The amount of land permanently protected for wildlife habitat and public recreation along the Wabash River continues to grow thanks to the DNR’s Healthy Rivers Initiative (HRI).
HRI recently acquired 1,048 acres from American Electric Power in the initiative’s Wabash River Project Area. The acquired land was previously leased by DNR as part of Fairbanks Landing Fish & Wildlife Area, which is south of Terre Haute. The land will continue to be part of Fairbanks Landing but is now permanently protected through DNR ownership.
The acquisition was made possible with funding assistance from conservation partners including: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy and National Wild Turkey Federation.
HRI is the largest conservation initiative to be undertaken in Indiana. The initiative is a partnership of resource agencies and conservation organizations who are working with willing landowners to permanently protect a combined 70,000 acres of bottomland in the Wabash River and Sugar Creek watersheds in west-central Indiana and along the Muscatatuck River in southeast Indiana.
This acquisition will increase the number of protected acres within HRI to 36,985, more than half of the overall goal.
HRI projects involve protecting, restoring and enhancing riparian and aquatic habitats for wildlife that includes migratory birds and waterfowl and threatened and endangered species. This initiative also benefits the public and surrounding communities by providing flood protection, increasing public access to recreational opportunities and creating tourism destination for outdoor enthusiasts.