Nearly 20 years ago, Hoosier legislators took a far-sighted and important step to protect the vanishing wetlands in Indiana that the federal Clean Water Act doesn’t cover. Monday, the Indiana Senate Natural Resources Committee passed a bill that would strip those protections, Senate Bill 389.
Wetlands are critical parts of a healthy landscape that provide great benefits to the public far beyond man made infrastructure. They absorb rainwater runoff to prevent flooding and filter toxins and heavy metals, improving our drinking water and groundwater stores.
Formed by the glaciers 10,000 years ago, the unique soils and plants of a wetland support local and migrating wildlife. Ducks, herons, beavers, frogs, salamanders, turtles, and fish rely on wetlands for their survival. In bogs and fens, we find the greatest biodiversity in our state including rare, threatened and endangered species.
85 percent of Indiana’s wetlands have already been lost. In our conservation plan, wetlands are a priority.
Economic growth is important to our communities; Indiana’s current system allows for development and land protection to co-exist. While SB 389 would be a severe blow for Hoosier communities that benefit from the water quality, flood prevention, educational research, and recreational opportunities of the invaluable wetland habitat, it would be an irreparable disaster for wildlife.
As your land trust in east central Indiana for over 20 years, we have proven our mettle to enact strategic, judicious and forward-thinking plans that create places for wildlife and people to thrive. While it is our solemn practice to seek possibilities, not problems, the disastrous potential of SB 389 has caused us to speak up.
As your fellow partner in preservation, we urge you to learn more about SB 389 and voice your concerns to your State Senator. You can find your legislator’s contact information by clicking here.
Photo by Kyle Allen Johnson