The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has taken action to protect more than 31,000 acres along three state waterways. Parts of Sugar Creek, Austin Bottoms and the Wabash River are now permanently protected under the state's Healthy Rivers Initiative. July 1, 2014

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. — More than 31,000 acres along three state waterways are now under permanent conservation protection. That includes 1,563 acres purchased in the past year in the three HRI Conservation Areas — Sugar Creek (1,221 acres), Austin Bottoms (302 acres) and Wabash River (40 acres).

Other notable HRI numbers include:

– 8,242 acres open to public recreation.

– 57 miles of river frontage now under protection.

– 11 parking lots that provide public access.

– 1,000 tons of stone used to construct parking lots at access sites.

– 5,420 boundary markers posted at HRI sites.

“HRI is a true conservation success story right here in Indiana that shows the power of partnerships,” DNR director Cameron Clark said. “Accomplishing something of this magnitude requires leveraging our conservation dollars and resources across numerous natural resource agencies and organizations. We are thrilled with what this partnership has accomplished in just four years.”

HRI was launched in 2010 to secure permanent conservation protection of nearly 70,000 acres along Sugar Creek, the Wabash River and the Muscatatuck River.

The project partners work with landowners to provide a model that balances forest, farmland and natural resources conservation; connects separated parcels of public land to benefit wildlife; protects wildlife habitat and rest areas for migratory birds; opens lands to public recreational activities; establishes areas for nature tourism; and provides clean water and protection from flooding to downstream landowners.

The DNR’s project partners in HRI are the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, The Nature Conservancy of Indiana, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Source: Indiana Department of Natural Resources

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