Clean Ohio

The Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Program provides grants dedicated to environmental conservation, including the acquisition of green space and the protection and enhancement of river and stream corridors. Grant recipients agree to maintain the properties in perpetuity to be enjoyed and cherished for generations to come.


Buckeye Hills serves as the District 18 Liaison to the Ohio Public Works Commission and the Clean Ohio program. The Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Program provides grants for up to 75 percent of the estimated costs for projects that do either of the following:

Open Space: Open space acquisition and/or related improvement of those open spaces, including the acquisition of easements. This includes the acquisition of land or rights in land for parks, forests, wetlands, natural areas that protect an endangered plant or animal population, other natural areas, and connecting corridors for natural areas. Related improvement projects include projects for the construction or enhancement of facilities that are necessary to make the acquired open space area accessible and useable by the general public. An application can be made for acquisition only, acquisition and related improvements, or for improvements only on properties previously acquired in fee through Clean Ohio. Eligible improvements include trails, pedestrian bridges, observation decks, kiosks/signs, benches, trash receptacles, invasive species removal (one time), parking lots, restoration, and fencing.

Riparian Corridor: Protection and enhancement of riparian corridors or watersheds, including the protection of streams, rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. Projects may include reforestation of land or planting of vegetation for filtration, and fee simple acquisition or acquisition of easements for providing access, or for protection and enhancement.

Resources to learn more about the Buckeye Hills Clean Ohio program:


Eligible projects for the Clean Ohio program include:

  • Habitat protection for rare, threatened, or endangered species
  • Preservation of high-quality wetlands and other scarce natural resources
  • Preservation of streamside forests, natural stream channels, functioning floodplains, and other natural features of Ohio’s waterways
  • Comprehensive open space planning
  • Securing easements to protect stream corridors
  • Enhancement of ecotourism and economic development related to outdoor recreation in economically-challenged areas
  • Pedestrian or bicycle passageways between natural areas and preserves
  • Reduction or elimination of nonnative, invasive plant and animal species
  • Providing safe areas for fishing, hunting, and trapping in a manner that provides a balanced ecosystem

Eligible applicants include:

  • Local governments
  • Park and joint recreational districts
  • Conservancy districts
  • Soil and water conservation districts
  • Non-profit organizations with a purpose in conservation and/or preservation

Grant recipients agree to maintain the properties in perpetuity so that they can be enjoyed and cherished for generations to come. Applications are received and reviewed by the Natural Resources Assistance Council (NRAC). The membership roster on NRAC is linked below.

Visit the official website for Clean Ohio

How to Apply

Fiscal Year 2024 (Round 18) Applications are due September 29, 2023, at 4:00 p.m.

Please note: In addition to the portal submission, twelve (12) copies of the application must be submitted to Buckeye Hills by the deadline. If you have not yet registered to receive your portal login, please do so by visiting the Ohio Public Works Commission website. If you are having difficulty with the new portal and will be unable to meet the required deadline for the portal, please contact Michelle Hyer at or call 740-376-1025 as soon as possible. A hard copy of the application is due regardless, Friday, September 29, 2023, by 4:00 p.m.


Clean Ohio Funding Basics

Getting Approved for Funding

Applicants apply to their individual Natural Resource Assistance Councils (NRACs) for funding. Each NRAC has their own schedule for reviewing, rating and ranking projects. Once approved by the NRAC, the District Liaison submits the approved applications to OPWC. The OPWC District Program Representative reviews all applications for compliance and prepares the project agreement to be delivered no later than March 1st.

Receiving Agreements

Project agreements are sent electronically to the project officials via OneSpan Sign. All three project officials will receive the email with a copy of the project agreement, but only the project CEO will be prompted to sign. Follow the link in your email and OneSpan Sign will walk you through e-signing your agreement.

Establish Capital Projects Fund

All recipients must establish a fund for each project awarded for both the OPWC assistance and the local matching funds to account for revenues and expenditures.

Notice to Proceed

For acquisition, applicants are required to submit a Request to Proceed to their Program Rep via WorksWise no later than 30 days prior to the expected closing date. For improvements, it is the applicant’s responsibility to verify the contractor has an account in the Ohio Supplier Portal. OPWC does not review bid documents, but they provide suggested bid documents.

Change of Project Official

​​It is common for project officials to change between the time of application and the time the project agreement is sent. OPWC does not reprint project agreements to make these changes. Email your Program Representative notifying of the change of officials.

Schedule Extensions

Unforeseen circumstances can cause delay in acquisition or site improvements. The project schedule is part of the application process. If things change, notify the Program Rep in writing to request a schedule extension. OPWC requires acquisition to take place within one year of the project agreement date and all eligible improvements to be completed within two years from the acquisition.


OPWC gives customers flexibility with disbursement payments. OPWC can pay contractors directly for eligible invoices, or they can reimburse the applicant. Your OPWC agreement is for a percentage of total project costs, up to a specific grant amount. When submitting your disbursements, maintain your local share percentage by only requesting OPWC disburse funds at our participation ratio. OPWC cannot disburse their full grant amount prior to the total project costs reaching the total estimated project costs listed in the project agreement.


If you would like to pay the invoices directly, with your disbursement request submit the invoices with proof of payment (completed bank transfer by canceled check image front and back or screenshot from online bank). OPWC will then reimburse, at their participation ratio, for these eligible costs. Visit OPWC’s Project Administration page to see their Local Match Policy and to view the list of eligible costs and expenses.

OPWC Paying Contractors

OPWC typically pays contractors directly. As part of your disbursement submission in WorksWise, you may indicate whom you want OPWC to pay and what amount. You can visit the Public Portal for a direct link to view the status of submitted disbursement requests and payment history.

Closing Out A Project

To close out a project, mark it “Final Disbursement” at the top of your disbursement submittal in WorksWise. If you forget to indicate it was the final disbursement, email your Program Rep that there are no more project costs and the project can be closed out. If there are any remaining funds they will be returned to the District. Remember that project agreements are written for a participation rate, up to the assistance amount; therefore, the total assistance amount will be used only if the project comes in at or over budget. For projects that include acquisition, you must submit the signed settlement statement, recorded deed, and recorded deed restrictions to your Program Rep before we will be able to officially close your project.

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