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There have been eight dedications, to date, in 2015, with seven new preserves and one addition to an existing preserve for a total of 1,773.604 acres.
Sally Reahard Woods at Mosquito Creek Nature Preserve
A 657.91 acre property in the southern portion of Harrison County, approximately 2.25 miles east of Laconia. This nature preserve protects an example of a high-quality limestone glade complex community and is located within the Mitchel Karst Plain Section of the Highland Rim Natural Region. The topography is characterized by rugged sandstone capped hills, limestone bedrock forming cliffs along Mosquito Creek and primarily upland deciduous forest communities. The West Branch of Mosquito Creek, a tributary of the Blue River, passes through the property. The ridges are mainly oak-hickory while beech-maple dominates the ravines. The preserve is owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy.
Weiler-Leopold Nature Preserve
A 178.967 acre property along the eastern border of Warren County, approximately 20 miles southwest of West Lafayette. Located immediately next to Black Rock Barrens Nature Preserve and within the Entrenched Valley Section of the Central Till Plains Natural Region, the preserve consists of extensive frontage along both the Wabash River and the Little Pine Creek. It protects examples of open oak woodlands and floodplain forest natural communities, as well as extensive forest plantings and a tallgrass prairie planting.
Black Rock Nature Preserve
A 32.024 acre property along the eastern border of Warren County, approximately 4.5 miles east of the town of Independence. Located within the Entrenched Valley Section of the Central Till Plain Natural Region, it protects examples of high-quality natural communities that include open oak woodlands, sandstone barrens, sandstone bedrock exposures and sandstone cliff communities.
The topography is characterized by the Black Rock geologic feature, a sandstone promontory that soars to 110 feet above the Wabash River. This highly unusual landform anomaly with steep-sided shale ravines, sandstone cliffs, and seep springs provides varied and uncommon habitats. The rocky slopes and shallow acid soils are habitat for a stunted black oak barrens community supporting a state-threatened plant, Selaginella rupestris – Ledge Spikemoss and a state- rare plant, Napaea dioica – Glade mallow. This barrens community type composed of Mississippian (Borden Formation) sandstone/siltstone/shale is the best and largest example, and occurs in only two areas of the state: The Knobstone Escarpment in south-central Indiana and in northwestern Indiana along and near the Wabash River.
This nature preserve has a long cultural history in the area. In 1811, Tecumseh’s warriors were stationed here to await General Harrison’s troops before the Battle of Tippecanoe. In 1838, the Potowatomi Trail of Death camped near this location. During the canal era, settlers fished and provided lumber for shipping along the Wabash and Erie Canal on the opposite side of the river. The 20th century attracted merrymakers for picnics, boating and dancing. The preserve is owned and managed by the NICHES Land Trust, Inc. Funding from Indiana Heritage Trust assisted with its acquisition.
Spring Lake Woods & Bog Nature Preserve
A 98.328 acre property in the northwest part of Allen County, approximately 5.5 miles from Fort Wayne. It protects mesic upland woodlands, a bog, and portions of lakeshore along Lake Everett, and is located in Indiana’s Northern Lakes Natural Region.
This nature preserve is one of the sites listed in Alton Lindsey’s “Natural Areas of Indiana and Their Preservation.” It consists of more than 1,000 feet of Lake Everett shoreline, the county’s only natural lake, mesic woodlands with peaty soils across rolling topography and a 2 acre bog. The sphagnum bog provides habitat for orchids, pitcher plants and four-toed salamanders, a state-endangered species. This northern muckland woodland is also home to a healthy population of cinnamon ferns that reach 5 feet in height. This tract is owned and managed by the ACRES Land Trust. Funding assistance for this project was from multiple sources including Indiana Heritage Trust, Bicentennial Nature Trust, and the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne.
Old Hamilton Road Nature Preserve
A 27.111 acre property in the southeast portion of Wayne County and approximately 2.5 miles southwest of Richmond. Located within the Tipton Till Plain Section of the Central Till Plain Natural Region, it protects an example of a high-quality graminoid fen community.
The topography is characterized by a small stream valley deeply incised into rolling Wisconsin glacial deposits. Springs and seeps are frequent within the valley, with a significant fen wetland being the most prominent groundwater feature. Noteworthy animals in this nature preserve include the state-endangered Cordulegaster bilineata – Brown Spiketail dragonfly, the state-rare Tachopteryx thoreyi – Gray Petaltail dragonfly, and the Euphydryas phaeton – Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly. Other animals of special concern include Terrepene carolina, the Eastern box turtle.
There is a long cultural history in the area; the name comes from the 1820s destination of the Hamilton, Ohio market. The road passed through a corner of the uplands and now is a barely discernable sunken track. The preserve is owned and managed by the Whitewater Valley Land Trust, Inc. Funding from Bicentennial Nature Trust assisted with its acquisition.
Old Northwest Boundary Line Nature Preserve
The proposed nature preserve is a 91.767 acre property in the southeast portion of Wayne County and approximately 2.5 miles southwest of Richmond. This property protects an example of a high-quality mixed mesophytic forest. It is species-rich but dominated by large beech. It is located within the Tipton Till Plain Section of the Central Till Plain Natural Region.
This proposed nature preserve consists of topography that is characterized by uplands and dissected by ravines that drain into a tributary stream of Lick Creek. A large part of the uplands contain a diverse and maturing reforestation planting. This proposed preserve will contribute to the protection of the watershed.
Noteworthy plants in this nature preserve include the American ginseng – Panax quinquefolius.
This tract is owned and managed by Whitewater Valley Land Trust, Inc. Funding from Indiana Heritage Trust assisted with its acquisition.
Bloomfield Barrens Addition Nature Preserve
A 619.43 acre property located in the west-central portion of Spencer County, along the Warrick County border, approximately 2.5 miles south of the town of Tennyson. This nature preserve protects high-quality examples of the floodplain forest along the Little Pigeon Creek in Indiana’s Southern Bottomlands Natural Region and the Driftless Section of the Southwestern Lowlands Natural Region. It is an addition to the original 120-acre Bloomfield Barrens Nature Preserve, which was dedicated in 1989.
This nature preserve contains floodplain forests, post oak flatwood forests, with clay barrens in the canopy openings, riparian communities along a tributary to Little Pigeon Creek, and frontage along the Little Pigeon Creek. Post oak flatwoods are restricted to southwest Indiana, and relatively undisturbed examples such as those found here are extremely rare. Within the flatwoods are small natural treeless areas known as barrens. Barrens are dry soil communities with plants adapted to drought conditions.
A number of endangered and threatened plant species are found here, including the annual fimbry, spiderlily, Deam’s phlox, Bush’s sedge, social sedge, green hawthorn, pursh buttercup, blackfoot quillwort, slick-seed wild bean, and buffalo clover. This large forested block provides habitat for such species of concern as the Northern cricket frog and bobcat.
Bloomfield Barrens is bordered by Little Pigeon Creek and is located across from the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Little Pigeon Wetland Conservation Area. This nature preserve is owned and managed by the DNR Division of Nature Preserves.