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Division of Wildlife Environmental Review

Environmental Review

The Division of Wildlife (DOW) offers several resources and levels of review to assist in the assessment of a project’s impacts to state listed species and other sensitive resources. The DOW has changed some of its review procedures, so please read carefully to ensure that the level of review you choose meets your requirements. If you are unsure of what type of review you need, please contact Nathan Reardon at Nathan.reardon@dnr.ohio.gov or 614-265-6741.

Ohio Natural Heritage Database

Natural Heritage Database (NHD) requests will be fulfilled for projects that meet one of the four following criteria. If your project meets one of these four criteria, please complete the Natural Heritage Data Request form and submit to NHDRequest@dnr.ohio.gov.

  • Consultant prepared reports for ODOT projects
  • Completion of OEPA’s “Ohio Rapid Assessment Method for Wetlands” form
  • Academic research projects
  • Other non-development/non-construction projects (justification required)

If your project does not meet one of the four criteria making it eligible for a NHD request, and you are not required, or do not wish to coordinate with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) through the Environmental Review process (as outlined below), please refer to the State Listed Wildlife Species by County and the State Listed Wildlife and Plant Species By County. These lists will identify all state listed species that have the potential to be present within a county of interest, and subsequently at a project site within that county. These lists can be used as a cursory look, and provide direction as to what type of species’ assessments should be done at a project site.

Pre-Planning Environmental Assessment Tool

This tool was developed to promote threatened and endangered (T&E) species assessment early in a project’s planning stages. The earlier T&E species assessment occurs in a project’s siting/routing, the easier it is to avoid and minimize impacts to these species and their habitats. Users will be able to delineate a project area and generate a list of which T&E species, and/or other protected wildlife have the potential to be present within the area. Habitat descriptions, avoidance/minimization measures and other guidance for each species will also be provided. Please note, use of this tool does not represent coordination with ODNR or replace an environmental review.

Pre-Planning Environmental Assessment Tool

Environmental Review

The DOW also participates in an inter-disciplinary Environmental Review (ER) program within ODNR. The DOW conducts its portion of the review subject to its statutory authority, and area of expertise and research. For its role as the state wildlife agency, the DOW provides recommendations and guidance on how to minimize and/or avoid impacts to rare, threatened and endangered wildlife. An environmental review considers the habitats that are present at and adjacent to a project site, the potential impacts to species and their habitats, and documented species through the NHD program.

For many projects, demonstrating coordination with ODNR is a requirement that must be fulfilled to secure funding, licensing, or permitting, at both the state and federal level. Coordination letters that are prepared through ODNR’s Environmental Review Program are done so under the authority of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (FWCA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), and other applicable laws and regulations. An environmental review represents coordination with ODNR, and fulfills the necessary obligations.

If your project meets any of the following criteria, or you are interested in a more comprehensive review, please submit for an Environmental Review.

  • Project requires coordination with ODNR to fulfill NEPA, ESA, FWCA, or CWA requirements.
  • Project will be submitted to Ohio Power Siting Board.
  • Project will be submitted to US Army Corps of Engineers or Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
  • Project will be submitted for an ODNR Clean Ohio Trails Fund or Recreational Trails Program Grant, or Land and Water Conservation Fund.
  • Project is in the preliminary planning/routing stage.
  • Other (explain)

Below are the items that should be included with an environmental review submission. Although not all items are required, include as many as possible. Project information can be submitted to the following dedicated email: environmentalreviewrequest@dnr.ohio.gov. Please allow at least 30-45 days for review and for a coordination letter to be returned.

1. Cover letter with detailed description of proposed work that includes the following:

  • Site location - County, Township and/or latitude and longitude
  • Proposed work
  • Onsite habitats - including the size, location, and quality of streams, wetlands, forest and other natural areas (when available)
  • Proposed impacts (e.g. is in-water work necessary? Is tree clearing necessary?)
  • Proposed Best Management Practices

2. Maps that delineate the area of impact or work area

  • Topographic
  • Aerial
  • Site plans

3. Photographs representative of the site (when available)

4. Shapefiles, KMZ files (when available)