Paul Labus, TNC program director for Northwest Indiana points out a swale that exists between the ancient lakefront beach ridges.
Luckily, DuPont Natural Area in East Chicago was spared the ravages of nearby industrial development. This rare dune and swale habitat is now protected for future generations to enjoy.
Eastern prickly pear cactus is surprisingly common in Indiana, especially in the drier, sandy areas of the dune and swale areas of northwest Indiana.
The marked contrast of the swale habitat vs. the savanna habitat on the ridges makes for an interesting and varied landscape at the DuPont Natural Area.
Butterfly milkweed, black-eyed Susan's and other savanna species are enjoying a resurgence at Dupont Natural Area due to restoration techniques, such as controlling invasive species and implementing a prescribed fire regimen.
Butterfly Milkweeds have a large taproot that allows them to tolerate drought conditions as well as the generally drier conditions on the dune ridges of DuPont Natural Area.
The long-headed thimbleweed is also known as the "candle anemone" and can be found at the DuPont Natural Area in East Chicago.
Oak savannas, because of their mixture of grassland and oak forest, typically are home to more plant species than grasslands and forests.
Downy phlox, found at the DuPont Natural Area, has sharp-pointed leaves as one of its characteristics.
Paul Labus of TNC, Matt Mikus of the Post Tribune and Scott Ireland of EPA walk across a road on top of a swale at the DuPont Natural Area.
Improving Wildlife Habitat
See the latest results of restoration initiatives at the DuPont Natural Area in East Chicago, which is adjacent to current endeavors to clean up the Grand Calumet River.