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DNR takes major step toward purchase of Goose Pond and Bee Hunter Marsh
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has taken a significant step toward purchase of the approximately 7,997 acres in Greene County commonly known as Goose Pond and Bee Hunter Marsh.

DNR Director Kyle Hupfer announced he has signed a letter of intent with Wilder Corporation of Delaware to acquire the land. The purchase price is expected to be approximately $8,000,000.

“The letter of intent paves the way for the DNR to acquire title to Goose Pond and Bee Hunter Marsh,” Hupfer said. “This is a project that I took to Gov. Daniels within a few days of my appointment as director of the DNR. The governor and the entire administration have been extremely supportive of the state acquiring this land for public use.”

The letter of intent is non-binding, however, Wilder Corporation has made a binding commitment that it will not market the property or entertain offers from other parties until November 1, 2005, unless DNR informs Wilder that it cannot consummate the deal.

Hupfer explained that funding for the purchase of the property will include contributions from several sources and with the help of a variety of partners. Funding tentatively includes federal grants from the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and donations from the Indiana Heritage Trust, The Nature Conservancy and Ducks Unlimited.

“This is a one-of-a-kind property and will be one of the most utilized and most productive fish and wildlife areas in the state of Indiana,” Hupfer said. “It will draw hunters and bird watchers from across the country and has the potential to provide a major positive economic impact to Linton and the surrounding area.”

The Goose Pond unit is a glacial wetland basin drained by Black Creek and Brewer Ditch within the White River drainage basin. It lies within the Ohio River ecosystem. This project will restore one of the most significant waterfowl use areas in Indiana due to its size, historic use by wildlife, proximity to federal and state owned natural areas, and location near the Wabash and White rivers.

Because it is located between the Wabash and White rivers, the property is ideally suited to receive migratory bird flights. While mallards make up the majority, other species making significant use of the area including black ducks, pintails, gadwalls, American widgeon, wood ducks and teal.

The area can also be expected to become an important feeding and resting area for herons, egrets and the Greater Sandhill crane. Significant nesting use by bitterns and rails along the marsh edges is anticipated. The area will likely attract osprey, and northern harriers are already present. Restoration of some areas of bottomland forest will eventually provide new nesting habitat for neo-tropical migrant birds.

Marshland fur-bearers such as beaver, muskrat and mink will increase, as more habitat becomes available. Although otters have not been released close to this area, it is likely they could use it in the future as they continue to expand their range in the state.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service has previously acquired a conservation easement over most of the property. Their conservation efforts are designed to bring the property back into its natural marsh state. A major part of the topographical project is to create water holes of various sizes and shapes that will flood most of the property.

Further restoration efforts will provide habitat for amphibians and reptiles, including some threatened and endangered species. For example, the state-listed northern crawfish frog has already been documented at the site.

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