Conservation Fund

The Lake Erie Allegheny Partnership for Conservation Fund has been established to finance projects that promote and protect our region’s biodiversity.

The goal of the Conservation Fund is to attract funds for conservation projects from sources not previously available to our individual members and to distribute these funds through a collaborative, community driven process. The Fund is positioned to capture environmental settlement monies that might otherwise leave the region, corporate, philanthropic and personal donations.

Funding Criteria

Projects seeking support from the Conservation Fund are evaluated based on the extent to which the project:

  • Preserves extant populations of globally, state, or federally imperiled or rare species or communities as determined by the appropriate agency or other priority species as determined by LEAP;

  • Preserves habitat important for the viability of populations of globally, state, or federally imperiled or rare species as determined by the appropriate agency or other priority species as determined by LEAP. Important habitat may be on the project site or on a contiguous site with a verifiably high likelihood that these species would then inhabit the project site;

  • Preserves high quality examples of representative communities of the LEAP region;

  • Restores rare species or communities known to have historically existed in the LEAP region; and,

  • Connects currently protected natural areas.

Fund Committee January 2023 (3-year term)

Organization Representative (*chair)
Chagrin River Watershed Partners Josh Myers
Cleveland Metroparks Kristen Trolio*
Holden Forests & Gardens Mary Lineberger
Lake Metroparks Justine Wylie
Medina County Park District Jim Spetz
Nature Center at Shaker Lakes Julia Mitchell
Portage Park District Bob Lange
Presque Isle State Park Holly Best
The Wilderness Center Gary Popotnik
OPEN VACANT
Western Reserve Land Conservancy Renee Boronka

Beginnings
In 2004, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) approached several conservation organizations in NE Ohio about ways to increase grant making in northeast Ohio. They were interested in providing a vehicle for capturing new (or previously unattainable) sources of funding to preserve and restore natural areas within the northeast Ohio region. As a result, a subcommittee of the Lake Erie Allegheny Partnership (LEAP) for Biodiversity was formed.

LEAP Fund Committee
From 2005 through 2009, the Conservation Fund Committee, an informal group, met periodically to develop an agreement between the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History on behalf of LEAP, reach out to the US Attorney’s Office, and prepare grant requests. In 2020, due to a lack of activity, the NFWF account was dissolved. The LEAP Conservation Fund is now at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and controlled by the LEAP Conservation Fund.

First Grant Awarded
In April 2008, LEAP received a $100,000 grant award from the Arcelor Mittal Great Lakes Restoration Program to open the LEAP Fund at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and to open the Fund and provide seed money for projects.

Fund Created at National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
In September 2009, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, on behalf of the LEAP consortium, entered into an agreement with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to establish the Conservation Fund account. This NFWF Account was dissolved in 2020 and the Conservation Fund is now administered by Western Reserve Land Conservancy with direction from the LEAP Conservation Fund Committee.

Projects Funded

2022: Medina County Park District was awarded $1,000 for their project titled A utilization of the AHDriFT to assess critical habitat components for rare herpetofauna and small mammal populations in Medina County. Lead: Jim Spetz

2022: Holden Forests & Gardens was awarded $1,000 for their project Using autonomous recording units to capture migrating bird response to forestry treatments. Lead: Mike Watson

2021: Holden Forests & Gardens was awarded $991.87 for their project titled A Survey of Native Azaleas in Northeast Ohio. Lead: Connor Ryan

2021: Cleveland State University was awarded $1,000 for their project titled CSU Native Plant Initiative. Leads: Erin Avram and Emily Rauschert

2021: Holden Forests & Gardens was awarded $954.87 for their project titled *Invasive Plant Management in High Quality and Rare Habitats and Rare Plant Populations . Lead: Rebecah Troutman

2012: Portage Park District was awarded $44,000 towards purchase and protection of the 45-acre Franklin Bog in Portage County, OH.

2010: Pennsylvania Sea Grant was awarded $6,000 for their project titled Rare, Threatened and Endangered Plant Propagation at Presque Isle State Park.