WHAT’S GOING ON AT BISMARCK HILL?
CONTROLLED BURN SCHEDULED FOR BISMARCK HILL
As part of the overall dune restoration project, the Michigan City Park and Recreation Department will be conducting a controlled burn at Bismarck Hill. Controlled burning is an irreplaceable ecological restoration tool, which mimics the wildfires of Pre-European settlement. Many of northern Indiana’s native plant communities are fire dependent and require the reintroduction of fire for the benefit of native flora; with oak savannas and woodlands being particularly dependent upon prescribed fire. Controlled burns promote native plants to produce more flowers and seed by recycling nutrients and exposing the soil to the warming of the sun, increasing the growing season and decreasing non-native competition.
A burn plan has been generated and shared with the Michigan City Fire Department to ensure the work will be conducted in a safe manner that accomplished the ecological goals of the project. The prescribed burn will be conducted after several days of drying weather in order to maximize the effectiveness of the burn. South winds will be required in order to direct any smoke generated out over the lake and away from nearby homes and the zoo. It is anticipated that the burn will be conducted between November 20th and the end of the year.
WHAT: An exciting restoration project. The Park Department, with funding through the Michigan City Redevelopment Commission, is conducting a restoration project on approximately 20 acres. You may hear chainsaws, see large piles of brush, and small controlled burn fires.
WHERE: Bismarck Hill, a set of three sand dunes encompassing approximate 30 acres just east of the Washington Park Zoo.
WHY: We want to bring the dune back to its native state. We have plans for adventure course attractions which will highlight the dune habitat and our coastal region while protecting this great natural resource in Michigan City.
WHEN: Now through late fall.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP: We have installed signs along Lake Shore Drive and Center Street reading “KEEP OUT: Wildlife Restoration Area.” Please respect the signs and stay out of the area while we complete this very sensitive and important work.
BENEFITS: Native communities provide substantial benefits; long-term reduced maintenance costs, carbon footprint reduction, improved soil stability, excess nutrient filtration, stormwater runoff reduction, aesthetic enhancement, and increased habitat diversity for insects, birds, amphibians, and mammals.