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MWCD Makes Historic Economic Impact Across the Region

November 13, 2023

Study shows nearly $1 Billion from Multi-year Capital Improvement Plan

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) announced a plan to address major upgrades and deferred maintenance needs at recreational facilities and marinas in 2014. The plan, which was enabled by revenues from Utica shale leases, has bolstered the region’s economy by nearly $1 billion through the MWCD’s investment of $221.9 million. It has also supported 2,606 jobs, paying out nearly $300 million in wages and benefits since its inception nine years ago.

The economic benefits were calculated as part of a comprehensive analysis of the benefits of MWCD’s oil and gas revenue done by Cleveland State University and released publicly today.

“MWCD is excited to work with Cleveland State University to show the historic levels of investments made from taking the bold step to allow oil and gas development on our lands,” said Craig Butler, MWCD Executive Director. “Through careful planning, analysis, and through a comprehensive lease and program, MWCD is leading the way and showing how we can have nearly $1 billion of economic impact, all while offering the best camping, fishing and overall recreation opportunities in Ohio.  I am proud of decision by the Board of Directors and staff made in 2011 and very proud that we have been able to invest and support the region through these investments.”

As the Cleveland State analysis underscores, increases in oil and gas revenues associated with Utica Shale development have generated revenue for MWCD that has enabled it to bring economic benefits to the conservancy district’s 18-county service area, including job creation, increased state and local tax revenue, and growth in related industries such as transportation and infrastructure. This development has also enabled MWCD to greatly expand its services so that it now provides some of the best recreational opportunities anywhere in Ohio. It has, for example, upgraded cabins, campgrounds, docks, playgrounds, picnic shelters, shower houses, trails, and wastewater utilities infrastructure to a level of quality rarely found in public parks and campgrounds anywhere in the country.

The Cleveland State analysis includes MWCD’s investments through 2022 but does not include nearly $15M in project funding in 2023, and $30M budgeted for 2024. In addition, MWCD leased more than 7,300 acres in Harrison County in 2022. Spending resulting from this lease agreement is not reflected in this study either, although these revenues will catalyze further economic impact through capital improvements and ongoing operations for many years to come.  With the addition of these additional significant investments, the economic benefits of MWCD’s oil and gas revenue are even greater.

To review the Economic Impact Study, visit

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