The Natural Resources Commission (NRC), during its regularly scheduled bi-monthly meeting on Sept. 17 at Fort Harrison State Park, approved the creation of a new nature preserve, Perfect Lake Nature Preserve.
The action increases to 289 the number of state-designated sites protected by the Nature Preserves Act.
Perfect Lake Nature Preserve contains 84.05 acres in Steuben County near Fish Creek. The majority of the property occupies a prominent esker (a long, narrow steep-sided gravel ridge) that offers great vistas over the lake. The upland forest is relatively young pioneer to early successional mesic forest. About 25 percent of the property consists of Perfect Lake and adjoining wetlands. It is owned by and under the administration of ACRES Land Trust.
The NRC also considered 13 citizen petitions regarding Fish & Wildlife rules.
Regarding a petition from the Indiana Ruffed Grouse Society, the NRC recommended to add the species to the state’s list of endangered birds in 312 IAC 9-4-14. As a result of the NRC’s decision, the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) will present rule language for preliminary adoption of this change at a future meeting. In the meantime, the ruffed grouse hunting season, which has been suspended since 2015, will continue to be suspended.
Regarding a petition governing the sale of native species of snakes, the NRC voted in support of the DFW’s recommendation to amend the native species list in Indiana to include the subspecies name for certain species of snakes and allow another method of marking the snakes instead of PIT-tagging, but not expand the native species of snakes that can be sold under a reptile captive breeder’s license.
The NRC declined to recommend for approval a petition that would have eliminated the bonus antlerless quota for Franklin County and would have changed all other deer licenses to allow only one antlerless deer to be taken in Franklin County. The emergency rule passed last week already reduced the County Bonus Antlerless Quotas (CBAQ) for deer hunting in Franklin County and the other affected counties in southern Indiana to a maximum of two.
The NRC agreed with the DFW’s recommendation to not move forward with the other citizen petitions, the most significant of which proposed the following changes to 312 IAC 9:
—Allow the use of 28 gauge and .410 shotguns and shot smaller than number 7 ½ for wild turkey hunting. The NRC, agreeing with part of the petition, assigned the issue back to the DFW and Advisory Council for further review regarding the use of the 28 gauge and .410 shotgun.
—Create an all-season antlered buck license and an all-season antlerless deer license.
—Start spring wild turkey season earlier in April.
—Allow the use of a crossbow by means of compressed air (an air-bow) to hunt deer in Indiana during the entire archery season. Instead, the NRC recommended the DFW move forward with an administrative rule for these crossbows that use compressed air to be used in the firearms season only, per the DFW’s recommendation.
—Increase the muskellunge size limit at Bass Lake in Sullivan County, and at Loon Lake in Noble and Whitley counties from 36 inches to 44 inches.
The DFW’s complete reports that address each of the citizen petitions listed above, as well as reports on the other citizen proposals on Fish & Wildlife rules, are listed at nrc.IN.gov/2350.htm under “Current Meeting Agenda.”
Regarding the Division of Water, the NRC received a report summarizing public meetings and making recommendations regarding the renewal of a water contract with The Golf Club at Eagle Pointe for water withdrawal from Monroe Lake under IC 14-25-2 and 312 IAC 6.3.
The NRC Division of Hearings ended the meeting by readopting 312 IAC 9, which governs standards for Fish and Wildlife, and 312 IAC 18, which governs standards for Entomology and Plant Pathology.
The NRC is an autonomous board that addresses topics pertaining to the DNR. More details on the actions regarding the Division of Water and the NRC Division of Hearings are also available at nrc.IN.gov/2354.htm.
NRC members include the DNR director, heads of three other state agencies (Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Indiana Office of Tourism Development, and the Indiana Department of 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.
To view all DNR news releases, please see dnr.IN.gov.