HUNTERTOWN, Ind., May 15, 2019 – This spring, ACRES Land Trust reforested 106 acres of marginal farmland, planting 55,000 native hardwood saplings on three of its regional nature preserves, setting a new pace in the nonprofit’s land management. Since 2016, the nonprofit has reforested 165 acres, planting nearly 100,000 trees on six preserves during a period of phenomenal growth in the organization’s work restoring and managing land.
“This is the most we’ve planted in a single year with our largest single-site planting, too,” says Casey Jones, director of land management for the organization’s permanently protected 7,094 acres. “As ACRES continues to acquire new land, our restoration work has rapidly become more efficient to meet our growing demand.”
ACRES planted trees, reforesting 80 acres of the Walter H. and E. Marie Myers Nature Preserve on Flowers Creek near Chili, 17 acres of the James P. Covell Nature Preserve south of Auburn and 9 acres of the James M. & Patricia D. Barrett Nature Preserve near Huntertown.
The organization credits planning, donor investment and volunteer support for its increased pace in restoration.
“By hiring new field staff and purchasing heavy equipment, we have more time to plan our approach, coordinate efforts and prepare sites. Plus, we can do simple things like pick up our own trees because we have a new trailer. When the weather cooperates and our forestry contractor shows up, we’re ready to plant.”
To effectively manage its seven thousand acres, the ACRES Land Management team prioritizes key project areas, achieving results through concerted effort over a period of time.
In DeKalb and Allen counties, ACRES reforested land within its Cedar Creek Corridor priority project area south of Auburn and near Huntertown. Cedar Creek is one of only three rivers in the state to be designated in Indiana’s Natural, Scenic and Recreational River System under the 1973 Act of the same name. ACRES helped the waterway earn this designation in 1976.
The nonprofit’s 157-acre Walter H. and E. Marie Myers Nature Preserve on Flowers Creek in Miami County is one such priority project. For five years prior to reforesting this preserve’s farmland, ACRES fought non-native invasive Ailanthus, or Tree of Heaven with funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). In this same time, volunteers hauled thousands of disposed tires from the preserve.
These lands are being conserved, in part, by funding and technical assistance made available as mitigation for habitat impacts anticipated to arise through construction of the Greentown Reynolds Transmission Line in partnership with the ACRES Land Trust and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.