Natural Resources Commission approves new nature preserve

INDIANA – The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) approved the designation of Grand Prairie Nature Preserve in Lake County during its regularly scheduled meeting today at Fort Harrison State Park.

This nature preserve protects 11.86 acres of wet prairie of the Chicago Lake Plain. Flora of interest includes the State-Threatened earleaf foxglove and Leiberg’s witchgrass along with a variety of mesic and wet prairie plant species.

Mid- to late summer is the best time to see the prairie in bloom. Fauna of interest include the State Special Concern plains garter snake and the common nighthawk as well as the State Endangered smooth green snake. Grand Prairie Nature Preserve is owned by the DNR and is under the administration of its Division of Nature Preserves.

In other action, the NRC:

  •  Discussed a citizen petition to allow individuals to collect mussel shells because private collections could skew survey results, and such changes to the Indiana law could also open collectors to possible federal violations. Permits for scientific study remain available.
  • Accepted the preliminary adoption of amendments to 312 IAC 8 related to DNR property rules (Administrative Cause No. 21-FW-018). These changes will allow properly labeled tree stands, hunting blinds and trail/game cameras to be left on DNR properties, clarifies languages relating to placing bait, allows the public to pick up shed deer antlers without a permit, and requires a license for “magnet fishing”.
  • Approved the establishment of ranges of fees for dock, buoy, and mooring.

The NRC is an autonomous board that addresses topics pertaining to the DNR. More details on these actions are at NRC: Meetings & Minutes under “July Agenda.”

The next regularly scheduled NRC meeting is September 21. The location and time will be announced at a later date.

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