Gov. Eric J. Holcomb joined the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and partners to celebrate the addition of 158 acres of upland prairie and wetland to Mallard Roost Wetland Conservation Area in Noble County, which received significant funding support from the Next Level Conservation Trust (NLCT).
“Powered by partnership and historic funding from the Next Level Conservation Trust, we’re setting aside thousands of acres across the state for the purpose of conservation,” said Gov. Holcomb. “Whether you love hunting, fishing, or viewing Indiana’s magnificent wildlife, this addition to our public lands in Noble County is a spot you’ll want to check out.”
The new property will be called the Buchanan Unit of Mallard Roost Wetland Conservation Area. It received $1.4 million in support from the NLCT, a $25 million program that funds the acquisition of land that preserves and protects important conservation, recreation, and historic areas throughout Indiana.
The NLCT is funded through the federal American Rescue Plan dollars appropriated by the General Assembly, and it represents the largest single infusion of dollars into conservation in Indiana history.
The property was acquired through a partnership between the DNR and the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation (INRF). Generous support from donors through Northeast Indiana Partnerships and Preservation provided the largest share of private contributions, with additional financial support provided by the National Wild Turkey Federation.
“It has been a privilege to be part of the effort to provide public lands in northeast Indiana,” said Tom Kelley of Northeast Indiana Partnerships and Preservation. “When groups come together with a common goal, it is exciting to see what comes from it. We are proud of what this property will be able to provide for conservation and the community.”
DNR has led the restoration of upland bird habitat on the Buchanan Unit, which provides a home for quail, turkey, pheasants, and other birds. Support for this work has been provided by the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Northeast and Eel River chapters of Pheasants Forever, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Tri-County Fish & Wildlife Area, which manages Mallard Roost Wetland Conservation Area, will continue working to improve the habitat at the Buchanan Unit and will build a parking area, with plans to open the unit to the public in spring 2024.
The addition of the Buchanan Unit demonstrates how the INRF can help acquire critical lands for conservation and public trust for the DNR in places where such opportunities might otherwise be missed.
“Growing public lands is important for wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation opportunities, and more,” said Jody Kress, INRF executive director. “Serving as a mechanism that helps Indiana permanently protect its natural spaces is exactly why our foundation was created.”