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Land conservation project closes second successful year that. We just hope they’ll consider some By Nick Werner of the conservation programs to help proThe largest land conservation effort tect the water quality and provide wildlife ever undertaken by the Department of habitat.” Natural Resources is making progress as it HRI has purchased 2,700 new acres nears the end of its second year. and enrolled more than 5,000 acres in The goal of the Healthy Rivers INitiathe federal Wetland Reserve Program. tive is to permanently protect roughly About 26,000 total acres are under some 69,000 acres in two project areas, a 94form of permanent protection in both mile section of the Wabash River corridor project areas combined, including state in west central Indiana, including scenic properties. Sugar Creek, and the Muscatatuck River William Maher has sold almost 2,000 bottomlands in southern Indiana. acres of agricultural ground along the WaAnnounced in 2010, the Healthy Rivbash River to Healthy Rivers INitiative. ers INitiative, is a partnership with other Maher called HRI natural resource agena “solid and meaningcies and organizations The goal of the Healthy ful plan.” It also helped including The Nature Rivers INitiative is to that his river bottom Conservancy and the permanently protect roughly ground had been a Natural Resources 69,000 acres in two project headache. Conservation Service areas, a 94-mile section of “It flooded almost that will benefit wildthe Wabash River corridor every year,” he said. life, enhance public “There were substantial in west central Indiana, recreation and improve losses.” including scenic Sugar water quality. Some landowners, Creek, and the Muscatatuck At 43,000 acres, the however, are still turnWabash River project River bottomlands in ing a profit on marginal area alone is larger than southern Indiana. ground with help from the combined size of federal crop insurance Morgan-Monroe State and a boost in corn and soybean prices. Forest and Brown County State Park. Tilton said the program is working to “I think this is a game changer,” overcome obstacles presented by market Healthy Rivers INitiative liaison Angie influences and crop insurance. Tilton said. “We have several thousands of acres in HRI permanently protects ground by the process of being purchased,” she said. purchasing it from willing land owners, With some of the land in public many of them farmers, or by encouraging ownership and some of the land in private the landowners to enroll their ground in ownership, the DNR is still working out conservation easements and other conserdetails on how and where to provide pubvation programs. lic access to the land and how to manage “Some of the farmers have owned this the project areas. land for years and years,” Tilton said. The state is also considering expanding “They want this land passed down from the program to include other rivers.• generation to generation. We understand n

www.indianawildlife.org

Conservation Awards Banquet and annual business meeting Join us Saturday, May 19 at Spring Mill State Park for the Conservation Awards Banquet and annual business meeting. Join us for the annual business meeting Saturday morning from 9 a.m. until noon. Learn about our current projects and goals for 2012-13, elect new board officers, and vote on newly submitted resolutions. Members who attend the annual business meeting can weigh in and vote on proposed resolutions. If you have an interest in shaping IWF’s priorities, please plan to attend this important meeting. We value your input. At 6 p.m., we will honor this year’s outstanding conservationists at the Conservation Awards Banquet.

There are few important dates to keep in mind before May: March 18: Deadline to submit resolutions for discussion, and potentially adoption, at the business meeting. Only IWF directors and affiliate organizations can propose resolutions. Visit www.indianawildlife.org/board. htm to view current resolutions. April 15: Deadline for Conservation Award nominations. June 15: Deadline for Charles Holt Memorial Scholarship applications Check www.indianawildlife.org/ annualmeeting.htm for online RSVP forms and more details. Use our group code: 518121 when reserving your room at Spring Mill. Save the date, and plan to join us on May 19.•

Hoosier Conservation | 11

Hoosier Conservation: Winter 2011/2012  

Our Winter 2011/2012 issue features articles about the year in conservation, IWF's 2012 calendar, Indiana's Healthy Rivers INitiative, and m...

Hoosier Conservation: Winter 2011/2012  

Our Winter 2011/2012 issue features articles about the year in conservation, IWF's 2012 calendar, Indiana's Healthy Rivers INitiative, and m...

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