Success in Indiana
The state of Indiana is set to become a national leader in wetlands and wildlife protection, as two landmark conservation projects were recently announced. According to the Chicago Tribune, Indiana in partnership with the federal government and private conservation groups will buy and preserve more than 25,600 acres along the Muscatatuck River which will ensure the protection of one of the state’s largest and most intact bottomland forest.
Along with the Muscatatuck Bottoms plan, the state announced the Wabash project, the largest conservation initiative ever undertaken by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The Nature Conservancy explains that the state will acquire 43,000 acres in the floodplain of the Wabash River and Sugar Creek from willing sellers, which will benefit wildlife, public recreation and the environment. The area involved spans 94 miles along the river, and according to Governor Mitch Daniels it will be one of the largest continuous wildlife and waterfowl habitats in the eastern United States.
The Tribstar reports that the state will use $21.5 million from the Lifetime License Trust Fund, a state trust fund dedicated to conservation purposes, and $10 million from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, to begin the necessary land acquisitions. Additional funding will come from Ducks Unlimited, the Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Dept of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The Wabash is biologically diverse and increased protection means that migratory birds such as ducks and geese will be able to find vital resting areas in Indiana while on their way to Mexico for the winter. Although the ultimate goal of the initiative is to protect habitats and threatened species, the project will also bring significant flood control advantages to the area, according to Governor Daniels in the Tribstar. Sounds like a win/win situation for all species!