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Drilling Fees Fund Hoosier National Forest Land Purchase

The property the Hoosier National Forest is purchasing has sensitive cave areas that are home to threatened and endangered species like blind cave fish.

The Hoosier National Forest is receiving $466,000 to purchase land that is home to threatened and endangered wildlife. The money comes from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which get most of its money from mitigation fees companies have to pay for offshore oil and gas drilling.

Hoosier National Forest spokesperson Judi Perez says the money they were given will go toward buying a 212-acre piece of land that butts up to the south-central part of the forest.

“The Lost River Drainage is really important because of the subterranean system and the fact that the water flows underground and there are all those caves and some important and new species to wildlife,” Perez says.

The Nature Conservancy bought the land in 2000 with the agreement that it would sell the property to the Hoosier National Forest when federal funding for the purchase became available.

The USDA is distributing a total of $40.6 million this year for similar projects in 14 other states.

“These projects will help ensure a long future of quality open space for those hunters and anglers, hikers, campers and other nature lovers who enjoy America’s great outdoors,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement released Thursday.

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