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NRC Grants Final Adoption of Biennial Wildlife Rules
Indiana Ag Connection - 05/16/2018

The Natural Resources Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to withdraw a rule proposal that would have authorized a bobcat hunting and trapping season, and another proposal that would have required nuisance wild animal control permit holders to euthanize raccoons, opossums and coyotes.

Proposed changes to other rules that involved the possession or sale of bobcats were also withdrawn from the DNR's biennial wildlife rules package. A modification was given to some language (in 312 IAC 9-10-11) governing reporting requirements for nuisance wild animal control permit holders.

After making these amendments, the NRC granted final adoption to the rules package, which includes a number of amendments to 312 IAC 9, which governs rules relating to wildlife.

The actions took place at the NRC's regularly scheduled meeting at Fort Harrison State Park. The NRC granted preliminary adoption to the original biennial rules package in September 2017, starting the rule-change process.

The most significant of the wildlife rule amendments that were granted final adoption as part of the rules package include:

- Allowing the hides and carcasses of legally harvested furbearers taken during the season to be kept year-round by hunters and trappers without a special authorization or permit.

- Adding several bats and the rufa red knot (a federally threatened bird) to the state's endangered-species list.

- Removing the osprey and several mussels from the state's endangered species list.

- Adding Elkhart, Kosciusko and Noble counties to the fall wild turkey firearms hunting season.

The rule package that was presented to the NRC today is on the NRC's website is at nrc.IN.gov/files/Ex_H.pdf. It does not reflect the changes made at today's meeting.

Once the rule package has been signed in its final approved form, it will be sent as a part of an assembled rule package to the Office of the Attorney General for review. The Office of the Attorney General has 45 days to conduct its review. Upon approval, the Office of the Attorney General will forward the proposed rule amendment to the Governor. The Governor then has 15 days, which may be extended by an additional 15 days, to approve or disapprove the rule package as it was forwarded to him. If the Governor neither approves or disapproves the rule package, it is deemed approved by statute. The rule package, if approved or deemed approved, is then filed with the publisher (the Legislative Services Agency). In most cases a rule becomes effective 30 days after it is accepted for filing by the publisher.

During the meeting, the NRC also approved Glacier's End, in Johnson County, as a new nature preserve. The action increases to 285 the number of state-designated sites protected by the Nature Preserves Act.

Glacier's End Nature Preserve covers 298 acres and lies approximately 3 miles south of Trafalgar, in the county's southwest portion, within the Brown County Hills Section of the Highland Rim Natural Region. The land borders Laura Hare Preserve at Blossom Hollow and Bob's Woods Conservation Easement. The new designation extends the amount of contiguous forestland where the Wisconsinan Glaciation ran into the Brown County Hills to more than 550 acres.

Central Indiana Land Trust, Inc. owns and will manage Glacier's End Nature Preserve. The Benjamin Harrison Conservation Trust assisted with acquisition of the nature preserve.

In other actions, the NRC ...

- Considered petitions to establish or increase slip rental rates for the 2019 boating season that were filed with the Commission by Fourwinds Resort and Marina operated on Monroe Lake, and Hoosier Hills Marina operated on Patoka Lake. The Commission approved the findings and recommendation of the hearing officer. The Commission's findings and recommendations will be forwarded to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for final approval.

- Accepted the hearing officer's report as the report of the Commission on the Petition for Formation of Lake George Conservancy District. The Lake George Conservancy District is being proposed for purposes of (1) flood prevention and control, and (2) the operation, maintenance, and improvement of a work of improvement for water-based recreational purposes. The Commission's report will be filed with the Steuben County Circuit Court for consideration in Case #76C01-1711-MI-000330.

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