A $600,000 grant resulting from a legal settlement equips the Central Indiana Land Trust Inc. (CILTI) to add to the properties it protects in Johnson and Shelby counties.
Under the terms of the grant from American Electric Power, the funds will be used to purchase additional land at CILTI’s Meltzer Woods Nature Preserve and Hills of Gold Conservation Area. The 60-acre Meltzer Woods Preserve in Shelby County stands as one of Indiana’s last fragments of old-growth forest. Johnson County’s Hills of Gold Conservation Area – which includes CILTI’s Laura Hare Preserve at Blossom Hollow, Glacier’s End Nature Preserve and a conservation easement connecting the two – offers a remarkably diverse terrain and one of the most biodiverse forested areas in Indiana.
The funds provided come from American Electric Power (AEP), Indiana Michigan Power’s parent company, under a legal settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, eight states, and 13 citizen groups.
The settlement included an agreement by AEP to invest $3.5 million to improve air quality and to reduce pollution in Indiana through various projects. The AEP settlement monies are being overseen by an oversight committee that includes Citizens Action Coalition, Clean Air Council and Indiana Wildlife Federation, with the Sierra Club as a non-voting member and Environmental Law & Policy Center as a non-voting legal advisor and facilitator.
“These funds will allow us to protect more of Indiana’s natural heritage in areas that have unparalleled biodiversity and significance,” said Cliff Chapman, executive director of CILTI. “We’re delighted to have this opportunity to make these areas available for study and enjoyment forever.”