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Indiana NRC adopts fisheries rule changes, looks to change wildlife rules as well

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The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) gave final adoption to a number of fisheries-related rule changes at its meeting in Indianapolis on Tuesday.

The rule changes must still be approved by the Attorney General’s Office and Governor’s Office before taking effect. In addition to changes pertaining to commercial fishing, the package includes these changes to sport fishing rules:

* Increasing the daily bag limit for lake trout taken from Lake Michigan.

* Increasing the size limit for Northern pike.

* Changing the size limit for largemouth bass taken from lakes on Shakamak State Park and Hoosier National Forest.

* Prohibiting the use of cast nets, seines, or other devices in the collecting of minnows at a location extending from a dam downstream 500 yards on inland waters.

* Adding a tagging requirement for fishing equipment or devices left unattended for both sport and commercial fishing.

Wildlife Rules

The NRC also preliminarily adopted a number of amendments to 312 IAC 9, which governs wildlife-related rules.

This action simply starts the rule-change process, meaning that none of these amendments would take effect this year. The NRC will begin accepting public comments and conduct at least one public hearing on these proposed amendments later this year.

Proposed amendments include:

* Allowing the hides and carcasses of legally harvested furbearers taken during the season to be kept year-round by hunters and trappers without a special authorization or permit.

* Authorizing a bobcat hunting and trapping season in a restricted number of counties in southern Indiana with a bag limit of one per person and a statewide quota.

* Adding several bats and the rufa red knot (a federally endangered bird) to the state’s endangered species list.

* Removing the osprey and several mussels from the state’s endangered species list.

* Adding three counties to the fall wild turkey firearms hunting season: Elkhart, Kosciusko and Noble.

* Requiring the euthanasia of raccoons, opossums, and coyotes taken under the nuisance wild animal control permit.

View the complete rule proposal package at www.in.gov/nrc/files/item_4_nrc_sept_2017.pdf

Oil and Gas

The NRC also gave final adoption to a recodification of administrative rules governing oil well and gas well activities by adding 312 IAC 29 and repealing 312 IAC 16.

“Before this package received preliminary adoption in May 2016, the rules had not been comprehensively reviewed for 25 years,” the NRC said. “The new rules aim to provide oil and gas production professionals with a clear and certain understanding of their responsibilities. Many of the requirements in the recodification have already been practiced for years in Indiana.”

New Preserve

The NRC also approved Pond ‘Lil Nature Preserve in LaGrange County as a new nature preserve, a move which increases to 281 the number of state-designated sites protected by the Nature Preserves Act.

Pond ‘Lil Nature Preserve comprises 94.67 acres in the Northern Lakes Natural Region, within Dallas Lake County Park. Pond ‘Lil--whose shoreline is ringed by a floating mat of sphagnum moss and plant roots--illustrates the early stages of bog development.

Many typical bog plants grow on the floating mat, including tamarack trees, orchids, and insectivorous pitcher plants and sundews. Over time, perhaps hundreds of years, the floating mat will likely expand toward the center of the pond. But for now, Pond ‘Lil will remain more pond than bog.

Fauna of interest includes nest sites for sandhill crane and star-nose mole (state special concern) as well as Eastern massasauga (state endangered) rattlesnake.

The NRC

The NRC is an autonomous board that addresses topics pertaining to the Indiana DNR. NRC members include the DNR director, heads of three other state agencies (Environmental Management, Tourism Development, and Transportation), six citizens appointed by the governor on a bipartisan basis, the chair of the NRC’s advisory council, and the president of the Indiana Academy of Science.

 

Posted 9/20/2017

 
 
 
 

 

 

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