by Conner Forrest
The state of Indiana will create a new game bird habitat. Governor Mitch Daniels announced today that the bird habitat in Porter County will replace a former state prison in the area. It will be the state’s largest public habitat for game birds.
The project marks the second time in just over a year that the state has transferred land from the control of the Department of Corrections to the Department of Natural Resources. DNR spokesman Phil Bloom says the 1,250 acres of land was previously used for farming, but the department plans to restore the land back to its natural state.
“It will take management on the part of our Division of Fish and Wildlife to take what is currently been land that was being farmed for agricultural purposes and covert it back into a grassland prairie habitat,” he said.
Governor Daniels ordered the land to be set aside for conservation after pulling it from an auction listing scheduled for January. Bloom says the land’s natural state is grassland prairie habitat, so that’s what the focus of the restoration will be. He says the project’s goal is to attract ground-nesting game birds, but the habitat should draw other kinds of wildlife as well. Bloom says he is excited to see the project begin.
“I don’t know what kind of timeline-what the next step is, but we’re extremely happy to be able to acquire this property and make it available to the public,” he said.
The land will provide a habitat for pheasants and quail, as well as deer, wild turkey, and migrating waterfowl. Recreational hunting and fishing will be available within state regulations and guidelines.