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Money Monday: How the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Uses Tax Dollars



By Michelle Cain

Feb. 3, 2020

Welcome back to Money Mondays! This month we’ll be highlighting the great work done by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR). When you think of DNR you most likely think of Indiana’s awesome state parks. But there’s a lot more to DNR.

DNR has 20 divisions all focused around protecting, enhancing, preserving and wisely using Indiana’s natural resources, employing over 1,200 individuals year round in addition to over 1,500 intermittent employees during the recreation season (May through October).

Not all work done is funded by state tax dollars as many federal grants are used. However, many things you enjoy are. Let’s explore those.

Did you know DNR has a law enforcement division tasked with protecting your natural resources? They have over 200 conservation officers that operate 10 law enforcement districts throughout the state. These officers are authorized to enforce all state laws and form the state’s oldest law enforcement agency, keeping you safe while in the woods or on the water.

While State Parks charge entrance fees that fund most of their work, some state tax dollars go to support these properties. If you like hiking, camping, swimming or any other type of outdoor recreation, DNR’s over 30 state parks and recreation areas are the place for you. In fact, it is estimated they host over 17 million visitors each year.

Another less known division is the Division of Water, which regulates the development near Indiana’s lakes and waterways, among its other responsibilities. Want to make sure your well is constructed properly? DNR’s water division does that. They also help local communities develop flood plans, issue permits for the alteration of shorelines, lakes, and rivers, and regulate dams.

One last division to highlight is the Division of Nature Preserves. This DNR division works to preserve natural areas to support endangered, threatened and rare species as well as to provide recreation opportunities for Hoosiers. With nearly 290 nature preserves in Indiana representing over 53,000 acres, this allows a large amount of hiking, bird and wildlife watching and plant identification.

While we only focused on a few divisions today, check out the DNR website to learn more at dnr.IN.gov.

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