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    Southern Indiana Designated Sentinel Landscape

    Southern Indiana Designated Sentinel Landscape

    Courtesy Photo | The Southern Indiana Sentinel Landscape is a holistic and macro-scale approach to...... read more read more

    IN, UNITED STATES

    02.15.2022

    Story by Jeff M. Nagan 

    Naval Support Activity Crane

    More than 3.5 million acres in Southern Indiana have been designated as a Sentinel Landscape, part of a federal program aimed at strengthening military readiness, conserving natural resources, protecting critical habitat, enhancing America’s working lands, and helping prepare Indiana for environmental changes.

    The Sentinel Landscapes partnership, comprised of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Defense (DoD), and Department of Interior (DOI), announced Southern Indiana as one of three new additions to the Sentinel Landscape program, and one of only ten in the country.

    Southern Indiana is home to four critical Department of Defense installations and associated ranges, including Naval Support Activity Crane, Lake Glendora Test Facility, Atterbury-Muscatatuck Training Center, and the Indiana Air Range Complex. The region also contains six state parks, seven state forests, nine state fish and wildlife areas, 39 state-dedicated nature preserves, three National Wildlife Refuges, and the Hoosier National Forest.

    “This designation ensures we continue to protect Southern Indiana’s beautiful landscape and at the same time preserve our nation’s critical military mission here at home,” said Governor Eric J. Holcomb. “In doing so, we’ll bolster regional economic development and the employment opportunities that come with it, alongside our federal and military partners. Indiana’s proud to do both, enhancing national security and our state’s natural resources.”

    The Sentinel Landscape partnership includes federal, state, and private entities. Key partners in Indiana include: Conservation Law Center at Indiana University Maurer School of Law; The Nature Conservancy; Indiana Economic Development Corporation – Defense Development Office; Indiana Department of Natural Resources; Indiana Defense Task Force; The White River Military Coordination Alliance; and numerous local and state-level conservation organizations.

    “It’s no exaggeration that the Sentinel Landscape is one of the biggest conservation projects in Indiana history,” said Christian Freitag, Executive Director of Conservation Law Center and Clinical Associate Professor of Law at Indiana University. “It’s an example of how conservation can be an across-the-board win when the right partners work towards common ground. Even more, the Sentinel partnership we've assembled shows our shared recognition that conservation projects help our economy and improve our quality of life.”

    Southern Indiana contains a number of agencies and organizations focused on rural economic development, agricultural heritage, and natural area conservation. This designation aims to build upon existing conservation partnerships and military protections that are of mutual benefit.

    “This project is another example of how the Conservation Law Center’s expertise and ability to build coalitions is the right medicine at the right time for the most pressing environmental challenges facing our state and country,” said Austen Parrish, Dean of the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University. “We couldn’t be prouder to partner with CLC and the incredible Sentinel team on this important opportunity.”

    In addition to improving landscape resilience by maintaining and connecting healthy forests, the project also addresses habitat needs of various native species, including the federally endangered Indiana bat and federally threatened northern long-eared bat. Likewise, Southern Indiana Sentinel Landscape partners plan to focus on river and watershed protection by implementing regional watershed management plans along with state and federal wetland and waterway programs.

    “Ensuring Southern Indiana remains a safe haven for native species and conservation of natural lands is critical,” said Larry Clemens, State Director of The Nature Conservancy in Indiana. “This designation gives us important private and public sector tools and expands upon critical partnerships to protect lands, improve water quality, enhance climate resiliency, and preserve the beauty and splendor of Southern Indiana.”

    In addition to Southern Indiana Sentinel Landscape, Camp Bullis Sentinel Landscape in Texas, and the Northwest Florida Sentinel Landscape were also designated. For more visit, https://go.usa.gov/xteqq/.

    “DoD is proud to support the growth of the Sentinel Landscapes partnership and add Camp Bullis, Northwest Florida, and Southern Indiana to the list of designated sentinel landscapes,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Real Property Ron Tickle. “These new landscape designations will leverage DoD funding and programs to protect the missions at 14 key DoD installations and ranges, protecting essential testing and training operations, enhancing resilience to climate change, and preserving our nation’s natural resources and working lands.” 

    For more information on Southern Indiana Sentinel Landscape, visit https://sentinellandscapes.org/landscapes/southern-indiana/.

    More about Sentinel Landscapes
    USDA, DoD, and DOI define Sentinel Landscapes as areas in which natural and working lands are well suited to protect defense facilities from land use that is incompatible with the military's mission.

    Once the partnership designates a location as a Sentinel Landscape, USDA, DoD, and DOI work with local partners to equip private landowners with the resources necessary to carry out sustainable management practices on their properties. Sustainable management practices such as farming, ranching and forestry not only offer economic and ecological benefits, but also protect defense facilities from incompatible development that can constrain the military's ability to carry out training and testing activities.

    Sentinel Landscapes accomplish their objectives by connecting private landowners with voluntary state and federal assistance programs that provide agricultural loans, disaster relief, educational opportunities, financial and technical assistance, and funding for conservation easements.

    For more information about Sentinel Landscapes visit sentinellandscapes.org.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 02.15.2022
    Date Posted: 02.15.2022 13:21
    Story ID: 414659
    Location: IN, US
    Hometown: BLOOMINGTON, IN, US
    Hometown: INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US
    Hometown: TERRE HAUTE, IN, US

    Web Views: 859
    Downloads: 0

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