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Considerable interest was expressed during the public work group process in protecting the unique natural areas of Northwest Indiana. A major factor in the protection of natural areas is maintaining or restoring corridors among natural habitat fragments.

This interest must also be viewed in the context of concerns by private property owners. Ideally, processes might be pursued which would protect fragile resources through voluntary actions.

The Lake County Parks Department provides a model for providing nursery stock using native plant species. State or other local agencies could be encouraged to develop similar programs.

The control of invasive exotic species was a major topic of concern. Zebra mussels, lampreys, and other exotics pose threats both to natural and economic concerns. Guidelines could be developed and communciated to the public to reduce the likelihood of inadvertantly transferring exotic species to new waters, such as by the transfer of vessels from one body of water to another. A "wash station" might be established at a marina as a model for species control.

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