Red-tail Land Conservancy Protects the Habitat Important to Wildlife

Red-tail Land Conservancy
Buck Creek Wetlands sits in a remote section of Henry County, surrounded by agricultural fields. Photo courtesy of Red-tail Land Conservancy.

Earlier this month, Red-tail Land Conservancy acquired a 44 acre wetland in Henry County to safeguard the wildlife that is at risk and restore water quality.

Alongside Buck Creek near Summit Lake State Park, Buck Creek Wetlands will work as a sanctuary to birds as they seek out nesting sites close to the lake. As the owners, Red-tail Land Conservancy (RLC), a non-profit headquartered in Muncie thats mission is to completely preserve habitats necessary to wildlife in east central Indiana, Buck Creek Wetlands is now protected forever.

Buck Creek Wetlands were producing agricultural fields to some degree which have been restored into a wetland complex of ponds as well as prairie grasses. By disrupting surface field tiles, the natural flow of water in the wetland has been returned. As part of the Blue River Heritage Corridor, this secured habitat has the unique soil conditions to support threatened and endangered plants and wildlife.

RLC is funded completely by private contributions from individuals, business, and also foundations. Buck Creek Wetlands was donated to Red-tail to ensure its long-term maintenance by Central Indiana Mitigation Bank (CIMB). Central Indiana Mitigation Bank restored the wetlands to compensate for unavoidable impacts on wetlands at other locations in the White River watershed.

Julie Borgmann, executive director of Red-tail Land Conservancy said, “ Being the conservation partner with mitigation projects is an excellent role for Red-tail. We can steer the projects to areas which will have the greatest impact and follow through on our promise to preserve and protect the land forever.”

Over the past century, most wetlands in Indiana have been transformed into agriculture with a growing number of acres lost every year. As a natural sponge, this wetland can capture and slowly release floodwater from Buck Creek, protecting downstream communities. The rich soil of wetlands leads to abundant plant life that will offer the food and shelter needs of diverse wildlife, including fish, frogs, turtles and birds.

Red-tail Land Conservancy Protects the Habitat Critical to Wildlife
Red-winged blackbirds are common in East Central Indiana and can be found in wetland habitats. © 2008 Walter Siegmund

“ The restoration of the formerly prairie wetlands of Buck Creek would bring very real benefits to the wildlife and the water quality at the local as well as state level” said Tom Swinford, Assistant Division Director of Nature Preserves Management at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. “DNR Nature Preserves supports Red-tail Land Conservancy in this effort.”

Buck Creek Wetlands is specially important due to its proximity to 2 other protected habitats that support similar plants and wildlife. Due east is Barry’s Swamp, another habitat protected by Red-tail Land Conservancy, and Summit Lake State Park. The latter is remarkably popular for the variety and number of birds that migrate across or nest in the region.

These 3 wetland habitats combined allow migratory birds multiple places to rest on their thousand-mile journeys. Connected habitats means there is more space for wildlife to find food and shelter. Moreover it expands the variety of food available, creating a far more robust food web in case of disease or extinction.

Though wetlands provide special opportunities for fishing and birding, reducing human contact allows wildlife security and safety to live undisturbed. Non-public nature preserves like Buck Creek Wetlands close to frequently visited parks provide that sanctuary.

Jeff Ray, a member of Red-tail’s Land Acquisition Committee said, “ It is important work for RLC to preserve natural heritage wetland communities in all of Henry County.”

About Red-tail Land Conservancy 

Red-tail Land Conservancy is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that protects and connects habitats where wildlife and people can thrive together forever. By preserving and restoring the dynamic vitality of forests, prairies, and wetlands, Red-tail Land Conservancy plans for a future where the natural beauty of east central Indiana will exist for generations to come. More information on public trails, volunteering, and conservation is at www.fortheland.org.

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