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NRC approves new nature preserve
Start Date: 9/19/2017 All Day
Event Description:

The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) approved Pond ‘Lil Nature Preserve in LaGrange County as a new nature preserve during its regularly scheduled meeting today at Fort Harrison State Park.

The move increases to 281 the number of state-designated sites protected by the Nature Preserves Act, which is 50 years old this year. 

Pond ‘Lil Nature Preserve comprises 94.67 acres in the Northern Lakes Natural Region, within Dallas Lake County Park. Pond ‘Lil illustrates the early stages of bog development. The shoreline is ringed by a floating mat of sphagnum moss and plant roots. Many typical bog plants grow on the floating mat, including tamarack trees, orchids, and insectivorous pitcher plants and sundews. Over time, perhaps hundreds of years, the floating mat will likely expand toward the center of the pond. But for now, Pond ‘Lil will remain more pond than bog. 

The nature preserve includes swamp and upland woods, and a prairie restoration that protect the watershed of the pond. Fauna of interest includes nest sites for sandhill crane and star-nose mole (state special concern) as well as Eastern massasauga (state endangered) rattlesnake.

An ADA-accessible trail circles the pond and a trail runs along the northern portion of the preserve.

It is owned by LaGrange County Board of Parks and Recreation and the County Commissioners, and is under the administration of the LaGrange County Department of Parks and Recreation.   

In other action, the NRC gave final adoption to a number of fisheries-related rule changes. The rule changes must still be approved by the Attorney General’s Office and Governor’s Office before taking effect. In addition to a number of changes regarding commercial fishing, the package includes these changes to sport fishing rules: 

* Increasing the daily bag limit for lake trout taken from Lake Michigan. 
* Increasing the size limit for Northern pike. 
* Changing the size limit for largemouth bass taken from lakes on Shakamak State Park and Hoosier National Forest. 
* Prohibiting the use of cast nets, seines or other devices from collecting minnows at a location extending from a dam downstream 500 yards on inland waters. 
* Adding a tagging requirement for fishing equipment or devices left unattended for both sport and commercial fishing.

The NRC also preliminarily adopted a number of amendments to 312 IAC 9, which governs wildlife-related rules. This action simply starts the rule-change process; therefore, none of these amendments will be in effect this year. The NRC will begin accepting public comments and conduct at least one public hearing on these proposed amendments later this year. 

Proposed amendments include: 

* Allowing the hides and carcasses of legally harvested furbearers taken during the season to be kept year-round by hunters and trappers without a special authorization or permit. 
* Authorizing a bobcat hunting and trapping season in a restricted number of counties in southern Indiana with a bag limit of one per person and a statewide quota. 
* Adding several bats and the rufa red knot (a federally endangered bird) to the state’s endangered species list. 
* Removing the osprey and several mussels from the state’s endangered species list. 
* Adding three counties to the fall wild turkey firearms hunting season (Elkhart, Kosciusko and Noble). 
* Requiring the euthanasia of raccoons, opossums and coyotes taken under the nuisance wild animal control permit.

View the complete rule proposal package at:  http://www.in.gov/nrc/files/item_4_nrc_sept_2017.pdf

The NRC also gave final adoption to a recodification of administrative rules governing oil well and gas well activities by adding 312 IAC 29 and repealing 312 IAC 16. Before this package received preliminary adoption in May 2016, the rules had not been comprehensively reviewed for 25 years. The new rules aim to provide oil and gas production professionals with a clear and certain understanding of their responsibilities. Many of the requirements in the recodification have already been practiced for years in Indiana. 

The NRC is an autonomous board that addresses topics pertaining to the Indiana DNR. More details on these actions are available at nrc.IN.gov/2354.htm under “September Agenda.” 

NRC members include the DNR director, heads of three other state agencies (Environmental Management, Tourism Development, and Transportation), six citizens appointed by the governor on a bipartisan basis, the chair of the NRC’s advisory council, and the president of the Indiana Academy of Science. The Academy of Science president and the agency heads, other than the DNR director, may appoint proxies to serve the commission in their absences. 

To view all DNR news releases, please see dnr.IN.gov

Contact Information:
Name: Marty Benson
Phone: (317) 233-3853
Email: mbenson@dnr.in.gov
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