Chesterton Tribune



Heinze trust acquires 43.5 acres along the Little Calumet in Westchester Township

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Shirley Heinze Land Trust has announced that it has acquired a 43.5-acre property along the Little Calumet River in Westchester Township.

The land consists of 13 acres of natural area along the river and 30.5 acres that is currently in agriculture. Located west of Brummitt Road and south of Brummitt Elementary School, the property increases to 420 acres the total amount of land held by Shirley Heinze along the river’s East Branch.

“Shirley Heinze plans to manage the land as a natural area and undertake restoration work to enhance its environmental value,” said Stewardship Director Eric Bird. “Reforestation of the agricultural portion of the property will be a long-term goal. Restoration will enhance the quality of local waterways and contribute to good storm water management for the community and the Little Calumet River.”

Save the Dunes praised the acquisition. “The East Branch of the Little Calumet River and its tributaries suffer from impaired biotic communities, meaning in-stream habitat is poor and doesn’t do a good job of supporting the insects that fish depend on for food,” said Natalie Johnson, Executive Director of Save the Dunes. “In 2015, Save the Dunes completed a watershed management plan for the river that identified water quality improvement goals that organizations and municipalities could undertake to improve this gem of a waterway. We’re thrilled to see our partners at Shirley Heinze Land Trust implement the plan and improve water quality through reforestation efforts.”

“We plan to install a kayak launch upstream at the nearby Wykes-Plampin Nature Preserve,” Bird adds. “From there paddlers will be able to navigate through the site. Natural features present here include upland forest and floodplain wetlands along the river. The location also provides good wildlife habitat.”

Purchase of the property was made possible with matching funds from the Indiana Bicentennial Nature Trust. Funding and technical assistance was also made available as mitigation for impacts caused by the construction and maintenance of the Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership, 6B Pipeline, in partnership with The Conservation Fund and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The property represents the most recent acquisition within the Little Calumet Conservation Corridor, which was approved in 2014 as an Indiana Bicentennial Nature Trust Conservation Area. Since then, Shirley Heinze and its partners have worked to help connect already protected natural areas along the river. In total, more than 2,300 acres have been protected along the East Branch of the Little Calumet River by several conservation organizations, agencies, and municipalities.

For more information on the work and nature preserves of Shirley Heinze Land Trust, visit, call (219) 242-8558, or access its Facebook page at


Posted 11/6/2017







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