The Indiana Natural Resources Commission has approved three new nature preserves, including the most recent one within the boundaries of a state park.

The addition of Mouth of the Blue River Nature Preserve at O’Bannon Woods State Park in Harrison County brings the DNR Division of State Parks & Reservoirs within reach of a longstanding goal.

“We set a goal several years back to get a nature preserve in every state park,” said Dan Bortner, director of State Parks & Reservoirs. “While we are in the business of supporting recreational opportunities for our customers, we also recognize the need for conservation and the importance of taking a section of every property and setting it aside for protection.”

Mouth of the Blue River Nature Preserve is a 470-acre site in the southwest portion of O’Bannon Woods. Its topography consists of several knobs, deep ravines and steep bluffs. It contains several high quality natural communities and is home to two state-endangered animals, two state-endangered invertebrates, two state-endangered plants and several other rare animals and plants.

The two other new sites are the Laura Hare Nature Preserve in Lawrence County and Smith-Crisler Nature Preserve in Henry County.

The 43-acre Laura Hare preserve is owned and managed by Sycamore Land Trust and is noted for and abundance of eastern hemlock on its steep-sheltered, west-facing slope. The 40-acre Smith-Crisler preserve is owned and managed by the Red-tail Land Conservancy. It protects an upland forest and a diverse number of spring wildflowers.

In other actions, the NRC gave final approval to a rate increase request from the Lake Monroe Sailing Association; final approval to a rule prohibiting the sale, distribution or transportation of certain invasive aquatic plants; final approval to repeal standards governing State Museums and Historic Sites under the DNR and NRC; preliminary approval of a rule to coordinate historic preservation reviews by state agencies that are governed by federal and state law; and approval of a new non-rule policy for floodway habitat mitigation.

For more information on the NRC, see

Logo courtesy of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources

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