TIPPECANOE — Lakes depend on natural wetlands that filter and store water, while providing habitat for numerous animals and birds. These areas are critical to the health of the area’s beautiful lakes that provide so many opportunities to local families and businesses.
In the early 1980s, the wetlands on the western shore of James Lake (known locally as Little Tippy Lake) were slated to be dredged, filled and developed. The developers plans endangered fish, plants, wildlife and the health of the entire lake.
A coalition formed to save the wetlands, including the Lake Tippecanoe Property Owners Association, The Nature Conservancy, Camp Crosley/YMCA of Muncie and the Edmond and Virginia Ball Foundation, who generously contributed a majority of the funding needed to secure this land for the sake of the lake. Funding from the Edmond and Virginia Ball Foundation has officially protected both sides of this iconic channel.
Thanks to the Edmund and Virginia Ball Foundation’s funding and leadership, the 220-acre wetland Ball Wetland Nature Preserve was established to protect this important natural area.
Recently, wetlands across the channel from the Nature Preserve were under a similar threat. The landowners contacted The Watershed Foundation seeking a solution that would provide them income while at the same time preserving this iconic channel for the benefit of the lakes and many families that enjoy this serene area.
Generous community partners again stepped up including the LTPO, Camp Crosley/YMCA of Muncie, and the Edmund and Virginia Ball Foundation. Through their cooperative efforts and generous funding from the Edmond and Virginia Ball Foundation, these five acres are the newest addition to the Ball Wetland Nature Preserve. Indiana Department of Natural Resources oversees this property and welcomes the addition of the high-quality wetland within the preserve which includes open marsh, tall shrub swamp, red maple swamp forest and upland “islands” dominated by black oak and several rare plants.
The Watershed Foundation was founded in 1997 to protect and improve water quality in the Upper Tippecanoe River Watershed; spanning from Crooked Lake in Whitley County to the Warsaw-Winona area. During the past 20 years, TWF has worked with farmers and lake residents to implement more than 200 water quality improvement projects. In the last three years alone, these efforts have prevented more than 556 million pounds of weeds and algae from growing in area lakes and streams.