THE CONSERVANCY ACT
Conservancy districts in Ohio can be created in accordance with a section of Ohio law - Section 6101 of the Ohio Revised Code, which also is known as "The Conservancy Act."
This code section authorizes how conservancy districts are formed, how they are governed and how they operate. The law has been amended on numerous occasions by the Ohio General Assembly since it was adopted in 1914.
The law was developed in response to the Great Flood of 1913 in Ohio, which is the state's greatest natural disaster. More than 500 people died in the flooding and in the aftermath, legislators in the state government developed and adopted The Conservancy Act.
Dayton attorney John McMahon and then Gov. James Cox drafted the language for the Conservancy Act legislation and lobbied for its passage.
As political subdivisions of the State of Ohio, conservancy districts can form at the initiative of local landowners or communities to solve water management issues, including flooding.
In addition to flood reduction and protection, other approved purposes of conservancy districts include conserving and developing water supplies, treating wastewater and providing recreational opportunities.
The day-to-day operations and business of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District primarily are handled by the full-time and part-time MWCD staff, under the leadership of seven executives appointed by the Board of Directors.
- Craig W. Butler, Executive Director/Secretary
- Boris E. Slogar, P.E., MPM, Chief Engineer
- James L. Crandall, Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer
- J. Ryan McCleaster, Chief of Recreation
- Bradley P. Janssen, Chief of Natural Resources and Land Management
- Mary C. Burley, Director of Human Resources
- Jonathan C. Mizer, Chief Counsel
- Adria L. Bergeron, Director of Marketing and Communications
Craig W. Butler was appointed as the Executive Director/Secretary of the MWCD on May 1, 2020. In 2014, Governor John Kasich appointed Butler as Director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a position he held until 2019. He recently served as the executive director of the Power Siting Board for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. Prior to serving as Director of the EPA, he served as the Assistant Policy Director for Energy, Agriculture and the Environment in Governor Kasich’s administration. Prior to his service in the Kasich Administration, Butler served in various positions in the Ohio EPA and is regarded as an innovator and national leader in balancing environmental protection, conservation, public health and economic development issues. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Environmental Studies from Mansfield University in Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in Environmental Studies from Ohio University.
|Boris E. Slogar was appointed Chief Engineer of the MWCD in 2007. Slogar performs the work of the chief engineer as prescribed in Chapter 6101 of the Ohio Revised Code, including general supervision of operations as superintendent of all the works and improvements of the MWCD and its subdistricts. A veteran of public service, Slogar has served as Executive Director of the Ohio Partnership for Excellence, Deputy Tax Commissioner and Chief of Staff for the Ohio Department of Taxation, and as a Manager of Dam Safety and Repair programs for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. He has a bachelor science degree from The Ohio State University, a masters degree in project management from Keller Graduate School at DeVry University, and is a professionally licensed engineer in the State of Ohio.|
|James L. Crandall was appointed by the MWCD Board of Directors in July of 2021, Crandall had previously served as Senior Staff Accountant for MWCD since 2012. A graduate of Kent State University, Crandall majored in business management and accounting. He manages and directs the finances of the MWCD, including planning and preparation of the annual budget, conducting audit functions and related items. Prior to joining MWCD, Crandall worked with a regional accounting firm.|
|J. Ryan McCleaster was named Chief of Recreation for the MWCD in October 2020 and brings more than 20 years of experience in the Parks and Recreation/Sports Management fields. He most recently worked for the Township of Upper St. Clair (Pittsburgh, PA) as Assistant Director of Recreation – Facilities and Operations. McCleaster has a master’s degree in Instructional Leadership with an emphasis in Sports Management. McCleaster oversees the the recreation offerings of the MWCD, which include camping, lake parks, land leases, and other programs.|
Bradley P. Janssen was named Chief of Natural Resources and Land Management for the MWCD in December 2020. Janssen began with the MWCD in 2015 as the Oil and Gas Operations Coordinator. He has extensive experience in the oil and gas field that spans over 16 years. Most recently, he worked for Ascent Resources and American Energy Partners as a Senior Landman/Land Coordinator of Field Land Operations. Janssen worked for Chesapeake Energy as a Land Manager, Prospect Coordinator, and Senior Land Man. Janssen has also worked for EnerVest Operating, Snyder Brothers, and Advanced Land and Water. Janssen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology from Denison University and a Certificate of GIS from Pennsylvania State University.
|Mary C. Burley was named director of Human Resources in January 2015. Burley is responsible for overseeing hiring, employee benefits, policies and safety for the MWCD staff. She began her career with the MWCD in 1997 as Human Resources Coordinator. Burley is a graduate of Florida Southern College with a B.S. degree in personnel administration and marketing. Her career also includes time spent working in human resources management and training at a national bank branch in Dover, Ohio, and the Roscoe Village Foundation in Coshocton, Ohio.|
|Jonathan C. Mizer was named Chief Counsel in November 2020, after having served as associate counsel since May 2018. Previously he was a partner with the firm Kyler, Pringle, Lundholm, and Durmann L.P.A in New Philadelphia. His areas of expertise include political subdivision law, real estate, contracts, and litigation. Mizer holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Prelaw from Cedarville University and earned his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Akron School of Law. He was a member of the 2009 class of Leadership Tuscarawas and enjoys volunteering for free legal clinics sponsored by SEOLS and the Tuscarawas County Bar Association.|
|Adria L. Bergeron was named Director or Marketing and Communications in November 2020. She began with the MWCD in 2014 as the Recreation Marketing Coordinator. Her experience also includes Director of Marketing for New Towne Mall in New Philadelphia, and Director of Marketing for the San Diego Air and Space Museum in San Diego, CA. In this position, Bergeron is responsible for directing and managing a comprehensive marketing and communications strategy that includes promoting and maintaining the MWCD branding, advertising and public relations initiatives that utilize various media and strategies such as corporate and other sponsorships to encourage use of MWCD recreational facilities. Bergeron is a graduate from the University of Akron, with a business degree in marketing management.|
Matt A. Thomas was named Chief of Conservation in September of 2021 after serving as the Water Quality Coordinator for MWCD since January 2019. Thomas holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Zoology with an aquatic focus from the Ohio State University. In this position, Thomas manages and directs the conservation, sustainability, and water quality programs within the MWCD. He brings with him over 20 years of experience working on a diverse array of environmental issues within the Great Lakes and throughout Ohio. His career includes serving as the Laboratory Manager for the biological field station, F. T. Stone Laboratory, in Lake Erie and most recently as the Farm Production Manager for the Route 9 Cooperative in Carroll County.
The Ohio Revised Code provides that the Conservancy Court, comprised of one common pleas court judge from each of the counties in the Conservancy District, shall exercise the jurisdiction conferred by Chapter 6101 of the Ohio Revised Code (also known as the Conservancy Act). The Conservancy Court appoints the members of the Board of Directors and the Board of Appraisers (upon the recommendation of the Board of Directors).
|Honorable Ronald P. Forsthoefel||Ashland County|
|Honorable John A. Vavra||Belmont County|
|Honorable Michael V. Repella, II||Carroll County|
|Honorable Robert J. Batchelor||Coshocton County|
|Honorable Daniel G. Padden||Guernsey County|
|Honorable T. Shawn Hervey||Harrison County|
|Honorable Sean M. Warner||Holmes County|
|Honorable Richard D. Wetzel||Knox County|
|Honorable Thomas M. Marcelain||Licking County|
|Honorable John A. Wells||Morgan County|
|Honorable Mark Fleegle||Muskingum County|
|Honorable Kelly A. Riddle||Noble County|
|Honorable W. Steve McKinley||Richland County|
|Honorable Jim D. James||Stark County|
|Honorable Amy Corrigall-Jones||Summit County|
|Honorable Michael J. Ernest||Tuscarawas County|
|Honorable Mark Kerenyi||Washington County|
|Honorable Latecia E. Wiles||Wayne County|
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The five-member Board of Directors is appointed by the Conservancy Court. The Board is empowered to handle all items necessary or incident to the fulfillment of the purposes for which the Conservancy District was established and for executing the powers with which it is invested, including all the powers of a corporation. Meetings of the Board are open public sessions, and are routinely held on the third Friday of each month at 9:00 am.
|CURRENT BOARD OF DIRECTORS||TERM EXPIRES|
James M. Gresh, President (Canton, Stark County)
July 18, 2022
Gordon T. Maupin (Orrville, Wayne County)
July 18, 2024
|Joanne Limbach (New Philadelphia, Tuscarawas County)||June 3, 2023|
Robert S. Moorehead, Jr., (Senecaville, Guernsey County)
|August 26, 2021|
Clark E. Sprang (Big Prairie, Holmes County)
|June 6, 2025|
|James M. Gresh was appointed to the Board of Directors on June 1, 2018. Owner of Boone Road Enterprises LLC, James Gresh, is engaged in timber investment, forestry management research, and creative wood products. Previously, Gresh has served as the Executive Director of the Timken Foundation of Canton following his retirement from The Timken Company, where he worked for 33 years. During his time at The Timken Company, Gresh served in several capacities including Financial Controller of Timken’s global bearing business, President of Timken China, and Vice President of Strategy of Marketing at Timken Steel. He brings numerous years of experience regarding operations, business, strategy, marketing, and international business. In addition to his extensive work experience, Gresh has also served on numerous nonprofit board positions including: Timken Foundation (Secretary), Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, Western Academy of Beijing, CommQuest Recovery Services (Chairman - 2 years), and the Stark County Board of MRDD (Chairman – 2 years). Currently, Gresh serves on the board of Stark Education Partnership, where he is the Chairman. Gresh earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration.|
|Joanne Limbach was appointed to the Board of Directors in 2013 for a second stint on the Board. She previously served on the Board of Directors from 1996-2006. A former teacher, Ms. Limbach served as the tax commissioner for the State of Ohio in the administration of Gov. Richard F. Celeste, and was a former elected member of the Tuscarawas County commissioners and New Philadelphia Board of Education. She later founded a public tax consulting firm. She is a graduate of Muskingum University and Bowling Green State University.|
|Gordon T. Maupin was appointed to the Board of Directors in 2014. Retired after 32 years of leading The Wilderness Center, located near Wilmot in Stark County, he is also a former member from 1996-2002 of the MWCD's DAC. Maupin is a graduate of Missouri State University with a bachelor's and master's degrees in biology. He previously served as the naturalist program coordinator for the Missouri Department of Conservation, was an information specialist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, a graduate assistant in forestry for the University of Missouri-Columbia, and an interpretative aide for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Maupin has served on the Association of Nature Center Administrators Board of Trustees, including as its president from 2001-03, and as part of the Land Trust Alliance, American Association of Museums, Coalition of Ohio Land Trusts, The Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation and national and local chapters of the Audubon Society.|
|Robert S. Moorehead, Jr., was appointed to the Board of Directors in 2016. Moorehead was elected to serve as a Probate and Juvenile Court Judge in Guernsey County, Ohio, in 2002 and 2008, and retired from that position in 2013. Born and raised in Guernsey County, Ohio, he is a 1961 graduate of Cambridge High School, graduated from Ohio University in 1965 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Moorehead flew F-4 fighter aircraft in the Vietnam conflict from May of 1968 to May of 1969 with 220 combat missions and 85 of those being in North Vietnam. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the United States Air Force Reserve as a Judge Advocate General on July 4, 1993. His military decorations include the Air Force Commendation Medal with an Oak Leaf cluster; the Bronze Star Medal; the Air Medal with 15 Oak Leaf Clusters; the Meritorious Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He is a member of the American Legion and a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Moorehead attended law school at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio and was licensed to practice law in 1974. He practiced private law in the City of Cambridge, is a former Guernsey County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney; and has served as the General Counsel of Cambridge Savings Bank and Camco Financial Corporation where he also served as the President of Camco Title Agency. Moorehead and his wife of 44 years, Marilyn, have three children and four grandchildren. As a longtime resident of Seneca Lake, he has been active with the MWCD serving as an advisor during the MWCD cottage site lease updates and most recently, as a member of the MWCD Development Advisory Committee.|
|Clark E. Sprang was appointed to the Board of Directors in 2015. He is retired after 38 years of service with the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron. Much of his time with Goodyear was centered around international operations. The Sprang family lived abroad in Asia, Africa and Europe for 20 years. Upon return to Akron, Mr. Sprang was elected an officer of the Goodyear Company with responsibility for leading Goodyear’s Corporate Development efforts, including the role of lead transaction negotiator. He has served as a member of school boards in both Paris, France, and Casablanca, Morocco. He and his wife now enjoy working on their farm in Holmes County where they are involved in raising Angus beef cattle, corn and soybeans, and most importantly, creating memories for their grandchildren from their many activities on the farm. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a degree in Finance.|
BOARD OF APPRAISERS
The MWCD Board of Appraisers is a three-member panel that approves the methodology for determining assessments of the MWCD based on the benefits to property owners. The Board also makes recommendations to the Board of Directors on property sales and acquisitions based on presentations by MWCD staff.
Board members are appointed by the Conservancy Court and serve staggered terms.
|CURRENT BOARD OF APPRAISERS||TERM EXPIRES|
Mark J. Waltz, Chairman
(Dover, Tuscarawas County)
|July 14, 2023|
(Akron, Summit County)
|June 7, 2024|
John F. Ginikos
(Zanesville, Muskingum County)
|September 1, 2025|