Help Protect Indiana Wetlands

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Martin Stoner

A bald eagle from St. Patrick’s Park in South Bend, IN.

Martin Stoner, Student Contributor

February second was World Wetlands Day, a day to celebrate wetlands and encourage steps forward for their conservation and protection. The Indiana Senate passed Senate Bill 389 on February second. Instead of taking a step toward wetland conservation, the Indiana Senate took a giant step backwards. This bill eliminates protections for state wetlands, with the aim to open up more land for development. KPC News writes that “One of the main reasons for removal of state regulation is to make it easier for developers with construction projects to not have to deal with red tape involved with working around wetlands…..hydric soils (flooded soils)…are not ideal, usually, for growing crops and are very unsuitable for building on. Common sense should tell us that these areas should be avoided.” It makes little sense to choose wetlands as the building site for homes. In all likelihood, this will only create further problems in the future with flooding, property damage, and the possibility of tainted drinking water.

Besides the obvious problems with building on flooded land, there is also the immense problem of further habitat loss. 85% of wetlands in Indiana have already been drained or lost. But why are wetlands important? As the Hoosier Environmental Council states, “Wetlands are vital to a healthy ecosystem and water resources. They provide water purification and critical wildlife habitat. Wetlands act like giant sponges in the landscape absorbing 1 – 1.5 million gallons of water per acre which reduces flood risk”.

This bill has been called “the most dangerous piece of environmental deregulation we have seen in decades” by the Indiana water quality group White River Alliance. As citizens of Indiana, we at John Adams should have a voice in this decision. We can do our part by urging our state representatives to oppose SB 389 as the bill moves to the House. For many of us here in South Bend, Maureen Bauer is our representative. Her email is h6@iga.in.gov and the phone number for her legislative assistant is 1-800-382-9842. Contact your representative and urge them to oppose Senate Bill 389!

You can follow this format to email your representative:

Email subject: Oppose SB 389 in the House!
Email body:

Representative (insert name),
Please oppose the upcoming SB 389. Our wetlands are a vital part of our natural resources here in Indiana. They have already been drained and destroyed enough. Please do what you can to oppose this bill. Opposing it might not be easy now, but looking back you will know it was the best thing for us as hoosiers and for future generations. Swamps and wetlands might not seem like much, but they are part of what sustain biodiversity and ultimately maintain the balance that keeps us healthy and well. Please do your part by opposing this bill!

Best wishes,
(Insert your name)
South Bend, Indiana