Twin Swamps at Point Township Complex in Posey County
Point Township Complex Twin Swamps at Point Township Complex in Posey County © Ron Leonetti

Places We Protect

Point Township Complex

Indiana

This complex epitomizes Indiana's low country and exudes the character and feel of the Deep South.

Why You Should Visit 

Found at the lowest elevation in Indiana, Point Township Complex in Posey County is a group of natural communities that display Deep South character. Flatwoods is the primary natural community type, but within the area are ancient river channels, which today are manifested as the deep sloughs, swamps, and ponds that characterize the region. The preserves also exhibit a treasure trove of state significant sites as well as rare plants and animals. Twin Swamps was dedicated as a State Nature Preserve in 1987.

What The Nature Conservancy is Doing/has Done  

Beginning in 1986, the Conservancy and the DNR have methodically protected land throughout the township in order to preserve the diversity of ecosystems, rare plant species and uncommon animal species that make its home in the Point Township Complex preserve. Prescribed burns are also applied at the Section 6 Flatwoods to allow sunlight to reach understory plants and to maintain the state-endangered buffalo clover which requires fire or soil disturbance to germinate its seeds.

These preserves are owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy and the Indiana Division of Nature Preserves. Work done in them is in partnership with the Indiana Division of Fish & Wildlife, Indiana Heritage Trust, and Natural Resources Conservation Service.

What to See: Plants and Animals

Scattered bald cypresses along with dense stands of green ash, sugarberry and silver maple trees make the canopy of Gray Estate Cypress Slough. White milkweed, catbrier, lizard's tail, spiderwort, and buttonbush plants can also be spotted throughout this wetland.

Section 6 Flatwoods is an uninspired name for a rare ecosystem home to a diversity of plant and tree species. Walking through the preserve expect to see post oak, false aloe, yellow star-grass, Sampson's snakeroot, starve panic grass and small skullcap on the dry hillsides; wetland plants like the swamp white oak, wild iris, black-footed quillwort, swamp oval sedge and purple fringeless orchids; and several prairie plant species such as purple milkweed, blazing star, rattlesnake master and American feverfew. Apparently, the preserve doesn't need such a flashy title when the flora has such colorful names.

At Slim Pond and Goose Pond, populations of fish, reptiles, amphibians, wading birds and waterfowl are to be found near the deep ponds. Native pecan trees and naturally occurring bamboo and can provide the cover for the wet floodplain forest. Keep an eye out for poison ivy and stinging nettle, prominent in many areas of the preserve, while the dainty social sedge and the red leaf stalks of the blood lead plant add color and beauty.

The two swamps at Twin Swamps are less than identical as one is dominated by bald cypress along with their "knees" while the other is mostly overcup oak. Flatwoods of red maple, cherry bark oak, post oak, and shagbark hickory can be observed from the weaving trail located at the preserve. Some common plants include swamp cottonweed, buttonbush and some of the smallest flowering plants in the world - duckweed and watermeal. The Prothonotary Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and if you're lucky, the rare Yellow-crowned Night Heron and Fish Crow can be spotted overhead. Fish, frogs, and the eel-like siren live within the swamp as does snakes though they are rarely seen.

A trail at the Gray Estate Cypress Slough and boardwalk at Twin Swamps are the only developed pathways at the Point Township Complex. Expect wet areas all around the preserves, so dress accordingly.

For More Information

Division of Nature Preserves