Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge
After more than 2 years of building advocacy, HEC and leaders from other Indiana conservation and environmental organizations were pleased by passage of the 2010 Interior Appropriations bill, which was signed into law early this year by President Barack Obama. The bill included $1.15 million in funding for land acquisition at the Patoka Refuge, allowing the refuge to acquire a 1,150 acre parcel containing critically-important wildlife habitats.
Established in 1994 with the purpose to restore bottomland hardwood forest habitats, the refuge`s purchase boundary covers 22,472 acres in Pike and Gibson counties, including 30 miles of the Patoka River, and at least 7,000 acres of bottomland forested wetlands, the most imperiled wetland type in Indiana and the American Midwest. At least 380 species of wildlife have been identified in the refuge area. Rare and endangered animals found at the Patoka refuge include the Bald eagle, Interior least tern, Indiana bat, swamp rabbit and northern copperbelly watersnake.
To date, 6,186 acres have been purchased by the refuge.