quality streams.
Located in Ashtabula County, the Rich tract adds 100 acres to the Morgan Swamp Preserve, which now protects 2,154 acres. The Rich tract is a crown-jewel-type addition to the core area of the preserve. It protects the remainder of the largest New England bog on the preserve, the largest population of Virginia chain fern in Ohio as well as the only population on the preserve of state potentially threatened Woodland horsetail (Equisitum sylvaticum). Protection of this massive wetland area helps ensure that the Grand River remains one of the most biodiverse tributaries in the entire Lake Erie watershed.
Acquired November 2022
Located within the globally significant Oak Openings Region, the Colgan tract adds 14 acres to the Kitty Todd Nature Preserve and helps further efforts to expand protection of the region. Kitty Todd lies within a matrix of wetland, forest and oak savanna habitats and includes a portion of the historic Irwin Prairie landscape, an area that once covered an estimated 5,000 acres in the Oak Openings Region of Ohio. The property was purchased using funds from the Ohio EPA’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program, which funds the protection and restoration of high-quality streams and wetlands. It will be restored with support from the H2Ohio Program.
Land Protection Over the Years
Visit an Open Preserve
While not all of TNC's properties are open to the public, we're proud to support eight open preserves where the public can enjoy access to the best of Ohio nature. Check out the map for more information about our open preserves and plan your visit today.