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Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission

Ohio soil and water conservation commission meeting scene

The Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission (OSWCC) was established in 1941 when the 94th Ohio General Assembly enacted House Bill 646. The principal responsibility of the OSWCC is to ensure Ohioans are served by well administered and supported Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs). Members of the OSWCC are dedicated volunteers who have contributed thousands of hours of leadership over more than 75 years to foster successful local conservation programs. Specific responsibilities include:

  • Determine the allocation of state funds to SWCDs and recommend the level of state and federal funds needed;
  • Inform SWCD supervisors of their official powers and duties;
  • Facilitate networking and sharing of individual SWCD activities and initiatives among all Ohio SWCD supervisors.
  • Foster and promote cooperation of state and federal agencies on behalf of SWCDs;
  • Issue appropriate rules and policies governing election of SWCD supervisors;
  • Recommend priorities to the Director of ODA for planning and construction of small watershed projects, and coordination of agreements with local SWCDs; and
  • Recommend programs and legislation to state officials relative to SWCDs and encouragement of proper soil, water, and other natural resource management.


The membership and terms of service on the OSWCC are specified in Ohio Revised Code Section 940.02. The commission consists of seven members of equal status and authority, six of whom shall be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate, and one of whom shall be designated by resolution of the board of directors of the Ohio federation of soil and water conservation districts. The directors of agriculture, environmental protection, and natural resources, the vice-president for agricultural administration of the Ohio state university, and an officer of the Ohio federation of soil and water conservation districts, or their designees, may serve as ex officio members of the commission, but without the power to vote. The Chief of ODA's Division of Soil and Water Conservation serves as the commission's executive secretary.

  • Etta Reed, Chairperson
  • Jerry McBride, Vice Chairperson
  • Jennifer Bowman, Member
  • Rick Bryan, Member
  • Frances Buchholzer, Member
  • Anthony Debevc, Member
  • Bill Knapke, Member
  • Cathann Kress, Dean OSU CFAES, ex officio
  • Mary Mertz, Director ODNR, ex officio
  • Brian Baldridge, ODA Director, ex officio
  • Matt Peart, President OFSWCD, ex officio
  • Anne Vogel, Ohio EPA Director, ex officio
  • Kirk Hines, Executive Secretary, Chief ODA-DSWC