Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Enbridge mitigation grant enables Izaak Walton to buy 40 acres in Porter County

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The Porter County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America has purchased a 40-acre farm in Porter County, near Michigan City, for inclusion in its Frame Little Calumet Conservation Area.

The purchase was made possible with a grant from the Enbridge 68 Mitigation Fund.

Located at the confluence of the East Branch Little Calumet River and Reynolds Creek, the now expanded Frame Little Calumet Conservation Area is managed by the Izaak Walton League’s Porter County Chapter as an urban green space, nature preserve, and outdoor educational area.

The mix of habitats found on the property--woodland and forested wetland, as well as hay fields and crop land which will be restored to native forests-- attract a variety of migratory birds, including nesting Red-headed and Pileated woodpeckers, Eastern Bluebirds, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Red-tailed Hawks. Meanwhile, the conversion of farm land will help reduce flood risks and improve water quality within the East Branch Little River Watershed, a tributary of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Lake Michigan.

“This is turning into a great project that should provide multiple benefits for us and the public,” said Chapter President Jim Sweeney said. “Our thanks go to Enbridge, the Indiana Bicentennial Nature Trust, and The Conservation Fund for helping us make this happen.”

The 6B Mitigation Fund was voluntarily established by Enbridge to mitigate for habitat loss or forest fragmentation caused by the construction and rehabilitation last year of the 6B pipeline which temporarily or permanently impacted migratory birds and the habitats upon which they depend.

Working collaboratively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Enbridge is providing grants to fund implement local conservation measures in Indiana and Michigan and to protect and restore critical habitat for migratory birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The Conservation Fund, a national organization dedicated to creating land and water protection strategies which balance environmental stewardship with economic vitality, serves as the administrator of the Enbridge 6B Mitigation Fund. The Fund works collectively with Enbridge and the USFWS to achieve mitigation solutions with the highest conservation value.

“Our goal is to preserve lands and waters that regulatory agencies, nonprofits and local partners have identified as conservation priorities valued for their wildlife habitat, recreation, clean water, and other natural resources,” said Kris Hoellen, vice-president of sustainable programs for the Conservation Fund. “Because we cannot choose between our environment and our economy, we need to strike a balance by working in a collaborative way to ensure that mitigation for unavoidable impacts is meaningful and achieves the highest quality conservation of significant natural lands, like these in northwest Indiana.”

“Natural resources and green spaces are dear to every community and we recognize the impacts our construction projects can have,” said Jennifer Smith, community relations manager for Enbridge. “At Enbridge we take our responsibility to the environment seriously, and this partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Conservation Fund, and our local conservation organizations is a great opportunity to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship.”

The Enbridge 68 Mitigation Fund also made possible another purchase of land in Northwest Indiana, this one of 96 acres by the Lake County Parks and Recreation Department. That acreage will become part of Deep River County Park, off U.S. Highway 30 near the Porter County line.

The property is known as Thomas Farm and features upland and floodplain forests providing ideal breeding habitat for a variety of resident and neotropical migrating birds, including the Hooded Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, and Cerulean Warbler.

 

 

Posted 1/7/2015

 
 
 
 

 

 

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