Save the Dunes,
Shirley Heinze Land Trust, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and Northwest
Indiana Paddling Association have been awarded $205,959 from the National
Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Chi-Cal Rivers Fund, to be used in the
improvement of safe public access at several nature preserves--two of them
in Chesterton--as well as the enhancement of over 189 acres of riparian
habitat along the East Branch of the Little Calumet River.
“This portion of
the River is currently a focus area for restoration and improvement
activities in northwest Indiana,” said Kristopher Krouse, executive director
of Shirley Heinze Land Trust. “It has been a priority area for our
conservation efforts for the past three years. This funding furthers our
goals of preserving the Little Calumet River corridor and providing safe,
high quality public access to the river.”
access amenities will be installed on three Shirley Heinze Land Trust
properties; the Little Calumet Wetlands and Keith Richard Walner Nature
Preserves in Chesterton; and John Merle Coulter Preserve in Portage.
location will also receive nine-acres of habitat enhancement.
A 180-acre portion
of the river’s corridor through the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore will
receive habitat enhancement, including the removal of exotic/invasive
species to help re-establish native species which aid in pollutant
filtration of stormwater runoff. Trees been killed by the emerald ash borer
will be felled as well along the river’s edge, to improve the safety of
anglers and others accessing the river. “Save the Dunes is proud to help the
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore fight the ongoing threat of invasive
species and help reestablish native species in areas hit hard by the emerald
ash borer,” said Nicole Barker, executive director of Save the Dunes.
“The East Branch of
the Little Calumet River is one of Northwest Indiana’s gems in terms of
beauty and recreational potential,” said Dan Plath, president of the
Northwest Indiana Paddling Association. “These public access improvements
and habitat enhancement projects will provide lasting benefits to our
communities and natural resources.”
Burke Engineering is generously providing engineering and consulting
services to the project as in-kind match. Work will begin this winter and
will continue for two years.