Ohio.gov  |   State Agencies   |   Online Services
Ohio Balanced Growth Program

Balanced Growth: a voluntary, incentive-based strategy to protect and restore Lake Erie, the Ohio River, and Ohio's watersheds to assure long-term economic competitiveness, ecological health, and quality of life.The goal of the program is to link land-use planning to the health of watersheds and major water bodies.


The Program includes recommendations and resources for local governments who wish to implement Best Local Land Use Practices.

NEW! Want to compare your existing code or comprehensive planning process to the recommended Best Practices?

 Use the new checklists (click here then scroll to bottom of page).

NEW! The Ohio Balanced Growth Program co-sponsored research with the Ohio Department of Transportation to look at the relationship of Balanced Growth land use and transportation. We have developed this brief to communicate what local governments can learn from the results of this study.

NEW! We have added two new Case Studies of the various practices implemented in Ohio, with economic and cost/benefit information now posted here.



A watershed based planning framework is also available. Watershed Planning Partnerships comprised of local government representatives and others work toward the development and implementation of a Watershed Balanced Growth Plan. This Plan will contain maps of Priority Development Areas, Priority Conservation Areas, and Priority Agricultural Areas (if desired) based on specific measurable criteria that will support watershed-based land use planning and project implementation. See the Ohio Balanced Growth Program Strategy.

A Watershed Balanced Growth Plan is a framework for coordinated, local decision making about how growth and conservation should be promoted by local and state policies and investments in the context of watersheds. The local role is to work towards the development, adoption, and implementation of the Plan, and the state’s role is to support the local government effort and be responsive to the resulting state-endorsed Plan. For a listing of current state endorsed watershed Balanced Growth Plans, see this page.


Watershed Balanced Growth Plans interface with and complement the existing restoration oriented Watershed Action Plan (WAP) process by providing an impairment preventative approach to water quality. Like the WAPs, the state will endorse the plan, and after endorsement, the participating local jurisdictions will be eligible for state incentives.


To see the map of the current Balanced Growth watersheds (pdf), click here.