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NATURAL RESOURCES COMMISSION

Information Bulletin #62 (First Amendment)

SUBJECT: Prospecting in Indiana


1. Purpose
The Navigable Waterways Act (IC 14-29), Flood Control Act (IC 14-28), and rules adopted at 312 IAC 6 and 312 IAC 10 govern prospecting in waterways in Indiana. "Prospecting" is defined in 312 IAC 6-2-6.8 as activities conducted in preparation for or to remove hard mineral resources, including (1) gold, (2) platinum, (3) silver, (4) lead, (5) copper, (6) diamonds and other gemstones, and (7) other similar materials. Rules adopted at 312 IAC 8 also govern activities on properties owned or controlled by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and require a permit for a person to conduct prospecting on a nonnavigable waterway within a DNR property. The DNR is the riparian owner for a navigable waterway that is adjacent to a DNR property and would be treated as any other riparian owner. This information bulletin provides guidance on locations where prospecting is likely to impact endangered species of fish and mussels, clarifies the permission required to conduct prospecting on navigable and nonnavigable waterways, and includes information on the proper disposal of contaminants that are found while prospecting.

2. List of Navigable Waterways and Definition of DNR Property
The list of navigable waterways can be found on the Natural Resources Commission's website at: https://www.in.gov/nrc/nonrule-policy-documents-npd/navigable-waterways-roster/ or a written request can be sent to the DNR, Division of Fish and Wildlife Environmental Unit, 402 West Washington Street, Room W273, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

"DNR property" has the meaning set forth in 312 IAC 8.

3. DNR Properties
Written permission must be obtained from the property manager, or from the property manager's designee, before prospecting in a nonnavigable waterway or in a riparian zone of a navigable waterway that is located along a DNR property. On a DNR property, only panning would be authorized. To obtain written permission for prospecting on a DNR property, a departmental form must be completed and submitted to the property's office. Organized events by private organizations may be subject to special event fees in accordance with 312 IAC 8-2-15. Using reasonable discretion, the property manager is authorized to issue, condition, deny, suspend, or revoke an application for prospecting. In the exercise of discretion, the following and other pertinent factors and principles apply:
(a) Proximity to sensitive archaeological, historical, or ecological resources. Examples include caves or areas that contain relevant rare, threatened, or endangered species, such as fish and mussels.
(b) A scheduled resource management activity, such as a prescribed burn.
(c) Any other factor reasonably consistent with proper use and protection of the particular DNR property, including implementation of a master plan.
A person who is aggrieved by a determination by the property manager may seek informal review from the division director. A determination by the division director is subject to administrative review by the Natural Resources Commission under 312 IAC 3-1.

4. Affected Persons with Riparian Ownership
For purposes of a navigable waterway that is located along a DNR property, a person who wishes to conduct prospecting shall proceed as described in section 3 of this information bulletin. A person who wishes to conduct prospecting in a navigable waterway that is not located along a DNR property must obtain written permission from an affected riparian owner. The DNR shall consider a person is an affected riparian owner for the adjacent portion of a navigable waterway that is (a) the lesser of one-quarter (1/4) of the width of the waterway or fifty (50) feet into the waterway from the ordinary high watermark; or (b) fifty feet (50) from any improvement of the riparian owner. Examples of an "improvement" include a diving platform, pier, or jetty. For a nonnavigable waterway, a person who wishes to conduct prospecting must obtain written permission from the property owner or owners.

5. Locations of Endangered Species
Indiana waterways contain mussels and endangered species of fish. A person shall exercise special care to avoid a "take" of mussels, mussel shells, and endangered species of fish, particularly in the locations listed below. "Take", as defined in IC 14-22-34-5, "means to (1) harass, hunt, capture, or kill; or (2) attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill". Please note this listing is not exclusive, and endangered species and mussels are also found in other locations.
Body of Water  County 
Big Creek  Posey County 
East Fork White River  Daviess, Pike, Dubois, Martin, and Lawrence Counties 
Eel River  Cass, Miami, and Wabash Counties 
Fish Creek  Dekalb and Steuben Counties 
Elkhart River  Elkhart County 
Hanna Creek  Union County 
Kankakee River  Lake and Newton Counties 
Maumee River  Allen County 
Mill Creek  Wabash County 
Ohio River  Vanderburgh, Warrick, Spencer, Harrison, Jefferson, Dearborn, Floyd, and Switzerland Counties 
Patoka River  Dubois County 
St. Mary's River  Allen County 
St. Joseph River  Allen, Dekalb, Elkhart, and St. Joseph Counties 
Salamonie River  Huntington County 
Sugar Creek  Johnson, Shelby, and Hancock Counties 
Wabash River  Carroll, Cass, Fountain, Gibson, Knox, Miami, Posey, Tippecanoe, Warren, and Wabash Counties 
Tippecanoe River  Tippecanoe, White, Carroll, Pulaski, Starke, Fulton, Marshall, and Kosciusko Counties 
White River (Main Stem)  Gibson, Pike, and Knox Counties 
Whitewater River (including West Fork of Whitewater River)  Dearborn and Franklin Counties 

6. Disposal of Contaminants
Lead, mercury, and other metal contaminants are routinely found by prospectors in Indiana waterways. When a contaminant is found in these waterways, it should be retained and taken to the nearest recycling center that accepts lead, mercury, and other metals. A list of these recycling centers can be found by contacting the county's Solid Waste Management District, contact information is available online at: https://www.in.gov/idem/recycle/, or call the Indiana Department of Environmental Management's Office of Pollution Prevention and Technical Assistance at 1-800-988-7901.

7. Contact Information
Questions can be directed to the DNR's, Division of Fish and Wildlife:
Linnea Petercheff
Indiana DNR, Division of Fish and Wildlife
402 West Washington Street, Room W273
Indianapolis, IN 46204
E-mail: lpetercheff@dnr.in.gov
Phone: (317) 233-6527

8. History
This Information Bulletin was first published in the Indiana Register on July 1, 2010 (20100602-IR-312100347NRA). On September 21, 2021, the Commission approved this First Amendment updating URL links and making other technical changes.

Posted: 10/20/2021 by Legislative Services Agency

DIN: 20211020-IR-312210448NRA
Composed: Nov 27,2022 3:45:04AM EST
A PDF version of this document.