(information last updated January 2019)

Ongoing Projects:

State Project(s):

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (“ODNR”) runs a volunteer water quality monitoring program: Stream Quality Monitoring (“SQM”).  See Stream Quality, Ohio Dep’t of Nat. Resources, http://watercraft.ohiodnr.gov/sqm (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).  Through SQM, volunteers monitor macroinvertebrate populations, using them as indicator species for water quality. See id.  


ODNR’s Division of Wildlife supports multiple wildlife observation citizen science projects, including the Ohio Frog and Toad Calling Survey, Breeding Bird Atlas II, Bowhunter Survey, Spider Survey, and the Ohio Dragonfly Survey. See Citizen Science, Ohio Dep’t of Nat. Resources, http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/education-and-outdoor-discovery/citizen-science (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).


The Ohio Biological Survey runs an online BioBlitz campaign through the iNaturalist platform that allows citizens to submit wildlife, plant, and fungi sightings with photographs. See Ohio BioBlitz, iNaturalist, https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/ohio-bioblitz (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).

Collection of Information:

Ag-Gag Law:

“(B) No person shall commit a specified offense [which includes trespass] involving any agricultural product or equipment with the intent to do any of the following:

(1) Intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(2) Influence the policy of any government by intimidation or coercion;

(3) Affect the conduct of any government;

(4) Interrupt or interfere with agricultural production, agricultural research, or equipment for purposes of disrupting or influencing, through intimidation or other means, consumer confidence or agricultural production methods.” Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 901.511.


Private parties can recover treble damages in civil suits.  Id. § 901.511(D)(1).


There are also criminal penalties; for a first offense, the violation is classified as “a misdemeanor or a felony that is one degree higher than the penalty for the most serious underlying specified offense,” except that when the underlying offense is a first-degree felony, it is also a first-degree felony.  Id. § 901.99(E). On subsequent offenses, the violation is two degrees higher than the most serious underlying offense. See id.

Collecting Permits:

A Collecting Permit is required for the collection of plants or animals for research purposes within state parks. See Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 1533.08; Ohio Admin. Code 1501:46-3-27(A); see also Permits, Ohio State Park Rules & Permits, ODNR Division of State Parks & Watercraft, http://parks.ohiodnr.gov/rules (last visited Feb. 7, 2019). 

Trespass Laws:

Criminal Liability for Trespass Despite Lack of Notice:

No.  Entry upon property does not constitute criminal trespass unless the individual “knowingly enter[s] or remain[s] on the land of another” or  “notice against unauthorized access or presence is given by actual communication to the offender, or in a manner prescribed by law, or by posting in a manner reasonably calculated to come to the attention of potential intruders, or by fencing or other enclosure manifestly designed to restrict access.” Ohio Rev. Code Ann.  § 2911.21(A)(1) & (3).  

Other Provisions:

See supra “Ag-Gag Law.”

Drone Laws:

State Parks:

It is “permissible to utilize any… flying machine or aerial apparatus, to take off, ascend, land, alight, or otherwise come to rest upon lands administered by [ODNR’s Division of Parks & Watercraft] where designated airfields or maintained landing zones are located.” Ohio Admin. Code 1501:46-13-11(A).

Stalking Laws:

Criminal Law:

“No person by engaging in a pattern of conduct shall knowingly cause another person to believe that the offender will cause physical harm to the other person or a family or household member of the other person or cause mental distress to the other person or a family or household member of the other person.  In addition to any other basis for the other person’s belief that the offender will cause physical harm to the other person or the other person’s family or household member or mental distress to the other person or the other person’s family or household member, the other person’s belief or mental distress may be based on words or conduct of the offender that are directed at or identify a corporation, association, or other organization that employs the other person or to which the other person belongs.”  Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2903.211(A)(1).

Use of Information:

Our research has not found any provisions relating to the use of information collected by citizens in enforcement or administrative/legislative actions.

Evidentiary Standards:

Pleading a Claim:

Requires certification that “there is good ground to support” the claim.  Ohio Civ. R. 11.

Authentication or Chain of Custody:

“The requirement of authentication or identification as a condition precedent to admissibility is satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims.”  Ohio Evid. R. 901(A).

Expert Testimony:

Ohio Rule of Evidence 702 and Daubert standard.  See Terry v. Caputo, 875 N.E.2d 72, 77-78 (Ohio 2007). 


Please note that this discussion is not moderated by the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.