Southern Lake Michigan Rim

Preserving nature in a diverse landscape.

The Southern Lake Michigan Rim Project (SLMR), encompassing parts of Lake, Porter and LaPorte Counties in Indiana. The Southern Lake Michigan Rim is home to nearly 30 percent of Indiana's rare, threatened, and endangered plant species, as well as over 350 bird species that live in or migrate through the region year-round. For over 15,000 years, prolonged glaciation and the constant movement of soil, wind, and water have led to an incredibly diverse range of habitats in the SLMR project-area that cannot be found anywhere else in the state.

The SLMR continues to face many threats from urban development and pre-regulatory industrial practices. These activities have lead to:

  • the introduction of invasive species that can potentially take over entire areas
  • complications in land-protection efforts due to the proximity of adjacent landowners
  • fire-suppression, which disrupts the balance between species and results in the conversion of rich wetlands to shrub swamps and bush thickets
  • disruption of predator-prey relationships, and increased likelihood for lesser genetic variation between species, ultimately leading to endangerment or extirpation

For several decades, The Nature Conservancy has partnered with multiple organizations to protect this unique and incredibly valuable region from these harmful effects. Great progress has been made:

  • The Nature Conservancy has acquired black oak savanna, prairie, dune and swale, boreal and morainal forests, and other habitats in the SLMR project area in addition to those already protected by the Indiana Dunes State Park and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
  • In partnership with the Indiana DNR, Lake County Parks, Save the Dunes, and the US Environmental Protection Agency, The Nature Conservancy has focused extensively on restoring dune and swale habitat in the Grand Calumet Area of Concern (AOC).
  • The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, provided by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, has funded the cooperative preservation of the Grand Calumet AOC.
  • The Nature Conservancy partnered with DuPont Corporation to control invasive species and establish Karner blue butterfly populations, which are federally endangered.

Learn more about the history of the Southern Lake Michigan Rim and The Nature Conservancy's ongoing efforts to protect this vital region.