Brown County State Park and Abe Martin Lodge may be closed beyond Thursday. There is still too much sediment from last weekend’s heavy rainfall coming into the system to allow the production of potable water. State Parks staff members are contacting guests with reservations through Thursday evening in the campground and at the Abe Martin Lodge with cancellation notices. With additional heavy rainfall predicted, closure beyond Thursday is still a day by day decision.

Staff members are working in partnership with DNR’s Division of Engineering, consultants and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to ensure when the park reopens there is safe drinking water and water for all needed uses across the park.

Help Build Fish Habitat At Monroe Lake

Volunteers can improve fish habitat at Monroe Lake by building structures on June 25. The volunteer day is part of the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Reservoir Aquatic Habitat Enhancement Program (RAHEP). RAHEP builds fish habitat in reservoirs where natural structure is lacking.

The work day will run from 5:30am to 7:30 p.m. at the DNR’s Bloomington office, located at 5596 E. State Road 46. Volunteers will assemble 40 wooden structures from lumber. The structures when placed into the lake will give fish a place to live and hide from predator fish.

Monroe Lake is a nearly 11,000-acre reservoir near Bloomington. It was chosen for the program due to the property’s strong partnerships with local entities. It will be the final volunteer day planned for Monroe Lake, as more than 200 structures have been built and placed in the lake already.

DNR fisheries biologists will place the structures on the lake bed in the summer and fall. Once structures are placed, the project map will be updated to show their GPS coordinates depth and structure type. Current structure placement locations can be found at https://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/7665.htm.

Volunteers should dress for working outside, and bring snacks, water, protective eyewear, gloves and cordless drills. Volunteers are encouraged to register in advance at wildlife.IN.gov/8301.htm. Unregistered, walk-in volunteers are welcome as well.

Learn more about RAHEP at wildlife.IN.gov/7665.htm.

Three Women Injured In ORV Accident

Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating a single-vehicle ORV accident in Blackford County, resulting in a woman being airlifted to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne for treatment for critical injuries. Two other adult female passengers were also treated at Blackford County Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

At approximately 5:17pm, June 16, officers were dispatched to the 3700 block of East State Road 18. Per the initial investigation, Cynthia Beeks (62, Montpelier) was operating a side-by-side UTV in a field. Beeks attempted to take a sharp turn at a high rate of speed, causing the ORV to roll over, pinning her beneath. Her two passengers, Tammy Garrett (48, Alexandria) and Kristin Roberts (48, Alexandria) both suffered minor injuries.

All three were transported by ambulance to Blackford County Hospital. Due to the seriousness of the injuries, Beeks was then helicoptered to the Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne.

The women did not have permission to operate an ORV in the field where the accident occurred. None were wearing protective gear. The investigation into the incident is still ongoing.

Other agencies responding to the scene include the Montpelier Police Department, Montpelier Fire Department, Montpelier EMS, and Hartford City Fire Department.

Family Saved In Water Rescue

Indiana Conservation Officers responded to a call about multiple individuals in the water clinging to a stranded off-road vehicle (ORV).

The incident took place around 3:00pm, June 16 on County Road 100 North near the State Sanatorium Bridge. The group was riding a side-by-side ORV and attempted to cross a flooded portion of the roadway with a swift current. The ORV was swept off the roadway into Little Raccoon Creek and was lodged on a large rock.

Indiana Conservation Officers used an airboat to reach the victims and safely return them to shore. No injuries were reported during the incident. As a result of the emergency response efforts, Jeffrey Riddle, 61, Mari Riddle, 25, and three juveniles all of Rockville were safely rescued.

Indiana Conservation Officers discourage attempting to drive across any flooded roadways regardless of whether a current is visible.

Parke County Sheriff’s Department, Parke County EMS, and Bellmore Volunteer Fire Department assisted at the scene.

Learn To Create Native Grassland

Private landowners are invited to attend a native grassland and pollinator habitat workshop at the Sullivan Soil and Water Conservation District office on June 25 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The workshop will be led by a biologist involved with Indiana DNR’s Grasslands for Gamebirds and Songbirds (GGS) program. Landowners will learn about the GGS initiative, how to create native grassland and pollinator habitat on their land, and about the financial assistance available to them for habitat development. For more details on the workshop, see bit.ly/2I9qL2j.

Sullivan and Clay County residents interested in pollinators, wildlife viewing, hunting, or conservation-minded land management are encouraged to attend. More workshops will be held throughout southwestern Indiana. Registration is required. To register, call Sullivan County Soil and Water Conservation District at 812-268-5157.

For more information on GGS, visit on.IN.gov/Grasslands or contact Adam Delucenay at adelucenay@dnr.IN.gov in northern Indiana, Emily Jacob at ejacob@dnr.IN.gov in southwest Indiana, or Nate Yazel at nyazel@dnr.IN.gov in southeastern Indiana.

In Indiana several grassland wildlife species, like bobwhite quail, ring-necked pheasant, Henslow’s sparrow, and loggerhead shrike, are in decline. Developing grassland and pollinator habitat on private land is essential for their survival. Learn more about the importance of Indiana’s grasslands at youtube.com/watch?v=Sk2ven6z1rc.

Readers can contact the author by e-mail at jackspaulding@hughes.net

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