(UNDATED) - Department of Natural Resources director Rob Carter on Monday announced that the Healthy Rivers INitiative (HRI) has surpassed 10,000 acres with the addition of newly acquired land in four counties.
"This is a huge milestone," Carter said. "Add pre-existing state-owned lands in the project area and land enrolled in the federal Wetlands Reserve Program, and we're rapidly approaching the halfway point of our goal in just over 2½ years."
Gov. Mitch Daniels launched HRI in 2010 to secure permanent conservation protection for nearly 70,000 acres along Sugar Creek, the Wabash River and the Muscatatuck River.
The newest parcels include almost 725 acres in Vermillion and Vigo counties in the Wabash River Project Area, and more than 425 acres in Jackson and Scott counties in the Muscatatuck River Project Area.
The addition of these 1,150 acres brings DNR's newly purchased HRI acres to 10,058.
HRI is a partnership of resource agencies and organizations working with landowners to provide a model that balances forest, farmland and natural resources conservation; connects separated parcels of public land to benefit wildlife; protects important wildlife habitat and rest areas for migratory birds; opens lands to public recreational activities; establishes areas for nature tourism; and provides clean water and protection from flooding to downstream landowners.
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture, The Nature Conservancy of Indiana, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service are HRI project partners.
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