The Nature Conservancy has purchased a number of tracts in southwest Indiana which feature oil wells in addition to high quality natural communities and rare species. Saunders Woods in Gibson County and Twin Swamps in Posey County are examples of lands with significant ecological features purchased by The Nature Conservancy which are underlain by oil, and have mineral rights owned by another party.
Sanders Woods is an 880-acre tract containing the largest wet-mesic old growth forest left along the lower Wabash River; it also contains nine producing oil wells. Twin Swamps is a 600-acre preserve initially purchased by The Nature Conservancy and transferred to the Department of Natural Resources - Division of Nature Preserves, who now owns and manages it. Twin Swamps is named for its two wetland communities: an overcup oak slough and a bald cypress slough. This preserve also had several producing oil wells, but a cooperative project with the oil well operators resulted in closing the wells. The challenges and opportunities involved in managing these old growth forests and cypress sloughs in harmony with oil extraction operations will be discussed.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90926©1999 AAPG Eastern Section Meeting, Indianapolis, Indiana