There were 13 dedications in 2012 with nine new preserves and four additions to existing preserves for a total of 3,166.435 acres. Among those new preserves, protection has included 13 high quality natural communities, 13 plants that are endangered, threatened, rare, or on the watch list, 15 birds and 16 invertebrates that are state endangered or of special concern, two mammals of the same ranking, and ten herptiles also state endangered or of special concern.
List of 2012 Partners
- ACRES Land Trust
- Friends of the Limberlost
- IDNR State Parks & Reservoirs
- Red-tail Land Conservancy
- Sycamore Land Trust
- Vigo County Parks Dept
Nine New Preserves in 2012 - 1,927.103 acres
Back Creek (Laura Hare) Nature Preserve
This nature preserve is a 42.7-acre property that is in the eastern portion of Lawrence County, approximately eight miles east of the town of Bedford. It protects an example of mesic/dry mesic upland forest in the Norman Upland within the Brown County Hills Section of the Highland Rim Natural Region. This Nature Preserve consists of topography that has a discrete and disjunct stand of eastern hemlock – Tsuga canadensis – occurring on the steep sheltered west-facing slope. The eastern hemlock is one of Indiana’s rarest and most interesting tree species. A previous study conducted by Carroll Ritter estimated over 3800 hemlocks at this site in a stable population, with extensive reproduction evident. Approximately 14 acres of the site are dominated by the hemlock stands, while the remaining 28.7 acres is mainly upland forest. Approximately one acre lies beneath the bluff on the creek, and contains a variety of bottomland hardwood species. This nature preserve is owned and managed by the Sycamore Land Trust.
Elliott Woods Nature Preserve
This nature preserve is a 69.3-acre property in southwestern Vigo County, seven miles south of Terre Haute, and contains high quality
mesic and dry-mesic upland forests and a small prairie restoration. Present is a great display of spring wildflowers. The tract was acquired by the Vigo County Parks Department in a bargain sale from the Elliott family who had owned it since James Polk was President of the US. The original deed was made out on sheepskin. Preservation and protection of the tract was of primary concern to the family. This tract is owned and managed by the Vigo County Park Board.
Glacial Esker Nature Preserve
This nature preserve is a 731.56-acre area within Chain O’ Lakes State Park in Noble County. There are two units within the nature preserve, the Glacial Esker Unit in the eastern portion of the park, and the Big Woods Unit in the western portion
of the park. This nature preserve primarily protects glacial features and the associated communities, including an esker, which is a long winding ridge of stratified sand and gravel of peculiarly uniform shape that was deposited under a glacier. There was a tunnel conducting the meltwater out of the glacier and as the meltwater flow waned it deposited the esker. It is considered the best example of this geological feature in the state.
The nature preserve consists of topography that is glacial containing flat-bottom lowlands occupied by channels that were cut by glacial meltwater interconnecting a series of kettle lakes by shallow wetlands, creeks, and floodplain forests with scattered ‘erratics’. Those are rocks that were carried by the glacier from its parent source and dropped ‘erratically’. The esker itself provides an area for upland forests, a ridge top and ravines. The nature preserve also contains several lakes, runs along several lakeshores, and the associated emergent and submersed wetland communities. All the described community types along with their expected component flora and fauna contain many species that are area-sensitive wetland and forest interior plants and animals dependent upon large, unfragmented wetland and forest ecosystems.
Loblolly Marsh Nature Preserve - 250th Preserve!
This nature preserve is a 440.1-acre located near Bryant in Jay County. This preserve protects former floodplains that connect to the Wabash River, an associated wetland complex, prairie communities, mature woodland and restored forest land. This area originally
was floodplain forest and marshland, and was drained by a steam powered dredge during the period 1888 to 1910. During these years of drainage, Gene Stratton-Porter wrote most of her most successful novels about the Limberlost area. The Loblolly Marsh was the heart of the Limberlost. Once the wetlands were converted to farmland, the area was cropped from 1910 until restoration began in 1992. During this period of agriculture, crop losses from periodic flooding plagued the landowners almost yearly. But the biggest losses were the many species of plants and animals documented in Porter’s books.
Starting in 1992, the Friends of the Limberlost, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) have worked with landowners who enrolled their lands into the Wetland Reserve Program, restoring their farmland into wetlands. The Loblolly Marsh is one of the largest and most successful wetland restorations in Indiana, as the partners work together to bring back the wetlands so eloquently described in Gene Stratton Porter’s writings.
This nature preserve consists of topography that is a wetland complex containing emergent bur reed and cattail marshes, which serve as excellent waterfowl reproduction areas. During drier times of the year, the marsh may have large mudflats exposed and shorebirds visit the area. Fall months are primed for the many migrating birds that feed on the abundant growth of annual plants. Winter months are a flurry of activity with all of the northern migrants and an occasional snowy owl. In the spring, small potholes serve as mating areas for several species of amphibians. Sedge meadows and wet meadows are deafening with the calls of several frog species including northern leopard frogs. The woodland has a wide array of plants and the colors begin early. Waterfowl find nesting sites in the prior year’s growth of tall grass prairie. In late summer and early fall, the prairies explode with native plants that show off their flowers throughout the area.
Mouth of Blue River Nature Preserve
This is a 469.97-acre area within the southwest portion of O’Bannon State Park, approximately two miles southeast of the town of Leavenworth. This nature preserve is located in the Escarpment Section of the Shawnee Hills Natural Region and consists of topography that has several knobs, deep ravines, and steep bluffs along the Blue River and the Ohio River. Several high quality natural communities are found in the preserve including a glade, a white oak dominated mesic upland forest, and limestone outcroppings along the steep slopes above the rivers.
Ouabache Flatwoods Nature Preserve
This is a 38.16-acre area within the Ouabache State Park, approximately 2.5 miles southeast of the town of Bluffton. This nature preserve is located in the Bluffton Till Plain Section of the Central Till Plain Natural Region and primarily consists of an oak flatwoods natural community, on relatively level terrain with poorly drained soils. The woods is dominated by large specimens of swamp white oak, burr oak, and pin oak, with a diversity of tree species including black walnut, American beech, Ohio buckeye, black cherry, and several species of hickory. The forest is considered old second growth, and is the highest quality forest remaining in Wells County.
Sauga Swamp Nature Preserve
This nature preserve is a 67.89-acre property that is in the northern portion of Noble County, approximately two miles east of the town of Wolcottville and protects an example of high quality wetlands and 1/3 of a natural lake in Indiana’s Northern Lakes Natural Region. This nature preserve consists of primarily floodplain topography with surrounding upland, the floodplain contains two communities that are globally and state ranked ecosystems: a freshwater marl substrate lake, which has not been dredged or altered in any way, and a high-quality fen that is surrounded by oak uplands. This preserve is also two miles north of Swamp Angel Nature Preserve, an expansive, diverse fen/bog/lake complex, and will be an important contribution to regional conservation of these high-quality wetlands. These community types, along with their expected component flora and fauna contain many species that are hydro-sensitive plants and animals, will play an important role in maintaining regional populations of these species. This tract is owned and managed by ACRES Land Trust.
Shakamak Prairie Nature Preserve
This nature preserve is a 27.3-acre property that is in the western portion of Shakamak State Park, approximately five miles west of the town of Jasonville, and protects an example of prairie grassland in the Glaciated Section of the Southwestern Lowlands Natural Region. The nature preserve hosts a mesic prairie, the only protected example of a prairie natural community type in this entire natural region. Although it is believed that in presettlement times the Southwestern Lowlands Natural Region contained the greatest amount of prairie south of the Wisconsinan glacial border, most of the prairie has long been lost and today is restricted primarily to isolated prairie patches, such as might be found in a few pioneer cemeteries and along select railroad lines.
Smith-Crisler Nature Preserve
This nature preserve is a 40.0-acre property that is in the western portion of Henry County, approximately one mile north of the town of Mechanicsburg and one mile east of the Madison County line. It protects an example of mesic/dry mesic upland forest within the Tipton Till Plain Section of the Central Till Plain Natural Region and occurs on an interesting landform as it is the eastern bluff of Fall Creek and is incised by two tributaries to this stream. It is these elevational changes that lend the site such aesthetic and botanic variety and interest. The mixed-mesophytic forests are impressive and diverse; the site is noted for abundant spring wildflowers. The Crisler family generously contributed a charitable donation through a bargain sale. This tract is owned and managed by the Red-tail Land Conservancy.
Four Additions to Existing Preserves - 1,239.332 acres
Big Walnut Addition Nature Preserve
This addition is a 777.097-acre property comprised of several tracts, located in southwestern Putnam County, one mile east of Bainbridge and is an addition to the original 281.38 acre preserve. It is part of a large block of high quality forested habitats along the Big Walnut Creek watershed, a designated National Natural Landmark. The stream provides documented water quality improvement as it passes through the preserve. This large block of forest in the Central Indiana agricultural area is helping to preserve rural values and quality of life in the area. The addition is part of a much larger conservation effort in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the Central Indiana Land Trust.
Brock-Sampson Addition Nature Preserve
This nature preserve is a 231.33-acre property that is an addition to an original 355.29-acre preserve in the southern portion of Floyd County, approximately seven miles southwest of the town of New Albany. Protecting an example of Southern Indiana Knobs and an important block of forested habitat in Indiana’s Highland Rim Natural Region, it consists of topography that has heavily dissected slopes and ravine forests along with a number of bedrock outcrops which are unusual in this region. Siltstone glades are found on the south-facing slopes and xeric upland forests dominated by Virginia pine and chestnut oak are found around these glades and on the ridgetops. Moister ravine forests are also found in the preserve. These community types along with their expected component flora and fauna contain many species that are area-sensitive forest interior plants and animals dependent upon large, unfragmented forest ecosystems.
Hall Woods (Oscar and Ruth) Addition Nature Preserve
This nature preserve is a 28.905-acre property in the northeast corner of Putnam County, 1.1 miles east of the town of Bainbridge and is an addition to the original 92.63-acre preserve and protects the stream corridor of the Big Walnut Creek and an important block of forested habitat in Indiana’s Central Till Plain. It consists of topography that has several ridges, deep ravines, and steep bluffs along the west bank of Big Walnut Creek, along with several high quality natural communities that are found in the preserve. The mesic upland forest is characterized by an unusually high degree of dominance by white oak. The mesic floodplain forest is characterized by a cottonwood-ash-sycamore community. These community types along with their expected component flora and fauna contain many species that are area-sensitive forest interior plants and animals dependent upon large, unfragmented forest ecosystems.
Section Six Flatwoods Addition Nature Preserve
This nature preserve addition is a 202.0 acre property in southwestern Posey County, eight miles southwest of Mount Vernon, adjacent to the original 235.0-acre preserve. Acting as a corridor between Section Six Flatwoods Nature Preserve and Wabash Lowlands Nature Preserve, this addition consists of a forested restoration block and a significant and high quality southern lowland flatwoods forest community dominated by post oak, swamp white oak, southern red oak, pin oak, and shellbark hickory. The variety of state-listed species occurring at this site, including a variety of plants, as well as the state endangered Indiana Bat and evening bat, is indicative of the relatively undisturbed nature of this forest community. Many of the plant and animal species found on this property have a southern affinity and are only in a few similar remaining sites in the southwest corner of the state. These community types along with their expected component flora and fauna contain many species that are area-sensitive forest interior plants and animals dependent upon large, unfragmented forest ecosystems.