The Clermont County Soil and Water Conservation District is among six areas selected by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to receive funding for a two-year grant.
On Dec. 18, 2009, ODNR announced the six communities within the state to take part in the project. The Balanced Growth Strategy grants will help communities facing development challenges within their local watersheds. The awards were granted based upon partnership groups comprised of local governments in each watershed.
According to EPA director Chris Korleski, the benefits of balanced growth will help the participating communities coordinate water, wastewater, transportation and other infrastructure planning while protecting and restoring Ohio’s watersheds.
Becky McClatchey will be leading the project in Clermont County.
"We will have our initial meeting with the state in a couple weeks," said McClatchey. "After that meeting we will be moving forward to meet with all the representatives from each of the jurisdictions."
She said the next step in the project will be reaching out to the stakeholders, working together with all of them to develop criteria within the next 12 months.
"We will be working on a general plan," said McClatchey. "We will be working with the planning department and meeting with the stakeholders one on one."
Other areas selected throughout the state include, Cuyahoga River community, Lake County planning commission, Medina County Soil and Water, Mid-Ohio Regional planning, and Trumbull County planning.
This program was developed by the Ohio Lake Erie Commission in 2004 and expanded to a statewide program in 2009. It is a voluntary, incentive-driven means for the state to encourage locally led efforts to support sustainable growth and manage land use change.
Although there are already programs in place to deal with flooding, erosion and water quality, they generally deal with correcting past problems. This program is intended to prevent future problems by encouraging local governments to plan for the location of development and to plan for land areas that should be conserved.
To find out more about the program, visit their web site at www.balancedgrowth.ohio.gov.