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Indiana Dunes Restoring Endangered Butterfly Habitat

Indiana Dunes State Park and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore are restoring wild blue lupine, the main food source of the endangered Karner blue butterfly.

Karner Blue

Photo: USFWSmidwest

The Karner blue butterfly population has decreased by 99 percent in the last 15 years.

Indiana Dunes State Park and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore are working together to restore a 32-acre section of the park to promote black oak savanna restoration.

The project aims to reestablish the habitat of an endangered butterfly.

The Karner blue butterfly population has fallen 99 percent in the last 15 years, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Indiana Dunes State Park property manager Brandt Baughman said several factors, such as the presence of invasive plants, have choked the savannah that hosts the main food source for the Karner blue.

“Primarily, what we’re fighting is some of the natives, that have just been very aggressive, and due to the fragmentation of our system and fire suppression, natural wildfires haven’t been through the area,” Baughman said.

The park created a prescribed fire earlier this year in preparation for the restoration, and a contractor will soon come in to remove remaining small woody undergrowth to promote black oak savannah restoration.

Baughman says the area is a portion of the popular Trail 9, which has been recognized as one of the best trails in Indiana and the Midwest.

Baughman says the project is scheduled to start this winter and last about four months.

Will Healey

Will Healey is a reporter for WFIU/WTIU News. He has studied Creative Writing and Philosophy at Fordham University in New York and Journalism at Indiana University's School of Journalism. He is excited to be part of the team and report on issues that impact the lives of Hoosiers.

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