There is hereby created in the department of natural resources the division of natural areas and preserves, which shall be administered by the chief of the division of natural areas and preserves. The chief shall take an oath of office and shall file in the office of the secretary of state a bond signed by the chief and by a surety approved by the governor for a sum fixed pursuant to section 121.11 of the Revised Code.
The chief shall administer a system of nature preserves. The chief shall establish a system of nature preserves through acquisition and dedication of natural areas of state or national significance, which shall include, but not be limited to, areas that represent characteristic examples of Ohio's natural landscape types and its natural vegetation and geological history. The chief shall encourage landowners to dedicate areas of unusual significance as nature preserves, and shall establish and maintain a registry of natural areas of unusual significance.
The chief may participate in watershed planning activities with other states or federal agencies.
The chief shall do the following:
(A) Formulate policies and plans for the acquisition, use, management, and protection of nature preserves;
(B) Formulate policies for the selection of areas suitable for registration;
(C) Formulate policies for the dedication of areas as nature preserves;
(D) Prepare and maintain surveys and inventories of natural areas, rare and endangered species of plants and animals, and other unique natural features. The information shall be entered in the Ohio natural heritage database, established under section 1531.04 of the Revised Code.
(E) Adopt rules for the use, visitation, and protection of nature preserves and natural areas owned or managed through easement, license, or lease by the department and administered by the division in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code;
(F) Provide facilities and improvements within the state system of nature preserves that are necessary for their visitation, use, restoration, and protection and do not impair their natural character;
(G) Provide interpretive programs and publish and disseminate information pertaining to nature preserves and natural areas for their visitation and use;
(H) Conduct and grant permits to qualified persons for the conduct of scientific research and investigations within nature preserves;
(I) Establish an appropriate system for marking nature preserves;
(J) Publish and submit to the governor and the general assembly a biennial report of the status and condition of each nature preserve, activities conducted within each preserve, and plans and recommendations for natural area preservation.
Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28, HB 153, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2011.
Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 7/17/2009.
Effective Date: 05-03-1990; 12-30-2004; 06-27-2005; 09-29-2005; 04-06-2007 .