Partnership Week 2020 – Stewardship Partners

Orbis Botanist Nathanael J. Pilla monitoring the Little Calumet River
Orbis Botanist Nathanael J. Pilla monitoring the Little Calumet River

Our Stewardship program is dedicated to the use of wise management principles to enhance and restore the lands and waters we protect. An enormous amount of collaboration and strategic planning with national, state and local partners must take place to enable our experienced staff to implement this work across our diverse nature preserves here in northwestern Indiana.

Over the last 11 years, we have protected over 500 acres in the Little Calumet River Conservation Corridor with financial support for the protection and restoration of these sites from Bicentennial Nature Trust, NFWF’s Sustain Our Great Lakes and Chi-Cal Rivers Funds programs, Laura Hare Foundation, and many individual donors.

Over the past year, with support from Land Trust Alliance, we embarked on Climate-Resiliency Strategic Planning project for the Corridor.

Together with detailed habitat assessments conducted with support from Orbis Environmental Consulting, along with guidance and expertise from the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, we went through a Climate Change Response Framework assessment process, and met with partners that work with us in this project area including Save the Dunes, The Wetlands Initiative, Openlands, and Audubon Great Lakes to review what was found through this process and determine how to apply this knowledge to our management decisions going forward.

The project allowed us the capacity to further research local climate predictions and other climate adaption plans. Through this, our stewardship staff has become better informed on climate change and how it is expected to impact our natural areas. This project also helped us form new partnerships through our commitment to climate initiatives, and we are partnering with Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy to enhance some areas of Ambler Flatwoods Nature Preserve over the next year.

To learn more about this initiative, watch the presentation that our Stewardship Director, Eric Bird, gave to Urban Waters – NWI, which is a large partnership initiative of which we are part.