Greenspace Program

What is ‘Greenspace’?

OKI works eagerly to promote and assist greenspace conservation throughout the region.

Greenspace is land in an undeveloped or restored natural state. It is also land designated as parks, recreational areas, working lands, or open spaces with green infrastructure. While both improving citizens’ quality of life and conserving ecosystem benefits, greenspace adds economic value to communities by reducing costs from environmental damage. Connectivity is critical for increasing greenspace value. This makes it necessary for OKI and partners to work together to conserve greenspace throughout the region.

Image of Greenspace

OKI promotes the conservation of greenspace through its efforts to:

Natural Resources and the SRPP

OKI’s Strategic Regional Policy Plan (SRPP) includes a chapter on natural systems and greenspace consideration in the plan’s ‘Land Use’ and ‘Public Facilities’ sections.

How Do We Grow?

Online Mapping Applications

Environmental Resources Viewer

The Environmental Resources Viewer is an online mapping tool that displays a vast array of data — from environmental to administrative features throughout the OKI region. This tool adds or removes various layers, aerial photos and base maps to the display, zooming in or out to different geographic extents. This tool allows the user to visualize the environmental resources in a specific area.

The Environmental Mitigation and Suitability Modeler (EMSM)

The OKI Environmental Mitigation and Suitability Modeler enables decision-makers the ability to identify the areas of the OKI region most suitable for future mitigation investments — helping to retain mitigation investments within the OKI region.

Environmental Consultations

Environmental consultations open new insights into the transportation planning process. They help reduce negative environmental impacts and lower transportation and development costs. A deeper understanding of the dynamics between transportation and greenspace can provide ideas. It can also expand transportation opportunities to advance sustainable development.

“Interest in conserving natural resources is increasing because of the economic angle — protection is in the interest of the pocketbook. The cost of replacing or restoring natural resources should make it a no-brainer to see the need to protect them.”

Local Agency Participant, OKI Environmental Consultations, 2011

About the Environmental Consultation Reports:

Federal rules require that MPOs hold environmental consultations that compare transportation plans with identified protected environmental resources. To abide by these requirements, OKI’s reports on environmental consultations in our regional transportation planning initiatives include:

  • Maps and data on the region’s most significant (and least impaired) environmental resources

  • Insights from local and state agencies on how to better protect environmental resources from transportation and development impacts

  • Suggestions for reducing project-level impact and cumulative effects of transportation and development

Important Topics Within the Reports:

Environmental Resources

Regionally Significant Environmental Resources

Environmental resources considered as regionally significant typically include:

  • Resources targeted for conservation/protection in state policy and regulations
  • Resources that help protect state investments
  • High-quality or rare resources
  • Resources that help sustain other high-quality or rare resources
Environmental Strategies

Applicable Strategies

Further transportation improvement and environmental protection strategies include:

  • Better overall planning
  • Increased use of low-impact development and green infrastructure for reducing stormwater impacts
  • Integration of best practices into development codes
  • A conservation element implemented in local comprehensive plans
  • Increased use of conservation easements
Environmental Concerns

Major Environmental Concerns

The top environmental worries found throughout the region included the concerns that:

  • Forested tracts remain intact
  • Stream corridors are conserved
  • Roadway runoff be diverted from direct entry into streams
  • Streams that are not yet degraded should be protected
  • The growth of impervious surfaces should be constrained

How To Access These Reports:

If you are interested in archived Environmental Consultation reports, please contact Margaret Minzner.

Timeline for OKI’s 2023 Environmental Consultations:

Date: Activity:
Winter 2022-2023

Spring 2023

Summer 2023

Fall 2023

Winter 2023-2024

Spring 2024

Update Environmental Data and Analysis Tools (Environmental Viewer)

Regional Stakeholder Identification, Commitment, and Kick-Off

Stakeholder Engagement- Regionally Significant Issues

Stakeholder Engagement- Project Consideration

Integrate Considerations to Plan

Final Plan Preparation

Eco-Logical Report & Advanced Mitigation

What is the Eco-Logical approach?

The eco-logical approach lays the groundwork for agencies, government institutions and organizations to collaborate on developing an integrated eco-logical framework. This framework results in a systematic 8-step national resource identification, avoidance, minimization, and mitigation process. The Eco-Logical: An Ecosystem Approach to Developing Infrastructure Projects guide was developed by a team of representatives from eight federal agencies and the Department of Transportation.

Eco-Logical Guide

This guide describes a landscape-scale, ecosystem approach for planning and developing infrastructure projects that:

  • Bring together resources, infrastructure, and regulatory agencies to form strong partnerships
  • Incorporate natural resource and infrastructure data for use in the mitigation, conservation and planning
  • Allow agencies to establish joint priorities
Eco-Logical 9 Steps

What is Advanced Mitigation?

A relatively new term created by the FHWA — Advance Mitigation — refers to determining significant possible environmental impacts early in the planning process. This helps determine the best possible plan for where and how to proceed with a project.

Greenspace Partnerships

Green Umbrella

Green Umbrella

Green Umbrella (GU) is a large-scale sustainability alliance across the Greater Cincinnati Region. It oversees the collaboration of over 200 non-profits, businesses, educational institutions, and government entities on the environmental aspects of sustainability. GU acts as a “backbone organization” to each alliance member.

Green Umbrella was founded in 1998 to unite citizens and organizations that shared concern over preserving and restoring the diverse flora and fauna within the OKI region. Its original focus on conserving greenspace was to enhance the region’s vitality. While dedicated to environmental sustainability, GU eventually widened its mission to include promoting outdoor recreation and improving economic vitality and quality of life.

Taking Root

Taking Root addresses the local tree crisis by planting trees and managing forested areas across the OKI region. The nonprofit organization has provided more than 320,000 trees throughout our tristate communities.

Tree for Me

OKI partnered with Taking Root on developing Tree for Me, an online tool to help individuals, communities, parks, and municipalities manage tree distribution campaigns. Users can also use Tree for Me to calculate the benefits of planting a tree in a residential or business location you specify.

Help make our tree canopy thrive

Visit Taking Root to learn more about the crisis confronting our trees and forests. You’ll also learn how you, your community, and your organization can join with OKI and our partners to help address Taking Root’s goals.

Taking Root History

The Taking Root campaign started in 2013 as a collaboration with OKI, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, Green Umbrella, and the Green Partnership of Greater Cincinnati. The group’s goal: to address the local tree crisis by planting trees and managing forested areas across the region. In 2016, Taking Root Campaign became an independent, non-profit organization that has provided more than 1,500 trees to 22 communities in the tri-state region.

Contact for more info:

Margaret Minzner
Margaret MinznerEnvironmental Senior Planner
OKI Regional Council of Governments

720 E. Pete Rose Way, Suite 420
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Office No.- 513.619.7675

Related Links

View other Maps & Apps

View 2050 Environmental Plan

Endangered, Threatened, and Rare (ETR) Species in the OKI Region:

View some of the >161 species in the region listed as endangered, threatened, or rare at global, federal, and state levels.

View ETR Species Report Document 1

View ETR Species Report Document 2