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Friday, May 6, 2016

Carter returns to Brazil to explain DNR role

Monday, February 16, 2009

(From left) Carl Nickey and Mike Heaton speak with the director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Rob Carter Jr., former Clay County Sheriff, Monday night. [Order this photo]
Former Clay County Sheriff Rob Carter Jr., the current director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, spoke with Brazil residents Monday night about his role within the department.

"In order to do my job, I have to know a little bit about a lot of things," Carter said to those in attendance. "I went from being in charge of 40 employees to 4,000 employees."

Carter explained the different divisions of the DNR and how they work together.

"When the floods hit last June, there were 10 divisions of the DNR working on flood related activities," he said. "People were checking dam levels, flood levels and we were deciding what the proper course of actions that should be taken."

The DNR is the third largest agency in the state. It is in charge of 500,000 acres, 24 state parks and 130 recreational properties.

"We are constantly looking for into land acquisition and restoration of land," he said.

Currently the DNR is looking into the target species of quail, grouse and pheasants, Carter said, as well as invasive plants, that have the possibility of choking out trees.

Audience members asked questions regarding the deer problem, and what is being done to combat it.

"When it comes to deer, our only tool is the American hunter," he said. "Even with 106,000 deer killed last year, if the hunter don't control the problem then mother nature will, which is evident with blue tongue disease."

Though a law was just passed where apprenticeship-hunting licenses could be bought for children 18 and under, Carter still encourages the use of hunting courses.

He also touched on the North American Bald Eagle being brought back from extinction.

"There are 90 nesting pairs of Bald Eagles in Indiana," he said. "We try to find a balance with Mother Nature."

When asked about the budget challenges that the country is facing and how it is affecting the DNR, Carter was optimistic.

"We haven't had any layoffs, but we haven't hired anyone, so positions are not being filled," he said. "We have had to eliminate equipment purchases but we are making it work. If it hadn't been for the June floods we would've had a record breaking year on all fronts."

With the high gas prices and the economic decline, Carter remarked on the increase in tourisms in the state parks and lodgings, which has increased revenue.

This increase in tourism has also allowed for children to appreciate the outdoors, which is something that Carter wants to continue and urge parents to do.

"We have to raise our children to appreciate the outdoors, because if we don't then the DNR won't last," he said.

For more information about the DNR log onto www.dnr.in.gov, the Clay County Republican Club meets every third Monday of the month at 7 p.m., at the Clay County Senior Center.

In March Debbie James and Mark Barnhart will be discussing properties taxes and reservations are being taken for Lincoln's 200th birthday celebration. It will take place at Center Point United Methodist Church at 6 p.m., and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller will be speaking. It is $25 for single ticket or $200 for a table.

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