Category Archives: Conservation Programs

Portman and Strickland Asked to Commit to Support Public Lands

U.S. Senate Candidates Rob Portman and Ted Strickland
Asked to Commit Support for Public Lands

National parks, forest and wildlife refuges threatened by some in Congress, states

OHIO (Sept. 29, 2016) – As the race for Senate in Ohio reaches the final few weeks, National Wildlife Federation and the Ohio Conservation Federation today announced the submission of a letter of principles to both Senator Portman and Governor Strickland’s campaigns asking them to commit to keeping public lands in public hands for all Americans. The letter to the U.S. Senate candidates from NWF on behalf of their 156,000 Ohio members and supporters follows similar letters to the Clinton and Trump campaigns that were signed by 42 sportsmen organizations asking that they commit to keeping public lands public.

As the letter notes, the majority of Americans in both parties support and cherish public lands. A recent poll of registered voters in Ohio commissioned by the National Wildlife Federation showed that over four in five Ohioans (84 percent) believe that public lands should remain open to the public. These lands include national parks and forests, state parks, and wildlife refuges, among others. In addition, the survey found that 83 percent of registered voters in Ohio are against “the U.S. Congress passing laws that allow national public lands to be sold for private uses such as housing developments, resorts, mining, and oil and gas drilling.” Despite this widespread support however, there is a small yet vocal group of lawmakers at the federal and state level that is seeking to dismantle public lands and open them up to being handed over to private interests and corporations — irrevocably cutting off public access to the land that people have enjoyed for generations.

“America’s public lands are one of our nation’s greatest assets, said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO, National Wildlife Federation. “Our members in Ohio treasure access to their public lands to hunt, fish, and simply to enjoy the great outdoors. Ohio’s public lands are especially important to hunters, because many big game species depend upon contiguous wildlife corridors for annual migrations and to raise their young. We hope that both candidates will use their senate campaigns as a platform to express support for protecting public lands in Ohio and all across our nation — and keep them accessible for all Americans in the future.”

“Ohio’s sportsmen and women are public land owners. We firmly believe that we need to keep public lands in public hands,” said Matt Misicka, President, Ohio Conservation Federation. “Without public lands, many Ohioans would not have a place to hunt, fish and trap.”

Please Note: The National Wildlife Federation and The Ohio Conservation Federation do not participate in political campaigns, nor do we endorse, support or oppose any political party or any candidates for elected office.


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The Ohio Conservation Federation is the leading voice for sportsmen conservationists promoting the wise use and stewardship of Ohio’s wildlife and natural resources.


Fair Property Tax Assessment for Conservation Acreage

Following Pheasants Forever’s lead, OCF joins the case for lowering taxes on acreage enrolled in conservation programs.  Read the letter to Tax Commissioner Joe Testa below.

February 29, 2016

Dear Commissioner Testa,

I am writing to you on behalf of the membership of the Ohio Conservation Federation.  We represent tens of thousands of sportsmen and women across Ohio.  Our membership includes Buckeye Big Buck Club, Buckeye Firearms Association, Ducks Unlimited, Lake Erie Charter Boat Association, Ohio State Trappers Association, Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever, National Wildlife Federation, National Wild Turkey Federation, and Ruffed Grouse Society/American Woodcock Society.

Ohio landowners — including hunters, anglers, trappers, farmers, and ranchers — are concerned about tax evaluation under the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) for lands enrolled in habitat conservation practices.

State, Federal and local conservation programs like the Conservation Reserve Program, Wetlands Reserve Program, Agricultural Lands Easement Program, and the Clean Ohio Program benefit all Ohioans through reduced soil erosion, flood control, improved water quality, and increased wildlife habitat.   In return, fixed payments are made to compensate owners for the cost of planting trees and grasses, establishing riparian buffers, and restoring wetlands.  When land is enrolled in these programs, owners forfeit the ability to generate income from crop production on those acres for minimum periods of 10 years, 15 years, or in some cases perpetuity.

Excluding conservation acreage from CAUV while assessing it at anything higher than minimum value, not only burdens current landowners, but also threatens future participation in these vital conservation programs.   We are encouraged that some county auditors recognize that these conservation practices contribute to a healthy environment, populace, and economy and therefor assess them at their current minimum value.

Rather than penalizing landowners for their commitment to conservation;

We ask the Department of Taxation consider new guidelines on evaluating lands enrolled in long term State, Federal and local conservation programs, that provide a fair property tax assessment to those acres that in many cases provide invaluable ecological services to Ohio, but very limited or no income to their owners.

We would welcome the opportunity to meet with your staff to discuss these issues in more detail.

Thank you for your consideration.



Matt Misicka


Ohio Conservation Federation