11 State Forest Sites Eyed for Nature Preserve Status

11 State Forest Sites Eyed for Nature Preserve Status

DNR director Cameron Clark announced that 11 sites in seven State Forests are being considered for additional management protection because of their ecological features.

“The features found at these locations are similar to what might be found in a Nature Preserve or a High Conservation Value Forest (HCV),” Clark said. “Nature Preserves receive the highest level of conservation protection under Indiana law.

“HCV status ensures management practices will maintain or enhance the ecological conditions as we continue to evaluate their candidacy for Nature Preserve status.”

Indiana’s Nature Preserve system was established in 1967 with passage of the Nature Preserve Act and has grown to more than 270 sites statewide encompassing 60,000 acres. Areas proposed as Nature Preserves are presented to the Indiana Natural Resources Commission for approval.

The DNR Division of Forestry began its High Conservation Value Forest program in 2007 to help meet certification standards for sustainable forest management. Since the program’s inception, 17 nature preserves located in State Forests have also been certified as HCVs.

“Our State Forests are enrolled in two independent certification audits that call for identifying and conserving places like this,” Clark said. “Our success in managing State Forests is measured by the fact we’ve met both national and international sustainability standards for nine consecutive years.”

DNR Forestry director John Seifert said, “This further enhances our commitment to programs that guide our forestry management efforts, especially in areas like these that would receive additional management considerations aimed at protecting their special qualities.”

The 11 identified sites totaling more than 1,118 acres are:

• Clark State Forest, Outbrook Ravine, 507.3 acres
• Ferdinand SF, Hurricane Creek, 59.2 acres
• Harrison-Crawford SF, Greenbrier Knob, 168.03 acres
• Harrison-Crawford SF, Glade South, 62.75 acres
• Harrison-Crawford SF, Glade North, 43.92 acres
• Harrison-Crawford SF, River Ledge, 31.77 acres
• Morgan-Monroe SF, Ravinia Seeps Spring, 30 acres
• Owen-Putnam SF, Pleasant Grove Valley, 84.88 acres
• Owen-Putnam SF, Jordan Creek Seep Spring, 45.38 acres
• Salamonie SF, Salamonie Ravines, 35 acres
• Yellowwood SF, Lucas Hollow, 50.71 acres

The DNR Division of Nature Preserves evaluated each site at the request of DNR Forestry.

“We found these sites contain an array of high-quality natural areas that provide habitat for some rare bird, insect, amphibian, tree or plant species,” DNR Nature Preserves director John Bacone said, noting these highlights:

Outbrook Ravine: Several large stands of Virginia pine found in Indiana only in Clark and Floyd counties, and rare plants like Ofer Hollow reedgrass and Stout-ragged goldenrod.

Hurricane Creek: High-quality example of dry upland forest with red and white oak, sugar maple, and tulip poplar as dominant canopy trees, plus diverse wildflowers and sedges.

Greenbrier Knob: Limestone cliffs, steep forested slopes, and a gravel wash bordering Blue River. State-listed plants include Appalachian bugbane, sand grape, and blue wild indigo.

River Ledge: Also on Blue River, is home to the federally endangered Short’s goldenrod.

Glade North and Glade South: Limestone barrens surrounded by dry upland forest. Rare prairie species include state-listed Engelmann’s Adder’s-tongue, mistflower, and Heartleaf Alexander.

Pleasant Grove Valley: Largest seep springs in Owen-Putnam, plus a stream and sandstone cliffs. Unusual plants include marsh marigold, cinnamon fern, and poison sumac.

Jordan Creek Seep Spring: Forest communities of black ash, tree clubmoss, and cinnamon fern.

Lucas Hollow: Exceptionally large trees provide habitat for cerulean and worm-eating warblers.

Salamonie Ravines: Upland forest rare for northern Indiana. State-listed plants include barren strawberry, false melic, Gyandotte-Beauty, and Wood’s false hellebore.

Ravinia Seeps Spring: Wetland complex surrounded by forested slopes with an excellent amphibian breeding pond and an open sedge-meadow prairie fen. Queen of the Prairie, Golden Alexanders, Eastern box turtles, and rare insects are found here.