The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is distributing more than $485,000 of federal funds to 18 counties, which will primarily go toward improving schools and roads. Counties receiving funding include Athens, Delaware, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Perry, Scioto, Vinton, Washington, Licking, Mahoning, Portage, Stark and Trumbull.
“Sensible management of Ohio’s natural resources continues to pay dividends across the state,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “This is a great opportunity to invest in infrastructure and services that residents value.”
Funding comes from leases to mineral rights and forest products on federal lands in Ohio, through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Secure Rural Schools Act program and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Forest Acquired Lands and Flood Control Act Lands programs. Revenue sharing varies by program but brings anywhere from 25 to 75 percent back to the counties.
“Forest lands improve quality of life for all Ohioans,” said Dan Balser, chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. “Revenue generated by these programs helps local districts promote conservation throughout Ohio.”
Depending on the program, state statute requires certain portions of the funds be used for schools and roads. Over the past five years, these programs have provided nearly $3.7 million to Ohio counties.