Four environmental groups have joined forces with the National Park Service to form a consortium dedicated to land preservation and protection in the Lake Michigan watershed.
Save the Dunes, Shirley Heinze Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy and the National Park Service are the charter members of the Indiana Coastal Land Conservation Alliance.
According to a statement issued by the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, the group "seeks to represent land trusts, other nonprofit organizations and government agencies whose missions are to protect, preserve and restore the natural ecosystems of the Lake Michigan watershed area of Northwest Indiana."
The group hopes to preserve, protect and restore natural areas, reduce the impact of development, educate the public on the importance of nature, encourage outdoor activities and public involvement in natural area protection.
"There have been many occasions when conservation entities have worked together for the benefit of the region," Constantine Dillon, superintendent of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, said the statement. "This alliance is a means to improve that communication and collaboration."
Kris Krouse, executive director of the Shirley Heinze Land Trust, agreed.
"This alliance demonstrates our ability to work strategically and collaboratively to preserve important natural areas for the benefit of everyone in Northwest Indiana," Krouse said.
Nicole Barker, executive director of Save the Dunes, said land conservation "is a core value of all of our organizations."
"This alliance reasserts our commitment to protecting natural resources through strategic partnerships," Barker said.
The groups stressed the alliance does not change or supersede the mission of the individual organizations.