There are several options for preserving land so that it will be protected in perpetuity. Conservation easements can be used to protect land that have unique conservation value, whereas agricultural easements are used to preserve farmlands for the sole purpose of perpetuating agricultural production.
Besides agricultural easements, Ohio farmland preservation tools include such programs as Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV), Ohio Clean Ohio Farmland Preservation Program, and Agricultural Security Areas.
The Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District worked with local jurisdictions and area partners to develop a Watershed Balanced Growth Plan for the Middle East Fork, a sub-watershed of the East Fork Little Miami River Watershed. This planning project was funded through a grant from the Ohio Water Resources Council and the Ohio Balanced Growth Program, a statewide initiative designed to help growing communities balance development and natural resource protection through regional land use planning.
A local Watershed Planning Partnership (WPP) was formed to oversee the initial planning process from January 2010-December 2011. The WPP included representatives from each Township/Village in the planning area, along with representatives from public agencies and private organizations. The WPP worked together to complete the Middle East Fork Watershed Balanced Growth Plan, which includes maps of Priority Development Areas (PDAs) and Priority Conservation Areas (PCAs), along with recommendations for the implementation of Best Local Land Use Practices.
A majority of the local jurisdictions endorsed the Plan and in March 2012, the Ohio Water Resources Council and other state partnering agencies unanimously approved State endorsement of the Plan. The areas selected as Priority Development Areas and Priority Conservation Areas will now serve as direction to the agencies of the State of Ohio. The Plan offers the opportunity for state and local collaboration to encourage well planned development while conserving critical areas across the watershed.
A copy of the Middle East Fork Balanced Growth Plan can be found at: http://ftp.clermontcountyohio.gov/SoilAndWater/BG_MEF_Draft.pdf