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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

DNR Home > Divisions > Communications > Outdoor Indiana Magazine - Archives > Outdoor Indiana - March/April 2012 > Outdoor Indiana - March/April 2012 - Featured Stories Outdoor Indiana - March/April 2012 - Featured Stories

From the Director
Canine Cops
A wise investment
Hoosier Profile

From the Director

Unsung but vital
Robert E. Carter, Jr.

Director Robert E. Carter, Jr.Ask just about anyone what the Indiana Department of Natural Resources does and the most likely answer is we operate state parks.

Other common answers might be that we manage state fish & wildlife areas or state forests, and that our employees include conservation officers, biologists, foresters and park naturalists.

These properties and people function within the DNR land management team assigned to DNR deputy director John Davis.

But there’s a whole other set of DNR divisions that makes up the regulatory team supervised by DNR deputy director Ron McAhron. These divisions include Entomology & Plant Pathology, Historic Preservation & Archaeology, Oil & Gas, Reclamation, and Water.

Here’s what they do (division director’s name in parentheses):

Entomology & Plant Pathology (Phil Marshall): nursery inspection and certification, protection of the bee and honey industry, posting quarantines for pests and pathogens, inspection of agricultural commodities, and monitoring exotic and invasive species (think emerald ash borer and kudzu).

Historic Preservation & Archaeology (Jim Glass): statewide survey of historic buildings, environmental review of state and federal actions affecting historic and archaeological properties, programs to preserve prehistoric and historic archaeological sites, technical assistance to local preservation commissions and to owners involved in restoration of historic properties.

Oil & Gas (Herschel McDivitt): regulation of petroleum exploration and production operations, including well spacing, drilling, underground storage of natural gas or other petroleum products, enhanced oil recovery, and closing of abandoned well sites.

Reclamation (Bruce Stevens): oversight of active coal mining and restoration of land disturbed for coal extraction in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining. Overseeing the mining of clay, shale and oil shale is another duty.

Water (Mike Neyer): regulation of floodway construction, dam safety compliance, conservancy district activities, and water well construction.

They may not always be in the limelight like our state parks, but they are an essential part of what we do as stewards of Indiana’s natural, cultural and historical resources.

To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

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Canine Cops

DNR Law Enforcement is going to the dogs
By Phil Bloom

Indiana Conservation Officer Jeff Milner gives a treat to his partner, K-9 Fury. Milner says Indiana has built one of the top K-9 programs in the country.Indiana Conservation Officer Terri Arlandson was disappointed.

She and her partner had been called to help investigate a double homicide in LaPorte County. Their task was to locate the shotgun believed to have been used and the suspect’s cell phone.

“Vast,” Arlandson said, describing the search area. “There was no way to know where to look.”After an hour-and-a-half, Arlandson’s partner found the cell phone under a pile of logs, but no gun.

“I thought to myself, ‘Big deal,’ ” she said. “I wanted to find the gun.”

So, it surprised her when the LaPorte police chief offered praise for finding the cell phone.

“Do you know what was on that cell phone?” the chief said. “All his text messages.”

Threats contained in the messages helped build a case for murder. The suspect eventually pleaded guilty and is serving a 75-year prison sentence.

Arlandson credits her partner—Cinder, a black Labrador retriever. The two form one of seven handler-canine units in the DNR Division of Law Enforcement, a combination that’s helped solve cases for more than a decade.

“If it’s not over a thousand arrests, we’re pretty darn close,” said Indiana Conservation Officer Jeff Milner, who oversees the program. “It is amazing, but nothing amazes me anymore. Every time we think we reach the limit, we keep making the training scenarios harder.”

And the dogs keep responding.

“We have made some really good cases over the years catching violators of our fish and game laws,” said Col. Scotty Wilson, director of DNR Law Enforcement. “We’ve also found lost hunters, lost kids, and evidence needed to put closure to cases.”

Indiana Conservation Officer Jeff Milner gives a treat to his partner, K-9 Fury. Milner says Indiana has built one of the top K-9 programs in the country.

To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

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A wise investment

30 years of saving nongame wildlife
By Nick Werner
Photography by John Maxwell

A little brown bat shows visible signs of white-nose syndrome in Endless Cave in Washington County last January. Bats navigate and hunt by emitting a high-frequency sound inaudible to the human ear.

The process, known as echolocation, must be exhausting. By late fall, bats are ready to hibernate. Yet Indiana DNR biologists Scott Johnson and Tim Shire suspect the 1,600 endangered Indiana bats that winter at Endless Cave in Washington County haven’t been resting their vocal chords lately.

On a mid-November morning, Johnson and Shire used a tripod to aim a highly sensitive microphone over one of the cave’s sinkholes. They eavesdropped on the bats for the next four months.

“We’re just looking for stuff that shouldn’t be happening,” Johnson said.

Chances are the men will find it here.

Bats that are active during hibernation period are often infected with white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that killed 5.5 million of the flying mammals in the past four years in the Eastern United States. Biologists first confirmed WNS in Indiana at Endless Cave in early 2011.

Saving bats might seem like an unlikely crusade to many people. Superstition has assigned to them a sinister, though undeserved, reputation as harbingers of evil. Nonetheless, efforts such as this one to monitor bat health in Indiana depend almost entirely upon the generosity of Hoosiers who care about wildlife, even wildlife that some people find creepy.

Johnson and Shire are part of the Wildlife Diversity Unit (WDU), a team of biologists within the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife committed to keeping the state’s more than 750 nongame species healthy. “Nongame” means the animals are not pursued for hunting, trapping or fishing. Such species range from Indiana bats to clubshell mollusks to timber rattlesnakes and include all of Indiana’s state-endangered and special-concern species.

A little brown bat shows visible signs of white-nose syndrome in Endless Cave in Washington County last January.

To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

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Hoosier Profile

Lynn Burry
Put some ... leave some
By Nick Werner

Lynn Burry of Geneva in northeastern Indiana fishes for trout along the East Fork of the Whitewater River in Brookville.The timeline of Lynn Burry’s fishing career began 57 years ago when he caught a rainbow trout from a stone pit in Berne.
He was 6 years old, using his dad’s True Temper rod and reel.

The catch wasn’t his first. A forgotten farm-pond bluegill likely earned that distinction. But the trout, a rarity in warm-water Indiana, was the first fish to capture Burry’s imagination, hooking the young angler with its delicate colors and streamline elegance.

Nowadays, the True Temper rod and reel rests in Burry’s trophy rack. Feathered homemade flies have replaced the hooks and bobbers of his youth. And what was once an infatuation with trout has matured into a sophisticated appreciation for the art of fishing for trout, which he calls a “life-building experience.”

Burry was practicing the craft on a cold October morning on Lake Gage last year. He stood waist deep on a gravel flat, the water around him as clear as that from a tap. His burnt orange waders matched the shoreline trees as he cast his fly toward fading summer weed beds.

“I don’t even care if I catch a fish,” Burry said.

Lynn Burry of Geneva in northeastern Indiana fishes for trout along the East Fork of the Whitewater River in Brookville.

To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

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