Balanced Growth Planning

Ohio Balanced Growth Program - Watershed Planning

The Ohio Balanced Growth Program uses watersheds as the key organizing feature for land use planning. Watershed-scale land use planning has become an accepted approach in Ohio and throughout the nation because collaboration across the watershed allows coordinated, regional decision-making about how growth and conservation should be promoted by local and state policies and investments.

A Watershed Planning Partnership is the organization that will assemble to prepare a Watershed Balanced Growth Plan.  A Watershed Planning Partnership should be inclusive, with representatives from local governments, planning agencies, councils of governments, special purpose authorities, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholder groups. Once formed, the Watershed Planning Partnership will undergo a comprehensive planning process that will review local development pressures and opportunities, inventory sensitive resources, and produce a Watershed Balanced Growth Plan.

For more information on the planning process, see the Balanced Growth Strategy page.

For a map of the Balanced Growth watersheds, click here.

Watershed Planning Partnerships

In September 2005, the Ohio Lake Erie Commission awarded state grants to fund Watershed Planning Partnership pilot projects in the Swan Creek (Lucas, Henry, and Fulton Counties), Chagrin River (Geauga, Lake, and Portage Counties), and Upper West Branch Rocky River (Medina County) watersheds. Funding for the grants was provided by the Ohio Water Development Authority and administered by the Lake Erie Commission. All three Watershed Planning Partnerships produced Watershed Balanced Growth Plans that were endorsed by the state in 2009.

In 2006, a fourth pilot project grant was awarded to the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization to develop a Balanced Growth Plan for Chippewa Creek in Cuyahoga County. This project received federal dollars from a Coastal Management Assistance Grant administered through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Office of Coastal Management. The Chippewa Creek Watershed Balanced Growth Plan was endorsed by the state in December, 2008.  The endorsed plans are available here.

In September 2008, the Ohio Lake Erie Commission awarded a Lake Erie Protection Fund grant to the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization for the development of the Brandywine Creek Balanced Growth Watershed Action Plan.  This project is still under way.

The Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization, in cooperation with the Friends of Big Creek, has prepared a Watershed Balanced Growth Plan for Big Creek in the Cuyahoga River watershed. This plan was endorsed by the state in June, 2011. A link to the endorsed plan is available here.

Six additional planning grants were awarded in December 2009 (press release), through the Ohio Lake Erie Commission and Ohio Water Resources Council. The two watershed planning projects awarded in the Lake Erie watershed were Furnace Run Watershed (CRCPO, Cuyahoga County) and Eastern Lake County Coastal Tributaries (Lake County Planning Commission, Lake County). The four watershed planning projects awarded in the Ohio River watershed were East Fork Little Miami River Watershed (Clermont SWCD, Clermont County); Upper Chippewa Watershed (Medina SWCD, Medina County); Olentangy River Watershed (MORPC, Franklin, Delaware, and Marion County); and Lower Mosquito Creek Watershed (Trumbull County Planning Commission, Trumbull County).  

For more information on these projects, see the Watershed Planning Partnerships page.