Chesterton Tribune



NIPSCO ponys up $2M to buy and preserve 1630 acres for public use

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Thanks to a joint effort between Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) and several area environmental organizations, nearly 1,630 acres of land will be preserved and restored for public education and enjoyment, with an additional focus on improving the biodiversity and habitats for many of the region’s plant and animal life, the Northern Indiana Public Service Company has announced.

NIPSCO provided nearly $2 million to fund the acquisition and restoration of several local properties, as part of a consent decree between NIPSCO, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), NIPSCO said in a statement released this morning.

The project sites were selected by an advisory stakeholder group, which included representatives of NIPSCO, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Shirley Heinze Land Trust, Save the Dunes, and The Nature Conservancy.

In total, 183.5 acres of land will be protected and another 1,444.6 acres of land will involve a range of restoration efforts.

“The protection of our region’s natural environment is not only important to recreation and tourism, but it is critical to our overall health and well-being,” said Kelly Carmichael, vice-president of environmental safety and sustainability for NIPSCO and NiSource. “We are proud that this collaborative effort is among some of the largest land conservation and restoration efforts in northwest Indiana’s recent history, and one that will leave a lasting impact on future generations.”

Among the project sites included in the effort were the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Shirley Heinze Land Trust.

“Project funding will go towards large-scale environmental restoration work in and around the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to help combat invasive species and protect and fortify the rich native biodiversity this region is known for globally,” added Paul Labovitz, superintendent of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

“This is a great project for Northwest Indiana and everyone living in the region,” said Kris Krouse, executive director of the Shirley Heinze Land Trust. “It has enabled Shirley Heinze Land Trust to preserve and restore land within the moraine forest, as well as floodplain habitat within the Little Calumet River Corridor. These enhancements improve habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife and provide increased educational and recreational opportunities for the public.”

Project sites included:

* The Canonie Discovery School and Munson Place property in Porter (National Park Service).

* The Don and Mary Frame Little Calumet Conservation Area, Porter County (The Izaak Walton League).

* The Little Calumet Wetlands at the Keith Richard Walner Nature Preserve, Chesterton (Shirley Heinze Land Trust).

* Meadowbrook Nature Preserve, Liberty Township (Shirley Heinze Land Trust).

* Pannes at West Beach, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (National Park Service).

* South Long Lake Uplands and Wetland Margins, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (National Park Service).

* Smith Family Properties, Porter County (Porter County Parks & Recreation).

* Pinhook Bog, Coolspring Township in LaPorte County (National Park Service).

* The Liverpool Nature Preserve, Lake Station (Indiana Department of Natural Resources).

* The McCloskey Burr Oak Savanna Nature Preserve, Hobart (Indiana Department of Natural Resources).


Posted 8.26.2015




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