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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

DNR Home > About Us > What We Do What We Do

The mission of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is to protect, enhance, preserve, and wisely use natural, cultural, and recreational resources for the benefit of Indiana's citizens through professional leadership, management, and education.

To satisfy such a broad and diverse responsibility, the Department is divided into two distinct areas of responsibility: the Regulatory Management Team; and, the Land Management Team. The Regulatory Management Team consists of the Divisions of Water; Entomology and Plant Pathology; Historic Preservation and Archeology; Reclamation; and Oil and Gas. Outdoor recreation and land management programs are housed within the Land Management Team. That unit consists of State Parks and Reservoirs; Nature Preserves; Land Acquisition; Fish and Wildlife; Outdoor Recreation and Forestry.

ENGINEERING

Designing a new park inn; restoring a campground facility; coordinating road projects or utility construction; or overseeing restoration of a cultural or historical site, and plotting handicap accessible trails for hikers and hunters. The Division of Engineering is a multi-disciplined team of professionals

ENTOMOLOGY AND PLANT PATHOLOGY

Staff inspect and license nursery stock; support and advise beekeepers and honey industry; inspect and certify international shipments of grain and plant stock; and, scout for exotic and invasive species.

FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Division of Fish and Wildlife manages the state's fish and wildlife thorough professional research, regulation of hunting, fishing and trapping, and restoration of rare species. The fish and wildlife division also stocks fish in public waters, offers hunting, fishing and wildlife watching on division properties, provides access to public lakes and rivers, and offers advice and incentives to landowners for development of wildlife habitat. Hunting, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, trapping, camping, and even photography are some of the adventures to be found at F&W properties scattered throughout the State. Staff relies heavily on citizen input to design and apply professional wildlife practices to both public and private lands to improve habitat, promote wildlife management, and increase recreational opportunities.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

Enforcement and education are combined to protect and encourage the wise use of Indiana's natural resources. Officers conduct hunter, boater, snowmobile and trapper education. Specialty units use boats, snowmobiles and off road vehicles to respond to river rescue, underwater search and recovery, and natural disasters. In addition to enforcing State law, they are uniquely trained for investigations in homicides, boat accidents, wildlife forensics, and other environmental sciences.

FORESTRY

Supports multiple uses: recreation, timber production, watershed protection, hunting, and healthy fish and wildlife populations. District Foresters can assist landowners with inspections and management plans tailored to satisfy individual forest stewardship objectives. State nurseries provide stock for landscaping, windbreaks, fire control, and other uses.

NATURE PRESERVES

Identifies, protects, and manages assortment of natural areas in order to maintain viable examples of all of Indiana's natural communities. The same attention is applied to endangered, threatened, or rare species. The Indiana Natural Heritage Data Center is used to locate and keep track of Indiana's rarest plants, animals and natural communities.

WATER

The Division of Water is a regulatory and public information agency, having diverse responsibilities associated with the evaluation of Indiana's water resources, and development near Indiana's waterways and lakes. Regulatory responsibilities include floodway construction, floodplain hazard analysis, lakebed and shoreline alteration, dam safety, conservancy districts, water use, and water well construction. The Division provides useful public information related to water availability throughout Indiana, water use, and participation in the National Flood Insurance Program. Supplies a vast array of water resource information for individual citizens, industry, environmental groups, and government agencies; primarily responsible for programs including floodway construction, dam safety, flood hazard planning, flood plain regulations, conservancy districts, and water well construction.

HISTORIC PRESERVATION AND ARCHAEOLOGY

Historic Preservation Grants; Indiana Cemetery and Burial Grounds Registry; Indiana Cultural Resources Management Plan; National, and Indiana Registers of significant historical sites; and, more than 47,000 known archeological sites contain endless clues to who and what came before us - and their significance.

STATE PARKS AND RESERVOIRS

There is no end of ways for visitors to enjoy and experience the wondrous variety of Indiana's natural features face-to-face. Ride or hike through a forest; romp on the Dunes of Lake Michigan; sail, boat or ski on a reservoir; re-live Indiana settlement life at Spring Mill; study nature with a Naturalist; enjoy a primitive camp, or get a room at one of the Inns; meet the family for a picnic; or, enjoy wildlife in the natural setting.

OIL AND GAS

Regulates petroleum exploration, production and site closing activities, underground injection control, and geophysical surveying. Offers a variety of services to industry, public and other government entities including permit review, site inspections, water and soil sampling, well and pit location surveys and remediation of damage from abandoned well sites.

OUTDOOR RECREATION

A source of grant funding and assistance with master plans for park boards. Staff prepare and publish the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). The Streams and Trails section coordinates many of Indiana's trail projects including snowmobile and off-road vehicle trails, the Knobstone Trail, and Water Trails. The division also has GIS specialists, who maintain the Indiana Trails Inventory and assist with research and planning. A ready source of technical assistance for the development and support of outdoor activities. Includes community park planning; hiking and snowmobile trail development and maintenance; off road vehicle recreation; Rails-Trails assistance; and, advice for biking, canoeing, recreation grants and other forms of recreational planning.

RECLAMATION

Administers State and federal programs for the surface mining of coal, clay, shale, or oil shale, and the restoration of lands disturbed for the extraction of these minerals. Permits and monitors active coal mines; designs and oversees construction projects restoring lands disturbed, but improperly reclaimed; responds to citizen inquiries; partners with private landowners, as well as larger citizen groups for other coal related mining and land restoration issues.

HERITAGE TRUST - LAND ACQUISITION

The Indiana Heritage Trust, which was initiated in 1993 as a way to buy more natural areas for future public use. The IHT uses proceeds from the Environmental License Plate (the eagle/sun plate) to buy land. They've bought some 30,000 acres so far with this money.

COMMUNICATIONS

Serves as the DNR information resource center to many audiences through public relations and the news media. Responsible for publication of Outdoor Indiana magazine, annual guidebooks (Fishing, Hunting, Recreation), and management of content on the DNR website. Provides photographic and graphic arts services to other DNR divisions. Generates news releases and online communications tools for news media, and connects media contacts to appropriate program areas.

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