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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. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

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  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

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