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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 3:34 pm

Verbatim: NRC approves new nature preserve

The following was released on Tues., Sept. 19, 2017 by the Natural Resources Commission:

The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) approved Pond ‘Lil Nature Preserve in LaGrange County as a new nature preserve during its regularly scheduled meeting today at Fort Harrison State Park. 

The move increases to 281 the number of state-designated sites protected by the Nature Preserves Act, which is 50 years old this year. 

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

The nature preserve includes swamp and upland woods, and a prairie restoration that protect the watershed of the pond. Fauna of interest includes nest sites for sandhill crane and star-nose mole (state special concern) as well as Eastern massasauga (state endangered) rattlesnake.

 An ADA-accessible trail circles the pond and a trail runs along the northern portion of the preserve.

It is owned by LaGrange County Board of Parks and Recreation and the County Commissioners, and is under the administration of the LaGrange County Department of Parks and Recreation.   

In other action, the NRC gave final adoption to a number of fisheries-related rule changes. The rule changes must still be approved by the Attorney General’s Office and Governor’s Office before taking effect. In addition to a number of changes regarding 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 from collecting 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.