NOBLE COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – More than 150 acres of wetland and prairies are being added to a conservation area in Noble County, thanks to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

The 158-acre expansion, announced Wednesday, will bring more opportunities to fish and hunt at the Mallard Roost Wetland Conservation Area. The addition also continues the reserve’s mission to conserve prime wildlife habitat.

The new acreage has been deemed the Buchanan Unit, and it’s expected to open to the public in spring 2024, DNR said in a release.

“By protecting a larger scope of grassland, forest, and wetland habitat at Mallard Roost, Indiana’s gaining an incredible asset for both wildlife and outdoor recreation,” said DNR Director Dan Bortner. “We are thankful for all partners who have helped us put this area into the public trust and protect its natural and recreational resources now and for future generations.”

Quails, turkeys, pheasants, and other birds will call the Buchanan Unit home, DNR said in the release, as the department has been working to restore upland bird habitat.

The land was acquired through a partnership between DNR and the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation. Financial backing came from the National Wild Turkey Federation, funding from the Next Level Conservation Trust, and private contributions from donors through Northeast Indiana Partnerships and Preservation.