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NRC Approves New Nature Preserve
Indiana Ag Connection - 11/15/2017

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

The move increases to 282 the number of state-designated sites protected by the Nature Preserves Act, which is 50 years old this year.

The new nature preserve is located in the southwest portion of Brown County, southeast of the town of Belmont. It is located within the Brown County Hills Section of the Highland Rim Natural Region. The site contains one of the best examples of relatively undisturbed mesic upland forest in that region of the state, characterized by Northern red oak, white ash, American beech, and sugar maple.

Its diverse understory contains wildflowers and ferns. Special-concern worm-eating warblers occur at this site, as do broad-winged hawk, hooded warbler, and black-and-white warbler.

The nature preserve is located within the buffer of a research core area of the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment (HEE). It will continue to be studied by HEE scientists during the course of the 100-year study.

The NRC approved adding four petitions for rule changes to the Division of Fish & Wildlife's 2018 biennial rule change process. Instead of evaluating each one individually this year, they would be incorporated into the rule review process that starts in 2018 with other rule changes. One would allow crossbows that propel an arrow by means of compressed air to be used for hunting. The second would change the spring wild turkey season to start earlier in April. The third would remove the minimum size requirement for Eastern snapping turtles or exempt the size limit from snapping turtles taken on private land. The fourth would increase the minimum size limit of muskellunge at Bass Lake in Sullivan County from 36 inches to 44 inches, with a maximum limit of one fish per day.

Regarding the NRC's non-rule policy titled, "Roster of Indiana Animals, Insects, and Plants that are Extirpated, Endangered, Threatened, or Rare (also described as Special Concern)," the NRC approved amendments to add black bear, Northern bobwhite, American woodcock and American eel to the list of special concern species and remove the red-shouldered hawk and five fish species from the list of special concern species: longnose sucker, Ohio River muskellunge, lake whitefish, cypress darter and Tippecanoe darter.

Dates for the 2018 NRC meetings were set as Jan. 16, March 20, May 15, July 17, Sept. 18 and Nov. 13. All are tentatively set for the Garrison at Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis.

The NRC is an autonomous board that addresses topics pertaining to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. More details on these and other actions are available at nrc.IN.gov/2350.htm under "November Agenda."

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. The Academy of Science president and the agency heads, other than the DNR director, may appoint proxies to serve the commission in their absences.

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