Our History

In October of 1989, a steering committee was formed to begin the process of forming by-laws and applying for USDA funds under the name of the Western Reserve Resource Conservation and Development Council. The intent of the committee was to establish an RC&D Council similar to others that have been previously adopted around the state of Ohio.

In 1992, Council received official nonprofit status from IRS. Committees were formed to prioritize projects, create a member handbook, develop a logo, and create a plan of work. Council also revised and resubmitted its funding application to USDA. Council also began to focus on land preservation and environmental education projects by sponsoring workshops and submitting grants for a land preservation workbook and raising funds for the "Envirothon" competition.

In 1995, Council initiated a major program to assist local communities aimed at promoting sensitive land use and development practices in Northeast Ohio. Council formed a special committee to develop the "Countryside Program" and to seek out private foundation support. In January of 1996, Council received major funding from the Gund Foundation to hire a coordinator, Kirby Date, for the "Countryside Program." During this time period, Council also continued to administer the Grand River Watershed Project with funding being appropriated for conservation easements, non point pollution practices on agricultural lands, and educational workshops and displays aimed at watershed protection.

During these years, Council received part-time coordinator assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. With the application for U.S. Dept. of Agriculture authorization still on hold, Council continued to move ahead with project activities.

Council began 1997 by expanding its partnership efforts. Council signed agreements with USDA, NRCS and the Trust for Public Land to provide special assistance to the Grand River Protection Project in securing conservation easements. Council also partnered with the Ohio Association of RC&D's and the Division of Soil and Water Conservation in receiving state administrative grant funding. The "Countryside Program" was also expanded with over 50 educational sessions held and additional grant funding secured from private foundations. Council members also became more active in serving on local committees to support farmland preservation activities. Council ended the year by revising and resubmitting the application for USDA funding authorization.   

With additional administrative funding at hand in 1998, Council expanded its role by hiring grant and secretarial support. Keith McClintock began serving as a contractor to perform administrative assistant duties. Additional funds were allocated to the "Countryside Program" to allow 2000 copies of The Conservation Development Resource Manual to be produced. Council also received support from the National Park Service in donated office space for the "Countryside Program" at the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area.

In 2009, a portion of coordinator support time from NRCS was lost due to other work assignments. The economic downturn in 2009 also affected grant requests and donations for Council’s budget and projects. Council ended the year developing a fundraising brochure and identifying potential donors as it moved forward with trying to become more self sustaining.