The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has secured a key piece of the Healthy Rivers INitiative by purchasing 3,475 acres of Fairbanks Landing Fish & Wildlife Area from Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) and reaching an agreement to continue managing the rest of the site.
The DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife has managed the site since 2005 under a lease agreement with I&M. The lease expired two years ago and the utility company was considering selling a large portion of the property.
The recently completed deal is a model of a government-private enterprise partnership to preserve a natural habitat for wildlife and public recreation. The Nature Conservancy, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Conservation Fund partnered with the DNR on the purchase to ensure Fairbanks Landing remains open to the public.
In addition to the acreage purchased, the lease agreement between I&M and DNR to manage the remaining 5,000-plus acres owned by I&M has been extended so the entire Fairbanks Landing FWA will remain intact at more than 8,000 acres.