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NRC approves new nature preserve

The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) approved the designation of Lydick Bog Nature Preserve in St. Joseph County during its regularly scheduled meeting on Jan. 15 at Fort Harrison State Park.

The action increases to 288 the number of state-designated sites protected by the Nature Preserves Act.

The Shirley Heinze Land Trust acquired Lydick Bog in 2015. The bog portion of the property provides an extremely rare habitat in northern Indiana. The property is 176.46 acres total and contains approximately 85 acres of upland forest, 65 acres of wetlands, and 20 acres of former agricultural land.

The property contains freshwater wetlands interspersed with ridges and islands of upland forest. The wetlands are classified into four distinct types: a large bog along the northeastern section of the property, emergent wetlands, shrub-dominated emergent wetlands, and an ephemeral pond along the north-central portion of the property. The southern border of the property includes the northern shore of North Chain Lake.

The NRC also granted final adoption for proposed amendments to 312 IAC 18-3-25, which will designate additional invasive terrestrial plants as pests or pathogens. This rule will prohibit and restrict the introduction, sale, distribution, and transport of these invasive terrestrial plants.

In other action, the NRC:

— granted final adoption to add 312 IAC 3-1-3.5, governing the participation and representation of a party to an adjudicatory proceeding pending before the NRC. The rule clarifies certain obligations of attorneys representing a party before the NRC and establishes standards for the representation of a party before the NRC by individuals who are not attorneys.

— received a report from the Division of Hearings regarding the establishment of the Tall Oaks Lake Conservancy District (Administrative Cause No. 18-109C) for the purposes of developing forests, wildlife areas, parks and recreational facilities in connection with beneficial water management; providing water supply, including treatment and distribution, for domestic, industrial and public use and; and for the operation, maintenance and improvement of works of improvement including, but not limited to, Tall Oaks Lake, Tall Oaks Lake Dam, and Tall Oaks Lake Water Supply and Distribution System.

— regarding the Division of Water, approved amendments to a non-rule policy document clarifying how the DNR addresses mitigation for impacts under the Flood Control Act and Navigable Waters Act.

The NRC is an autonomous board that addresses topics pertaining to the DNR. More details on these actions are available at nrc.IN.gov/2354.htm under “January Agenda.”

NRC members include the DNR director, heads of three other state agencies (Environmental Management, Tourism Development, and Transportation), six citizens appointed by the governor on a bipartisan basis, the chair of the DNR’s advisory council, and the president of the Indiana Academy of Science. The Academy of Science president and the agency heads, other than the DNR director, may appoint proxies to serve the commission in their absences.