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Partnership with Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Pays Off
Indiana Ag Connection - 08/13/2020

Through a partnership between the Indiana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) and the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife, multiple volunteer projects have been completed at J.E. Roush Lake Fish & Wildlife Area (FWA) and newly acquired Veale Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

BHA has been a valued partner of the Division of Fish & Wildlife since Indiana BHA was officially formed in May 2019. Since its formation, the chapter has contributed both money and time to property projects.

Bethany Blicharz, property manager of J.E. Roush Lake FWA, greatly appreciates the help BHA has provided.

"BHA is a valued partner that enthusiastically volunteers to help with projects and aids the Division of Fish & Wildlife by securing grant funding to supplement work being done on properties," Blicharz said. "The 25 wood duck boxes that were built and installed by BHA volunteers on J.E. Roush Lake FWA have enhanced the wetland habitat, and staff recently banded the wood ducks that have benefited from those enhancements."

Staff at Glendale FWA also benefits from the commitment BHA has shown to public lands and wildlife in Indiana. Glendale FWA manages Veale Creek WMA, located near Washington.

"The assistance of BHA to enhance access to Veale Creek WMA has greatly improved the quality of experience available to the public this fall as the property opens," said Kalli Dunn, assistant property manager at Glendale FWA. "With construction of a hunter check-in station complete and boundary marking completed, property staff now have more time to complete more habitat improvement projects on this newly acquired property."

With 550 members across the state, BHA seeks to expand its impact on public lands.

"As public landowners, workdays are a great way for us to give back and strengthen our sense of awareness and ownership of our public lands, waters, and wildlife," said Rob Seilheimer, co-chair of the Indiana Board of BHA. "Over this past year, it's been extremely rewarding to have the opportunity to partner with the Indiana DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife on these projects."

BHA and the Division of Fish &Wildlife have plans for more workdays in the future. To learn more about opportunities to volunteer on Fish & Wildlife Areas, visit on.IN.gov/dfwvolunteer. For a list of events, visit calendar.dnr.IN.gov. Learn more about BHA: backcountryhunters.org/indiana.

Conservation organizations and other partners interested in working with the DNR on volunteer projects are welcome to email Elizabeth Middleton, stewardship outreach specialist at DNRvolunteer@dnr.IN.gov.


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