The Natural Resources Commission has approved two new nature preserves in Harrison and Fayette counties. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources says the approvals bring the number of state-designated sites protected by the Nature Preserves Act to 287.
The approval includes Dewey Hickman Nature Preserve in Harrison County, which covers 125 acres near Corydon. The preserve home to noteworthy plant species, as well as state-special-concern species of birds, including the hooded warbler, sharp-shinned hawk, and red-shouldered hawk. It also includes the state-endangered cerulean warbler.
The Mary Gray Nature Preserve near Connersville also received approval. It covers a nearly 38-acre portion of the Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary and its owned and managed by the Indiana Audubon Society. The preserve is home to research being conducted on the saw-whet owl and ruby-throated hummingbird, as as well as a turtle population research project that has been ongoing since 1985.
In addition to approving the new nature preserves, the NRC granted preliminary adoption to a new rule aimed at removing 44 invasive plants from trade inside the state. The DNR says the move does not put the rule into effect, but rather starts the deliberative rules process.