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Indiana to turn 43,000 acres into wetlands area

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Indiana will acquire a 43,000-acre swath of west-central Indiana flood plains for a project to restore and preserve wetlands that Gov. Mitch Daniels predicted Thursday would become a wildlife-filled tourist destination.

The governor detailed the effort, the first of two planned wetland projects, during a news conference in Terre Haute. He will announce the second project Friday in southeastern Indiana's Scott County.

Together, the combined acreage of the two habitat conservation areas will be the largest project ever undertaken by the state Department of Natural Resources, Daniels said.

"Our goal is to make this a landmark era for conservation of natural beauty in our state and make Indiana a national leader in wetlands and wildlife protection," he said in a statement.

Land acquisition for the two separate projects from willing sellers will be funded by $21.5 million from a state conservation trust fund and $10 million from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The wetlands restoration and preservation projects will become attractive regional tourist destinations by protecting habitat vital to threatened and endangered species and safeguarding rest areas for migratory birds, particularly waterfowl, he said.

Daniels said the projects would also provide flood relief to nearby landowners because wetlands act as natural sponges to absorb floodwaters.

He said the state would begin by acquiring acreage in the flood plains of the Wabash River and Sugar Creek in west-central Indiana. That flood-prone land lines 94 river miles from Shades State Park near Crawfordsville to the Fairbanks Landing Fish & Wildlife Area south of Terre Haute.

The Sugar Creek and Wabash River corridors harbor a rich mix of Indiana's rarest fish, mussels, birds and plants, and offer nesting sites for bald eagles and great blue herons.

Those land is also populated by the Canada yew, Eastern hemlock and white pine — all ice age remnants now rare in Indiana.

The planned Wabash River wetlands area is expected to be larger than the combined size of the Morgan-Monroe State Forest and Brown County State Park. And it will increase DNR-owned riparian wetland areas by more than 64 percent.

After the land is purchased, DNR officials will use the state and federal money to leverage additional private and federal funding for the protection and restoration of the corridor, Daniels said.

Those groups will include The Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service and Ducks Unlimited, a national conservation group based in Memphis, Tenn.

"This restoration project will help ensure the landscapes and communities that make Indiana great will thrive for generations to come," said Mark Tercek, CEO and president of The Nature Conservancy.

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  • wetlands
    We have wetlands on our property along the Wabash River and want to learn more about the DNR purchasing of these lands
  • Hooray
    This is a victory for Indiana as they improve the eco-image of Indiana and the life of the residents who live here; human and animal.

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  1. We gotta stop this Senior crime. Perhaps long jail terms for these old boozers is in order. There are times these days (more rather than less) when this state makes me sick.

  2. One option is to redistribute the payroll tax already collected by the State. A greater share could be allocated to the county of the workplace location as opposed to the county of residency. Not a new tax, just re-allocate what is currently collected.

  3. Have to agree with Mal Burgess. The biggest problem is massive family breakdown in these neighborhoods. While there are a lot of similiarities, there is a MASSIVE difference between 46218 and 46219. 46219 is diluted by some stable areas, and that's probably where the officers live. Incentivizing is fine, but don't criticize officers for choosing not to live in these neighbor hoods. They have to have a break from what is arguably one of the highest stress job in the land. And you'll have to give me hard evidence that putting officers there is going to make a significant difference. Solid family units, responsible fathers, siblings with the same fathers, engaged parents, commitment to education, respect for the rule of law and the importance of work/a job. If the families and the schools (and society) will support these, THEN we can make a difference.

  4. @Agreed, when you dine in Marion County, the taxes paid on that meal go to state coffers (in the form of the normal sales taxes) and to the sports/entertainment venues operated by the CIB. The sales taxes on your clothing and supplies just go to the state. The ONLY way those purchases help out Indianapolis is through the payroll taxes paid by the (generally low-wage) hourly workers serving you.

  5. The government leaders of Carmel wouldn't last a week trying to manage Indianapolis. There's a major difference between running a suburb with virtually no one below the poverty level and running a city in which 21+% are below the poverty level. (http://www.census.gov/did/www/saipe/data/interactive/#view=StateAndCounty&utilBtn=&yLB=0&stLB=15&cLB=49&dLB=0&gLB=0&usSts_cbSelected=false&usTot_cbSelected=true&stateTot_cbSelected=true&pLB=0?ltiYearSelected=false?ltiYearAlertFlag=false?StateFlag=false?validSDYearsFlag=false)

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