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New Indiana DNR director: Fish and wildlife coal will remain
Spaulding Outdoors
By Jack Spaulding

Some say the Grinch will put coal in your Christmas stocking. Not so in Indiana, as newly appointed DNR Director Rob Carter isn’t the Grinch, and he won’t let go of any fish and wildlife area coal. Carter recently announced a “no go” status for the proposed sale of coal from the FWA citing public input along with little, if any support for trading mining rights for other lands.

So… coal found during exploratory drilling in late summer at Glendale Fish and Wildlife Area will stay there.

DNR Director Rob Carter’s announcement came after the review of exploratory drilling results was received December 11, and the assessment of feedback from an October 11 public meeting in the Glendale area on the subject.

The DNR had contracted with mining company Black Beauty, Inc., to determine if there were viable coal reserves at Glendale. The drilling data obtained showed the area to hold substantial coal; however, the overwhelming majority of people at the meeting opposed mining the area. In the months following the public meeting, the DNR received no indication of public support for the mining proposal. The lack of backing resulted in Carter’s announcement.

Carter’s decision came despite the finding of a coal reserve that could have been mined and appeared to be merchantable. But, as DNR representatives said in the October public meeting, any mining plan would have to be with the agreement of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and have some local support. Lacking local support, the DNR opted to not forward a plan to U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

DNR’s sale of coal from public lands has, in the past, resulted in significant bonus lands coming into state ownership, as well as a market-rate payment for the coal itself.

“There appears to be a viable coal reserve in the area of Glendale where the exploration was conducted,” Carter said. “However, as Governor Daniels and (former) director (Kyle) Hupfer said this fall, for actual mining to take place, there needed to be both local support and support from hunters and fishermen around the state for us to go forward. That support never materialized.”

Carter said efforts to expand state public land holdings preserved for hunting and fishing would continue, using other means than profits from coal mining.

DNR eagle watch programs
Three DNR properties are hosting bald eagle viewing events this winter. Hoosier bird watchers interested in an eagle encounter of the best kind will have three opportunities. The Eagle Watch Program is being conducted at: Patoka Lake in south central Indiana on January 13; Monroe Lake near Bloomington on February 1-4; and at Cecil M. Harden Lake near Rockville on February 10.

Winter is an ideal time to view bald eagles in Indiana because they are easier to spot among bare trees and because resident birds are joined by a large number of northern eagles spending the winter around Indiana’s larger ice-free reservoirs and rivers.

Patoka Lake’s event includes eagle watching caravans and a close-up look at eagle C-52, a live bald eagle residing permanently at Patoka Lake’s visitor’s center. For details and reservations, contact Patoka Lake at 812-685-2447.

This winter’s Monroe Lake Eagle Watch Weekend takes place at FourWinds Resort in Fairfax State Recreation Area on the west side of the lake.

The Thursday-to-Sunday event includes birding hikes and tours to eagle hot spots around the property. For details, call 1-800-824-2628.

Cecil M. Harden Lake will host morning and afternoon Eagles in Flight programs on February 10 at Raccoon State Recreation Area near Rockville. Call 765-344-1884 for details.

Eagle Watch program participants should dress for cold weather, have cars fueled for viewing tours and bring binoculars or a spotting scope. Each property charges a small program fee.

Property maps and DNR outdoor interpretation information are available online at: www.IN.gov/dnr/parklake/interpretiveservices/programs/schedule/

A copy of the Monroe Lake Eagle Watch Weekend schedule and FourWinds Resort reservations are available at: www.eaglesatlakemonroe.com/

Light goose conservation season
Indiana hunters will once again get a chance at a greatly lengthened waterfowl hunting opportunity this year. In short, Hoosier hunters need to help reduce the number of “light geese” traveling through Indiana on their annual migration. The light goose impact on the arctic tundra is becoming a devastation threatening many other specie of wildlife.

Indiana will again participate in the light goose conservation order during 2007. The season runs February 1 to March 31, 2007. The conservation order will be effective statewide, except at Muscatatuck and Big Oaks national wildlife refuges.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service believes light geese migrating through the Mississippi and Central flyways have been experiencing a rapid increase in population,” said DNR waterfowl biologist Adam Phelps. “The large number of these geese is causing destruction of their arctic and subarctic breeding grounds. The conservation order is an attempt to reduce the population to prevent further habitat degradation and to ensure the long-term health of the population.”

Lesser snow and Ross’ geese are referred to as “light” geese due to the light coloration of the white-phase plumage form, as opposed to “dark” geese such as the white-fronted or Canada goose. Both plumage forms of snow geese (“snow” and “blue”) come under the designation light geese.

The same regulations and restrictions applying during the regular waterfowl season also apply during the conservation order, exceptions included are as follows; (1) a free permit is required, (2) unplugged shotguns and electronic calling devices are allowed, (3) shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset, (4) there is no daily bag or possession limit on lesser snow geese (includes blues) and Ross’ geese.

In addition to the free permit, a valid hunting license and signed Indiana waterfowl stamp (unless hunter is exempt) are required. Neither a HIP registration number nor a federal duck stamp is required.

Beginning in January, free permits can be obtained at any state fish and wildlife area or reservoir office.

Waterfowl hunting regulations are available online at: www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/huntguide1/waterfowl.htm

New Indiana record goldeye fish
A new state record goldeye has now been certified by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Brian Crockett of Terre Haute, Indiana, caught the fish from the Wabash River on March 26, 2006. The fish weighed 2.16 pounds, and stretched a little more than 17 inches from lip to tail. The goldeye record has been broken four times since 2003.

Goldeye resemble shad or herrings, and are found in the Mississippi River drainage and in Canada, where they are considered a delicacy.

Indiana record fish factoids are available online at: www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/recordfish/recordfish_factoids.htm

This farm news was published in the Jan. 3, 2007 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.

1/3/2007