Contact: Lettie Haver
260-637-2273, ext 8
Photos by Joanna Stebing
BRISTOL, Ind., June 18, 2019 – ACRES Land Trust recently acquired a 23 acre addition to Eby Bog, north of Bristol, bringing a total of 33 acres, or about 95% of the bog under the organization’s permanent protection. With member support, ACRES protects 7,117 acres of forest, wetland, native prairie, unique natural features and working land on 114 properties regionally.
“As a bog, Eby Bog is one of ACRES’ most intact, undisturbed natural systems,” says Jason Kissel, executive director of Indiana’s oldest and largest local land trust. “Under our ownership, the bog is saved from the potential harm of future land owners scooping out accumulated sphagnum moss or peat, reversing this long, slow natural process of lake succession.”
A bog is an acidic wetland type formed as a nutrient-poor lake approaches the end of its lifecycle. The lake slowly fills in with accumulation of plant materials, such as sphagnum moss. Gradually the moss, decomposes creating rich peat over thousands of years.
Eby Bog is surrounded by a natural moat, like many bogs. Scott Namestnik, the consulting botanist for the bog’s initial botanical inventory, confirms it is home to at least one state-endangered plant: wild calla. Namestnik also discovered the state watch-listed mountain holly on site.
Highbush blueberry, leatherleaf and mountain holly dominate the bog’s acidic interior. The outer edges are home to a variety of plants including bladderwort. On sandier upland soil within the acquisition, lupine blooms.
For reasons yet unknown, Eby Bog doesn’t seem to be home to a few common bog-loving plants. Cranberry, pitcher plants and sundew are nowhere to be found, though they were emerging on nearby Elkhart Bog. “We’ve only conducted our first of three visits,” says Casey Jones, director of land management for the nonprofit. “We’ll keep looking.”
The ACRES land management crew will spend time eradicating buckthorn, cattails and phragmites over the next several years. The invasive plants are currently manageable, but could easily spread, taking over the property if not removed.
To save Eby Bog, the local land trust took a leap of faith, purchasing this place at auction with reserve funds established by anonymous donors to acquire such at-risk lands quickly. ACRES will raise funds for Eby Bog, restoring its reserve fund.
“We’re confident that people will see the value in permanently protecting this place,” says Kissel. “It’s essential that we replenish the reserve fund to save the next at-risk places.”
Eby Bog is surrounded by dense poison sumac and is too wet for trails.
In addition to Eby Bog, ACRES protects three bog systems: In western Kosciusko County, Glennwood Nature Preserve’s bog is visible from the trail. The bog within Spring Lake Woods and Bog in northwest Allen County is not accessible by the trail system for its protection. Quog Lake in LaGrange County is closed for safety; this quaking bog is not suitable for trails.
In December, using reserve funds, ACRES purchased a 25-acre addition to the Elkhart Bog at auction on behalf of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, a state agency with lengthy purchasing approval process. ACRES anticipates a DNR reimbursement within the year.
To date, ACRES Land Trust, Indiana’s oldest and largest local land trust, protects 7,000 acres on 100 properties in the tristate area, in perpetuity. Our 1,700 members make it possible to keep the land we love and value, for so many reasons, safe. With help, we’ll do more: join us. ACRES memberships start at $25 annually and help land thrive forever.