MUNCIE, Ind. The Red-tail Land Conservancy has launched a plan that will guide its work to preserve land in eastern central Indiana for the next 10 to 15 years.
The Local Land Fund’s strategic conservation plan prioritizes ecological biodiversity, natural area connectivity, water quality, carbon sequestration and public accessibility, it was announced Tuesday.
“There is no unlimited money or time to protect the land most vulnerable to being affected by urban development, habitat loss and the effects of climate change,” Red-tail CEO Julie Burgman said in a statement. “It allows us to quickly develop a roadmap to act in response to these rapidly increasing pressures.”
The Red-tail’s Strategic Conservation Plan (SCP) was developed over a two-year period based on scientific research and recommendations from ecologists in the area. Landowners and community members were interviewed for comment as well.
Use the Red-tail Geographical Information Systems (GIS) computer program to determine the location and area of land that will be most effective to reach your conservation goals.
Maps were created for different priorities: existing undeveloped natural areas, lands that connect or obscure natural areas, waterways and wetlands. When these individual maps overlap, the parts of the land that meet all criteria become apparent and will be identified as priority areas for conservation, which are the places where Red-tail will focus its efforts.
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SCP Priority Conservation Areas span across Madison, Delaware, Randolph, Henry, and Wayne counties. It includes rare wetlands, old-growth forests and all major regional rivers. Some wild border areas are already protected, which can create additional space or corridors for wildlife to migrate.
Red-tail has already begun incorporating SCP into its business. Goals expected to be achieved within a few years of the plan’s launch include: protecting rare habitats, supporting biodiversity, expanding habitat masses, improving water quality, restoring forests and wetlands to mitigate climate change, and creating universal public access to enjoy nature.
“The rivers, forests, wetlands, and wildlife that make up East Central Indiana are precious and irreplaceable,” Burgman said. “National studies have shown that land trusts with strategic conservation plans protect more than twice the land of those without it.”
The public is invited to explore SCP through the interactive StoryMap on the Red-tail website. Visitors can learn about priority conservation areas and how GIS maps work and take a test to see if their land has conservation priority items. The StoryMap can be found by visiting ForTheLand.org.
The Red-tail Land Conservancy is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that protects and connects habitats, and permanently preserves forests, meadows, and wetlands.