Plants, animals, unique habitats and gorgeous landscapes like dune and swale, ridges and valleys, dramatic cliffs, pristine rivers and lakes, forests, wetlands, prairies, caves and karst… these are Indiana’s natural heritage and what the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation works to protect, restore and teach.
Protection and Restoration Begins With Land Acquisition:
Purchasing land from willing sellers helps to not only protect vital habitat but also to buffer important places from development, allow habitat restoration and provide greater opportunities for recreation. The protection of endangered, threatened and rare species, unique landscapes and preservation of our history guide our land acquisition priorities. As natural places become both rarer and more costly to protect, your support becomes increasingly vital to our efforts. Land acquisition is always done in partnership with the IDNR and often includes conservation and recreation groups.
- Goose Pond. In May 2005, IDNR signed a letter of intent with Wilder Corporation of Delaware to acquire 8,034 acres in Greene County commonly known as Goose Pond and Bee Hunter Marsh. A consortium led by the IDNR and INRF of conservation organizations and local, state and federal agencies joined resources to purchase the property. Through these partnerships, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources was able to acquire the property for use as a premier public birding and hunting area. The purchase was finalized in October 2005 for approximately $8,000,000. This was a rare opportunity to provide protection and public access to such a huge expanse of natural wetlands. Had the area not been acquired to be managed by a public agency, it could have been fragmented into private hunting clubs and exclusive recreation areas that only a few would have enjoyed. Restoration is ongoing and includes 30 miles of earthen dikes, 400 acres of plantings, 1,400 acres of prairie restoration, nearly 5,000 acres of shallow water wetlands and a permanent 2,750 acre-shallow water impoundment.
- The Judy Burton Nature Preserve, 129.7 acres on the southwest side of Lake Manitou honoring the late local environmentalist Judy Burton. The preserve consists of a complex of high quality marsh and shrub swamp and includes islands dominated by oak and hickory forest. Additionally, in the preserve are areas of field that will eventually be restored to prairie and savanna. The uplands are extremely important to the wildlife that thrives in the wetlands. A number of rare bird species nest in the marsh, including marsh wren, sedge wren and Virginia rail. The land for the Judy Burton Nature Preserve was purchased with funds from the Indiana Heritage Trust, the Division of Fish and Wildlife non-game check off, donations to the Natural Resources Foundation, and funding from the Nature Conservancy.