Proposed underwater nature preserve to protect shipwreck near Indiana Dunes State Park
By Matt Mikus firstname.lastname@example.org September 5, 2013 4:44PM
The photo is from the DNR Division of Historical Preservation it is of the J.D. Marshall that went under the sea in Lake Michigan in 1911, during a return voyage from Michigan City to Chicago. | Photo Provided~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 7, 2013 1:14PM
The first underwater nature preserve in Indiana is scheduled to be approved by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources this month, preserving the wreck of the J.D. Marshall off the coast of Indiana Dunes State Park.
At an Environmental Management Policy Committee meeting Thursday, DNR program manager Mike Molnar said the new preserve is about 100 acres and about a quarter mile from the beach.
The designation will help preserve the ship that sank June 11, 1911.
The commercial vessel, built in 1891 in South Haven, Mich., sank when the ship sprung a leak during a storm while hauling sand. Four men lost their lives, and the ship now lies about 28 feet beneath the surface.
The largest risk to the ship is boaters attempting to anchor to the sandy bottom. Anchors often latch onto the wreck and can cause significant damage, Molnar said. Other protections include keeping any artifacts from the ship from being removed and protecting the area from exotic species.
The preserve will be marked with buoys during the summer, and mooring buoys will be located within the preserve for divers.
“People will still be allowed to dive,” Molnar said, “but we’re reaching out to the diving community to help self-police the area.”
The Natural Resource Commission will discuss and could approve the new preserve Sept. 17. A dedication is planned for Monday, Sept. 30 at Indiana Dunes State Park in Chesterton.
Oak research at Taltree
Taltree Arboretum and Gardens revealed a concept plan to create an oak tree preserve and research center.
Alexis Faust, president of Taltree Arboretum, displayed a plan that could be developed on the property. Potential ideas included an indoor facility that could provide research facilities, as well as dining and educational options for visitors.
The facility would be surrounded by a circular greenhouse that provides different environments for tropical and subtropical oaks to grow.
Faust said more than 400 species of oak have been identified, but efforts to preserve acorns longer than a year have so far been unsuccessful.
The oak preserve has no projected timeline or an estimated cost, but Faust wanted to bring the idea up to receive public feedback.