WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WEHT) — Wildlife biologists in Indiana have been making efforts to save an endangered species found in the state, and now they’ll have a little more help.
The Indiana Division of Fish & Wildlife says they have been a longstanding partner with Purdue University in the effort to research and recover Indiana’s state endangered hellbender salamanders. Purdue’s new project aims to improve hellbender habitat in the Blue River watershed in Crawford, Floyd, Harrison, and Washington counties.
“Initiatives such as cover crops, riparian buffers, pollinator habitats, and protection of the region’s sinkholes will help preserve soil retention and nutrient availability for local famers. In addition to helping hellbenders, the improved water quality will also benefit mussels, macroinvertebrates, and other aquatic fauna,” says a spokesperson with the division.
Recently, two key players in the project were awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dr. Rod Williams and Nick Burgmeier of Purdue University were awarded the Regional Conservation Partnership Program grant to help fund the “Farmers Helping Hellbenders” project.
“It’s an important win-win scenario for both farmers and endangered hellbenders!” the spokesperson adds.
Officials say the project complements a series of State Wildlife Grants that Williams has received from the Division of Fish & Wildlife over the past decade and a half.