A primary focus of the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in Indiana is the restoration of wetlands and associated uplands for migratory birds. In the northeast pothole region, this takes the form of wetland basins (marshes) surrounded by upland native prairie, which provides breeding and migration habitat for waterfowl such as mallard and blue-winged teal, and marsh birds such as rails, bitterns, and herons. In watersheds with large floodplain areas, such as the Kankakee, Patoka, and Muscatatuck Rivers, the focus is more on the restoration of bottomland hardwood wetlands, which provide the primary breeding habitat for wood ducks in Indiana, as well as migration and breeding habitat for neotropical migratory songbirds. In addition, the federally endangered Indiana bat utilizes riparian (streamside) forests for breeding, foraging, and migration habitat. Other unique efforts include restoration work on Fish Creek in northeast Indiana, which is home to the only remaining population of the Federally endangered white cat’s paw pearly mussel.
With 97 percent of Indiana’s land base in private ownership, a major portion of any successful habitat restoration effort must focus on fostering cooperation with private landowners. This is accomplished by targeting the following habitat types with a variety of restoration and enhancement techniques.
Wetlands provide habitat for nearly half of all migratory birds that occur in Indiana, and are an important habitat for many resident species as well. They also provide benefits which go beyond the scope of fish and wildlife habitat, including floodwater storage, water quality improvement, and groundwater recharge. The northeast Indiana pothole region is a primary focus for the Partners Program due to the high density of drained wetland basins and the large acreage of land retired under the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program. Restoration activities primarily involve restoring drained, depressional wetlands by breaking drainage tile, plugging drainage ditches, and constructing low earthen berms. Where possible, wetland complexes (groups of wetlands) are restored, creating a variety of wetland types in close proximity to provide for the diverse habitat needs of wetland wildlife. Costs for this type of wetland restoration average approximately $500-750 per acre.
Along the floodplains of the larger river systems in Indiana, such as the Kankakee, Muscatatuck, Patoka, and Wabash, forested wetlands are a major focus of restoration activities. These areas provide important breeding and migration habitat for waterfowl, neotropical migrant songbirds, and the Federally endangered Indiana bat. Reforestation techniques involve planting mainly 1-2 yearold nursery seedlings adapted to floodplain conditions, and controlling competing weed competition for at least 3 years. Costs for this practice average approximately $400-500 per acre.
Many species of grassland dependent migratory birds have been declining in recent decades, due in large part to the loss of suitable grassland nesting habitat. Species such as bobolink, grasshopper sparrow, Henslow’s sparrow, and upland sandpiper are forced to nest in less secure or isolated patches of habitat, which are subject to high rates of disturbance from mowing and nest predation. The Partners Program has worked with partners to help purchase seed drills, as well as cost-share directly with landowners to restore native prairie habitats. This work is focused in the northern and western portions of Indiana, and is often concentrated adjacent to restored or natural wetlands to provide nesting habitat for upland nesting ducks such as mallard and bluewinged teal. Costs vary widely, depending in large part upon the source of the seed, and can run from $100-500 per acre.
Invasive species are considered to be one of the major threats to the integrity of native terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, as their aggressive growth habits crowd out native species and form dense single-species stands. The Partners Program has developed partnerships with private conservation organizations to help control invasive species on private lands. Control work is often labor intensive, and targeted species include purple loosestrife, common reed, reed canarygrass, garlic mustard, bush honeysuckle, buckthorn, and tall fescue. Costs for this type of work average $100- 300 per acre.
The Partners Program in Indiana has been actively involved in environmental education, working with more than 40 schools and nature centers throughout the State to restore wetlands and native prairie for use in outdoor classroom settings. In addition, the Service’s Bloomington Field Office, in conjunction with the Sierra Club Wetlands Project and the Indianapolis Zoo, developed the Integrated Environmental Curriculum on wetlands for use by teachers and other educators statewide.
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Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in Indiana is not employed by or affiliated with the Land Conservation Assistance Network, and the Network does not certify or guarantee their services. The reader must perform their own due diligence and use their own judgment in the selection of any professional.
Contact Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in Indiana
620 South Walker Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47403 Phone: