Indiana News

DNR burns grasslands to promote habitat for endangered bird

OWENSVILLE, Ind. (AP) – State wildlife crews have burned hundreds of acres of grasslands in southwestern Indiana to keep a wildlife area in good shape for an endangered water-loving bird.

State Department of Natural Resources staffers conducted a prescribed burn Tuesday of 300 acres at the Tern Bar Slough Wildlife Diversity area about 20 miles northwest of Evansville.

DNR assistant non-game bird biologist Amy Kearns tells the Princeton Daily Clarion the burn cleared out young trees and will help promote “a nice mix of grasses” for the wildlife area’s population of least terns.

Indiana’s least tern populations have grown significantly since a single pair of the petite shorebirds was found in Gibson County in 1986.

DNR crews say they try to conduct prescribed burns before most reptiles and amphibians emerge from winter hibernation.