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Updated vegetation map of Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge using 2019 acquired imagery

September 10, 2021

Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is a 50,000 acre refuge overlaid on portions of the former Jefferson Proving Ground (JPG) in Jefferson, Jennings, and Ripley counties, Indiana. Beginning in 1996, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) began managing the area. Big Oaks NWR was established in June 2000 as an “overlay” Refuge through a 25-year real estate permit from the U.S. Army. As an overlay refuge, the U.S. Army retains ownership and the USFWS manages the property as Big Oaks NWR. Big Oaks NWR hosts a variety of different habitat types, providing for a diversity of wildlife species. The refuge is unique in that it contains one of the largest contiguous forest blocks and grassland complexes in southeast Indiana. Big Oaks has been recognized as a Globally Important Bird Area. Grasslands at Big Oaks NWR host many species which while once common but are now rare in Indiana. There is a large nesting population of Henslow’s sparrows as well as the Kirtland’s snakes and crawfish frogs, which all depend on grasslands at Big Oaks. The flatwoods at Big Oaks NWR is another important habitat type, which host several types of rare or endemic salamanders. While Big Oaks NWR is a refuge which encompasses much diversity, it did not have an up-to-date, detailed, and comprehensive vegetation map of its habitats. Vegetation mapping will help Big Oaks NWR monitor and record changes across the landscape. It will also serve as a baseline to track future changes on the refuge related to habitat restoration projects, flooding and drought, plantings, and invasive species treatments.

Publication Year 2021
Title Updated vegetation map of Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge using 2019 acquired imagery
DOI 10.5066/P9UE0CFT
Authors Erin E Hoy, Benjamin C Finley, Janis Ruhser, Andrew C Strassman
Product Type Data Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center