Land conservation is the subject of two programs administered by state agencies and looking for interested parties.
Funding of up to $3 million per project is available to Ohio communities and other public entities along the Lake Erie watershed seeking to acquire land for preservation or recreation through the Coastal and Estuarine and Conservation Program (CELCP).
Sites within the program’s designated coastal management area – Lucas, Wood, Ottawa, Sandusky, Erie, Lorain, Cuyahoga, Lake, and Ashtabula counties – will be given the highest priority, said Sandra Kosek-Sills, coordinator of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Office of Coastal Management, adding that projects focusing on “high-quality, ecological, conservation, recreational, historical, or aesthetic value” will be the top contenders.
The application deadline is Feb. 17 at 5 p.m.
Up to three projects from Ohio will be referred to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for ranking and final consideration.
Funding will be allocated in the 2010 federal fiscal year budget bill and will be available in March, 2010.
Ohio has been awarded more than $20 million for projects since the CELCP began in 2002.
Applicants must provide at least 50 percent of the total project cost as a match.
For information contact Ms. Kosek-Sills at (419) 626-7980.
Nationwide, the program has protected more than 35,000 acres of land through funded projects.
Farther inland, the Black Swamp Conservancy will host an informational meeting about farmland preservation Feb. 3 at 5:30 p.m.
The meeting, open to anyone who owns farmland in Northwest Ohio, will be held at the W.W. Knight Preserve, 29530 White Rd., Perrysburg.
Representatives from the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Office of Farmland Preservation will present information about the Agricultural Easement Purchase Program, which provides funding for landowners who agree to limit the use of their farmland to agricultural purposes.
Under the program, the owner sells his or her development rights through a legal document known as an agricultural conservation easement, a three-party voluntary agreement between the owner, agriculture department, and a sponsor for the owner. The agreement requires the current owner and future owners to use the land for farming in perpetuity.
Owners can apply for AEPP funding only through a sponsor such as a local government or conservation district or conservancy.
A farmland owner who has been through the process will answer questions at the meeting and Kevin Joyce, the conservancy’s executive director, will provide information on the federal income tax incentives associated with the easement donations.
The Black Swamp Conservancy has sponsored 33 successful applications of farms in Fulton, Lucas, Sandusky, Seneca, and Wood counties.
For information call the conservancy at (419) 872-5263.