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I continue our look at some of the land that was acquired last year using funds left over from the Bicentennial Nature Trust and the Benjamin Harrison Conservation Trust.

Baseline Barrens Nature Preserve is a very interesting area located in Washington County near Fredricksburg. It is in a part of Hoosierland where the largest remaining karst barrens terrain in Indiana is found. This is an area of sink holes, caves, and other karst features which creates a very unique habitat for both plants and animal life.

A karst barren is an area of mostly grasslands with only scattered trees that grow over a limestone bedrock. In such a region one can expect to find a number of rare and uncommon species. Among these in Baseline Barrens are several species that are state listed as either rare or endangered. The rough green snake, the Engelmann’s adders tongue (a plant), and an endangered butterfly, and one mottled duskywing skipper. The terrain at Baseline Barrens features both chert and limestone barrens, as well as open woods that exist on a karst sink hole plain which is rare in our state. An acquisition of 20 acres from two sisters, Nancy Baker and Claudia Coffey, increased the total acres at Baseline Barrens to 91 acres.

At the other end of the state, a very important bog which is also rare in Indiana, was a major acquisition in Elkhart County. The bog is 106 acres in size which is large for an Indiana bog. When it was learned that a developer had purchased sizeable tracts of land near the bog with the intent of having it developed, concern on how this would affect the quality of the water in the bog began to surface. The developer was contacted and asked if some of the land he had acquired but would probably never develop could be acquired to add to the Elkhart Bog Nature Preserve. The owner apparently is a conservationist for he agreed to sell 37 acres of land to add to the 106-acre property. Part of the new addition is a 12-acre floating mat bag, very unique, and 24 acres that are a prairie-savanna. This was really a great acquisition.

Sycamore Land Trust is one of the most active and important land trusts in Indiana. They have acquired property all across southern Indiana from their base in Bloomington and have been able to protect some very high quality natural features. One is Beanblossom Bottoms in Monroe County that is a classic example of a southern Hoosierland floodplain lowlands. A part of this lowland complex is located a mile and a half downstream from the main Beanblossom Preserve, and is known as the Beanblossom Creek BCA. It is in three parcels of the land that have a combine total of 112 acres of conservation easements. Much of these tracts are still in farmland that will eventually be turned into wetlands and will add to the existing Sam Shine Foundation and the Dan Efroymson Preserves which border each other and create a nice wetland complex. Both Shine and the Dan Efroymson family are good friends of mine and have been a great help in preserving our natural heritages. Sad to say Dan is now deceased and I want to say I really miss him. Thanks Dan for all you have done for conservation in Indiana.

The last of the property acquired last year is Center Lake Preserve in Steuben County, way up in northeastern Indiana. Center Lake Preserve is a 109-acre wetland that is managed by Blue Heron Ministries. Blue Heron’s goal is to keep this property in as natural condition as possible and still allow the people in Angola to have a place to take advantage of the 34-acre Center Lake and two other lakes that total around 10 acres in size.

As you can see in these columns on land added for preservation we still are active in helping preserve God’s great creation.

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