Indiana Conservation Programs

Return to Programs

Federal data is complete from 1998-2017. State and local data is complete from 1998-2011. In the tables and charts below, acres are allocated to each program proportionate to the size of the contributions to each acquisition. For example, if an acquisition had two contributions, and each program contributed equal dollar amounts, each program receives 50% of the acres. If you have questions or want to provide updated information, please contact Jessica Welch at

Profile of State Program(s)

Indiana Department of Natural Resources: The Department of Natural Resources uses several revenue streams for land acquisition, including Natural Resources Damage Settlement money, state tax check-off donations, and public-access site money.

The largest source of funding for land conservation in Indiana is the Indiana Heritage Trust. The Indiana Natural Heritage Protection Act was passed in 1983 and was funded by a $5 million one-time general fund appropriation. The Indiana Heritage Trust was created almost a decade later in 1992, and is administered by the Department of Natural Resources. Funds are generated through the sale of environmental license plates, general assembly appropriations, and donations.

In addition to the Indiana Heritage Trust, the Bicentennial Nature Trust was created in 2012 to preserve and protect important conservation and recreation areas in Indiana. The state obligated $20 million in state funding to support the Bicentennial Nature Trust and the Lilly Endowment contributed a $10 million grant. A 1:1 match is required from foundations, local non-profit or philanthropic organizations, private donors, or bargain sales. Funds can only be used for land acquisition; capital improvements, stewardship, and programming are excluded uses of the funds.

Indiana Stream and Wetland Mitigation Program: The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is currently developing the Indiana Stream and Wetland Mitigation Program, an in-lieu fee program that will provide stream and wetland mitigation credits that can be used for compensatory mitigation for unavoidable impacts to select waters and wetlands.

While the program is still being developed and is subject to approval by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and an interagency review team, it is likely to include both fee simple acquisitions and conservation easements. Projects will acquire, restore or protect aquatic resources. The program is expected to open in 2016 and will be managed by Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Indiana Natural Resources Foundation, a not-for-profit organization created by the Indiana General Assembly to promote, support, assist, and sustain the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

The permittee will provide funds to an in-lieu fee sponsor, which must be a public agency or non-profit natural resource organization. Indiana Department of Natural Resources anticipates partnering with non-profit organizations, land trust, park departments and other groups on potential projects.

Local Financing Enabled

Indiana local governments have several funding options available to finance land conservation. These consist of property taxes, County Option Income Tax (COIT), general obligation bonds, and impact fees.

Local Programs Included

No local conservation finance measures have been approved by voters in Indiana. For more information, visit

Federal Partnerships

Federal agencies and programs that have conserved land in Indiana include:

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA)
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Section 6 Grant
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • U.S. Forest Service – Forest Legacy Program (FLP)
  • U.S. National Park Service
  • U.S. National Park Service – LWCF Stateside
  • U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service – Grassland Reserve Program (GRP)
  • U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service – Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)
Report Table
Dollar Chart by Year
Acre Chart by Year