Photo credit: Maria Overlay

New Bill Would Galvanize Wildlife Conservation, Help Prevent Extinctions in Indiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

National Wildlife Federation Logo     

New Bill Would Galvanize Wildlife Conservation, Help Prevent Extinctions in Indiana

 

Indianapolis, IN (July 21, 2021) — New bipartisan legislation in the House and Senate will fund locally-led efforts to help prevent extinctions and help wildlife thrive nationwide. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will send approximately $14.5 million to Indiana each year, which the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IN-DNR) will use to help the over 150 species of concern in Indiana, such as the Whooping Crane, Lake Sturgeon, and our own Indiana Bat.

“We are facing a looming wildlife crisis. This commonsense, bipartisan bill will allow us to get ahead of the problem by stepping in to help at-risk wildlife early with collaborative, voluntary measures,” said Indiana Wildlife Federation executive director, Emily Wood. “This will also create jobs restoring our constantly threatened wetlands, prairies, and forests.”

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act was just introduced in the Senate by Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) introduced a similar version of the  Recovering America’s Wildlife Act in the House in April.

“The historic, bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is by far the most important piece of wildlife legislation in the past half century,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “At a time when more than one-third of wildlife species are at heightened risk of extinction, this critical legislation will help recover thousands of at-risk species through proactive, collaborative efforts in every state, territory, and Tribal nation, creating jobs while preventing extinctions. We applaud the incredible bipartisan leadership of Senator Heinrich and Senator Blunt, and their House partners Rep. Dingell and Rep. Fortenberry, who are all demonstrating once again that wildlife conservation can unite all Americans.”

Nationwide, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act dedicates $1.4 billion annually to locally-led wildlife restoration efforts, with most of the money going to wildlife agencies like IN-DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife who will use the money to implement existing plans for at-risk wildlife. At least 15 percent of the funds will be used to help species that are already considered endangered or threatened. Additionally, Tribal Nations would share $97.5 million annually to fund wildlife conservation efforts on the tens of millions of acres under Tribal management nationwide.

More than 1,500 businesses and organizations have signed on in support of the legislation, including Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Bass Pro Shops, Ducks Unlimited, Indiana Conservation Alliance, Indiana Wildlife Federation, Izaak Walton League, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, National Wild Turkey Federation and Wild Birds Unlimited.

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The Indiana Wildlife Federation has played a part in conserving Indiana’s natural resources since 1938. As the nonprofit, grass-roots affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation; IWF mission is to promote the conservation, sound management and sustainable use of Indiana’s wildlife and wildlife habitat through education, advocacy and action. 

 The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly-changing world.

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Funding for Agricultural Conservation Programs Essential to Moving Country to Net-Zero Emissions

Funding for Agricultural Conservation Programs Essential to Moving Country to Net-Zero Emissions

Mike Saccone, National Wildlife Federation, Apr 28, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A broad coalition of 133 conservation, farmer and rancher, sportsmen, and wildlife groups urged the leadership of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate agriculture committees in a letter to ensure the forthcoming infrastructure package includes robust funding for Farm Bill conservation programs and farmer assistance. They specifically urged Congress to double the investment in Farm Bill conservation programs and to ramp up conservation technical assistance funding.

“Increasing baseline funding for the Farm Bill conservation programs and ramping up conservation technical assistance on the ground will enable landowners to mitigate the impacts of drought and flood, improve habitat, improve soil health and long-term food security, create new job opportunities for rural economies, and galvanize the agriculture sector to lead the charge in our fight against climate change,” the organizations wrote in the letter.” We believe farmers, ranchers, and foresters are ready to move agriculture toward net zero emissions if they are provided the tools and resources to make that goal a reality. Action this year on the climate and infrastructure bill represents the best opportunity in decades to meet farmer demand for conservation programs.”

The letter’s signatories are the National Wildlife Federation, Alliance for the Great Lakes, American Farmland Trust, American Fisheries Society, American Grassfed Association, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Arkansas Wildlife Federation, Association of State Floodplain Managers, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, Blue Ridge Land Conservancy, California Climate and Agriculture Network, California Farmers Union, Capital Region Land Conservancy, Carbon180, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Center for Rural Affairs, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Chesapeake Conservancy, Clean Fairfax, Climate Land Leaders, Coastal Enterprises, LLC, Colorado Wildlife Federation, Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma, Defenders of Wildlife, Delaware Nature Society, Delaware Valley Ornithological Club, Delta Waterfowl, E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), Earthjustice, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Environmental Working Group, Florida Wildlife Federation, Inc., Food and Agriculture Committee, Sierra Club, Atlantic Chapter, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Foodshed Capital, Friends of the Mississippi River, Gallatin Valley Land Trust, Georgia Wildlife Federation, Goose Creek Association, Harpeth Conservancy, Hawaii Farmers Union United, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association, Healthy Gulf, Heart of the Rockies Initiative, Idaho Wildlife Federation, Illinois Council of Trout Unlimited, Indiana Wildlife Federation, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Iowa Environmental Council, Iowa Wildlife Federation, Izaak Walton League of America, Kalmiopsis Audubon Society, Kansas Wildlife Federation, Land For Good, Land Trust Alliance, League of Conservation Voters, Louisiana Wildlife Federation, Maine Farmland Trust, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Maryland Bird Conservation Partnership, Maryland Ornithological Society, Mass Audubon, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, Michigan Farmers Union, Minnesota Conservation Federation, Minnesota Farmers Union, Mississippi River Trust, Mississippi Wildlife Federation, Missouri Farmers Union, Montana Organic Association, Montana Wildlife Federation, National Association of Conservation Districts, National Audubon Society, National Center for Appropriate Technology, National Deer Association, National Farmers Union, National Organic Coalition, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, National Young Farmers Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council, NatureServe, Nebraska Farmers Union, Nebraska Wildlife Federation, Neighboring Food Co-op Association, Nevada Wildlife Federation, New England Farmers Union, North American Grouse Partnership, North Dakota Farmers Union, North Dakota Wildlife Federation, Northeast Organic Farming Association-Interstate Council, Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, Northwest Farmers Union, Ohio Conservation Federation, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, Oregon Climate and Agriculture Network, Organic Farmers Association, Organic Farming Research Foundation, Pasa Sustainable Agriculture, PennFuture, Pesticide Action Network, Pollinator Partnership, Prairie Rivers Network, Quivira Coalition, Rockbridge Area Conservation Council, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Rural Coalition, Salem Audubon Society, Savanna Institute, Saving Birds Thru Habitat, Sierra Club, Slow Food USA, Sociedad Ornitologica Puertorriquena, Soil and Water Conservation Society, South Carolina Wildlife Federation, South Dakota Wildlife Federation, Texas Conservation Alliance, The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Trout Unlimited, Union of Concerned Scientists, Unitarian Universalist Church of Roanoke, Utah Wildlife Federation, Virginia Association for Biological Farming, Virginia Conservation Network, Waterkeepers Chesapeake, Western Landowners Alliance, Wild Farm Alliance, Wildlife Mississippi, Wisconsin Farmers Union, Wyoming Wildlife Federation, and Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Biden Administration Reverses Rollback of Migratory Bird Protections

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Biden administration has taken an important step in protecting bird species by scrapping a controversial legal opinion that gutted the Migratory Bird Treaty Act’s protections for hundreds of species of migratory birds. The Interior Department is expected to soon issue a new proposal to revoke the rule based on that interpretation – which was ruled illegal by a court in a lawsuit brought by the National Wildlife Federation and other organizations.

“This bedrock law was designed to protect North America’s birds — whose populations have declined by 3 billion since 1970 — from harm, whether intentional or not,” said Mike Leahy, director of wildlife, hunting and fishing policy at the National Wildlife Federation. “We are extremely grateful to the Biden administration for righting this historic wrong and returning protections to America’s migratory birds. It is vital we safeguard these species and authorize a common-sense permitting approach to avoid further declines so that we may experience birds like whooping cranes and canvasback ducks for generations to come.”

Last week, the National Wildlife Federation and 29 of its state and territorial affiliates submitted a comment letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service thanking them for delaying implementation of the controversial rule, and asking the administration to move forward with a new rulemaking process.

Contact: Anna Vecchio, National Wildlife Federation, VecchioA@NWF.org, 202-797-6662

Indiana conservation program awarded $500,000

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
INDIANAPOLIS (June 8, 2020) — The Indiana Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) announced today it was awarded a grant totaling $500,000. This funding was provided from a legal settlement that was stewarded in part by the Indiana Wildlife Federation. These dollars will be used to increase the number of soil conservation practices in Indiana and improve water quality in watersheds located across the state.

CREP is a partnership between the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. The program seeks to reduce pollution and improve water quality by creating buffers and wetlands that will reduce high nonpoint source pollution from sediment, nutrient, pesticide and herbicide losses from agricultural runoff into the targeted watersheds near the Wabash and White Rivers. Participants remove cropland from agricultural production and convert the land to native grasses, trees and other vegetation, which remain in place for at least 14 years. Installing buffer practices and wetlands can also enhance habitat for wildlife, including state and federally listed threatened and endangered species.

In the last several years, there has been a high interest by landowners and a tremendous amount of enrollments in the CREP program, which has resulted in demand exceeding available funding. This demand will continue to increase as participants continue to enroll land into the program. In order to cover this demand, ISDA applied for grant support in the amount of $500,000 from the American Electric Power Mitigation Money Fund, a fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation. Additionally, this $500,000 support will leverage over $3.5 million of federal USDA dollars that will go to landowners to make improvements.

“This funding will go a long way in helping to implement conservation practices such as filter strips, wetland restorations and bottomland timber plantings which will reduce pollution and improve water quality,” said Julie Harrold, the ISDA CREP Program Manager.  “We are very grateful for this support toward the CREP program.”

Emily Wood, Executive Director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation, is thrilled to see more producers and land owners benefit from the CREP program.

“We were excited to award to the CREP program because it aligned so well with the goals of settlement and ISDA’s goals of targeting some of Indiana’s most impaired watersheds,” said Wood. “Supporting the CREP program incorporates long-term pollution reduction strategies, exceptional gains in wildlife habitat and the over-arching benefit of supporting our Hoosier farming communities.”

The funds provided come from American Electric Power (AEP), I&M’s parent company, under a legal settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, eight states and 13 citizens groups. The settlement included an agreement by AEP to invest $3.5 million to improve air quality and to reduce pollution in Indiana through various projects. The AEP settlement monies are being overseen by an oversight committee that includes Citizens Action Coalition, Clean Air Council and Indiana Wildlife Federation, with the Sierra Club as a non-voting member and Environmental Law & Policy Center as a non-voting legal advisor and facilitator.

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ABOUT ISDA
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) was established as a separate state agency by the Legislature in 2005. Administratively, ISDA reports to Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, who also serves as Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. Major responsibilities include advocacy for Indiana agriculture at the local, state and federal level, managing soil conservation programs, promoting economic development and agricultural innovation, serving as a regulatory ombudsman for agricultural businesses, and licensing grain firms throughout the state.

Over 200 Hunting, Fishing, Conservation Groups Support Plan to Stop Asian Carp

‘Without firm and swift action to stop the further movement of Asian carp and other invasive species, the future of hunting, fishing and our outdoor heritage in the Great Lakes and Mississippi River region is at risk.’

 

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (February 22, 2019)— Over 200 hunting, angling, conservation and outdoor industry organizations submitted public comments today in support of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) final plan to improve defenses at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. The Brandon Road Lock and Dam, near Joliet, Ill., and below the Chicago Area Waterway System, is a chokepoint in the waterway system; the construction of new technology at the dam can help stop the advance of invasive Asian carp and reduce the risk of the fish entering Lake Michigan. The plan proposes a gauntlet of technologies including an electric barrier, a bubble barrier, acoustic deterrent, and a flushing lock to reduce the risk that Asian carp get through while still allowing navigation through the lock. The comment period closes today.

 

“Hundreds of groups representing millions of hunters and anglers in the Great Lakes region and across the country recognize that invasive species like Asian carp represent a clear and present danger to our nation’s fish, wildlife, water, economy, and way of life,” said Marc Smith, director of conservation partnerships for the National Wildlife Federation. “This plan is the best opportunity we’ll have to keep them out of the Great Lakes and their connected inland waters. This is a significant part of the national response needed to prevent Asian carp from invading new waters, while working to eradicate and suppress populations of the invasive fish from waters in which they currently reside.”

 

The organizations warn that Asian carp jeopardize the region’s outdoor recreation economy: a $7 billion fishery; a $16 billion tourism industry; waterfowl production areas that support a hunting economy of $2.6 billion per year; and hunting, fishing, and wildlife observation that generates approximately $18 billion per year.  They also emphasize that the cost estimate of $778 million to bolster defenses at Brandon Road Lock and Dam is an investment worth making to protect the multi-billion-dollar outdoor recreation industry. And given the estimated time for construction, they urge an expedited schedule without any delay by Congress in approving and funding the project:

 

“We encourage you to consider our comments and move as fast and efficiently as possible to finalize this plan and submit to Congress on schedule,” the groups write.  “We need stronger controls in place now in order to prevent Asian carp and other invasive species from continuing to swim closer to – and eventually into – the Great Lakes.  Without firm and swift action to stop the further movement of Asian carp and other invasive species, the future of hunting, fishing and our outdoor heritage in the Great Lakes and Mississippi River region is at risk.”

 

Last week, a coalition of hunting, fishing, and conservation organizations in the Great Lakes region announced a united effort to support the plan to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. Ducks Unlimited, the Indiana Wildlife Federation, the Izaak Watlton League of America, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the Minnesota Conservation Federation, the National Wildlife Federation, Ohio Conservation Federation, Trout Unlimited and the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation formed the Great Lakes Conservation Coalition to unite support for efforts to stop Asian carp.

 

Photo Credit: Emily Wood

International Paper Awards IWF $1500 for Educational Print Project?

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – (Oct 8, 2018) The Indiana Wildlife Federation is pleased to announce that it has received a $1500 grant from the International Paper Company to aid in the printing and production of a 12-month calendar and notecards.  These items will draw attention to threatened wildlife and habitats in Indiana using masterful watercolors donated from Indiana artist Brian Stovall.

Brian focused on species found in Indiana that have an ongoing conservation story, most species being threatened or endangered.  The intention of the project was to engage new audiences through wildlife-themed artwork that highlights species of conservation need in the state.

“This project creatively brings together local art and wildlife education with great partners like International Paper,” said board president Stacy Cachules.

About Indiana Wildlife Federation

The Indiana Wildlife Federation (IWF) has played a part in conserving Indiana’s natural resources since 1938. As the nonprofit, grass-roots affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation; IWF works to promote the wise use of our renewable resources through educational programs like the Certified Wildlife Habitat and Landscaping the Sustainable Campus. With the support of our members, we are able to continue pursuing our mission to promote the conservation, sound management and sustainable use of Indiana’s wildlife and wildlife habitat through education, advocacy and action.  Learn more or join at www.indianawildlife.org

About International Paper

To improve people’s lives, the planet and our company’s performance by transforming renewal resources into produces people depend on every day.

Emily Wood
Executive Director
317-875-9543

Weaker Environmental Rules for the Ohio River Could Spell Trouble for Water Quality, Water Reliant Businesses in Southern Indiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2018
Media Contact: Marianne Holland, (317) 981-3210

Ohio River Businesses Concerned, Public Comment Period Ends August 20th


(INDIANAPOLIS, IN)- 
[MH1] Businesses, municipalities, and people living in the Ohio River Valley will have fewer protections against pollution in the Ohio River if a new proposal from the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) takes effect. Its commissioners are proposing to eliminate all ORSANCO’s Pollution Control Standards for the Ohio River. Each of the standards gives the concentration of a chemical that the river can contain and still be healthy for aquatic life and people.

“ORSANCO pollution standards are even more critical for Indiana because we are located at nearly the tail end of the 981-mile Ohio River. Pollution that is dumped into the river upstream comes our way. ORSANCO standards help protect us. If they’re gone it could make it more complicated and expensive to clean drinking water from the Ohio as well as impact our ability to fish, boat, swim, and generally enjoy on the river,” said Jason Flickner, director of the Lower Ohio River Waterkeeper.

Businesses along the Ohio River and others nearby that are river dependent already see serious potential harm to their businesses if the pollution standards are eliminated. Ron Riecken is the owner of Inland Marina in Evansville. He also serves on ORSANCO’s public information advisory committee and has cautioned the commission against eliminating its standards.

“We started building this marina in 1963 and ever since we’ve been a place people come to enjoy the river. We have boat slips, jet ski slips, a restaurant and tiki bar, a marina shop, and a place for boats to gas up. People love coming here to be on the river, the way it is now. The difference in the beauty of the Ohio between 50 years ago and now is unbelievable and ORSANCO has been instrumental in making that happen. To do away with these standards is to do away with what keeps our river clean and would set us back to a time decades ago when no one wanted to be on the river because it was so polluted. People wanting to be out to enjoy a safe, clean Ohio River: That’s an absolute necessity for my business,” said Riecken.

It wouldn’t be just riverside businesses that could be negatively impacted by the loss of the ORSANCO pollution standards. Some businesses, like breweries, use water from the Ohio to make their products. There are also other river reliant businesses nearby like East Side Marine in Evansville, that could struggle.

“Not only from a business standpoint do we need these standards to regulate the river, but our river is also a huge playground for adults, children, and pets,” said Kim Herendeen, co-owner along with her brother Ron, of the boat sales and repair business that was started by their parents in 1960. “We are very lucky to have this wonderful asset right outside our back door. Our river provides great entertainment for many people and it provides many various jobs.”

ORSANCO announced the proposal in June claiming the standards were duplicative with individual state standards required under the Clean Water Act. But that’s not the case.

A report from ORSANCO’s own staff shows more than 50 ORSANCO safeguarding standards that protect water quality that would completely disappear in Indiana alone (nearly 200 for all the Ohio River states) and another 63 that would be weakened. In fact, portions of Indiana’s Clean Water Act Rule simply defer to existing ORSANCO standards that if ended would leave massive gaps in Indiana’s ability to protect water quality in the Ohio River.

When ORSANCO held its first public comment period in February, 797 people and organizations commented in opposition to the elimination of its Pollution Control Standards. The current public comment period ends at midnight, August 20th. ORSANCO commissioners say they will vote on the proposal October 4th.Indiana has three out of the 23 ORSANCO commissioners (listed below), who were appointed by either Governor Pence or Governor Holcomb.

ORSANCO is requiring that public comments be submitted in the body of an email (no attachments) to PCS@orsanco.org. Written comments can be mailed to:

ORSANCO

Attn: PCS Comments

5735 Kellogg Avenue

Cincinnati, OH 45230

 

Additional Facts About ORSANCO Pollution Standards:

 

  • In EPA records, there are 190 permits for releasing waste into the Ohio River before it reaches the eastern edge of Indiana, including from oil and chemical industries.
  • 30 towns and cities use the Ohio River for drinking water
  • 188 ORSANCO standards cover chemicals that are not covered by state standards in any of the Ohio river states
  • 252 ORSANCO standards are significantly more protective than the corresponding state standards, by 10% or more.
  • In an ORSANCO staff report comparing water quality standards, there are 54 chemicals with ORSANCO standards but no Indiana standard and 63 chemicals with weaker Indiana standards than ORSANCO standards.
  • ORSANCO standards are cited in Indiana’s Administrative Code for water discharge permits at 327 IAC 5-2-10.  Their loss will leave a gap that will require Indiana to spend time and taxpayer money to fix.
  • Indiana’s ORSANCO commissioners are:
    • John Kupke, ORSANCO Commissioner
    • Bruno Pigott, Commissioner, Indiana Department of Environmental Management
    • Joseph H. Harrison, Jr., Massey Law Offices, LLC

 

Additional Contacts

 

John Blair, ValleyWatch, Blair@valleywatch.net

 

Dr. Indra Frank, Environmental Health Director, Hoosier Environmental Council, ifrank@hecweb.org

 

Emily Wood, Executive Director, Indiana Wildlife Federation, ewood@indianawildlife.org

 

Richard Hill, Chair Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club, 812-801-3221, rhill@cinergymetro.net

 

Jason Flickner, Director & Waterkeeper, Lower Ohio River Waterkeeper, (502) 276-5957, jason@ohioriverwaterkeeper.org

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About Hoosier Environmental Council:

Founded thirty-five years ago, the Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) is the largest statewide environmental policy organization in Indiana.  HEC aims to advance solutions that are good for the environment and good for the economy.  Visit http://hecweb.org for more information.  You can also follow HEC on Twitter: @hec_ed or follow us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/hecweb.

About Valley Watch:

Valley Watch was formed in 1981 to protect the public health and environment of the lower Ohio River Valley.
About Lower Ohio River Waterkeeper:

The Lower Ohio River Waterkeeper is a newly founded Waterkeeper Alliance member organization operating in the Ohio River watersheds of Indiana and Kentucky between the Kentucky and Wabash rivers. Our mission is to CONNECT COMMUNITIES TO PROTECT, RESTORE, and ENJOY the OHIO RIVER and its watersheds!

 

 


 [MH1]If you are one of the individuals sending to media locally, PLEASE change this to reflect the town you’re sending the release from.

Conservation Groups Urge Governors to Reject Weakening Clean Water Protections for Ohio River

CONTACT: Jordan Lubetkin, National Wildlife Federation, lubetkin@nwf.org (734) 904-1589

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (May 31, 2018)—The National Wildlife Federation and its state affiliates in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia are urging governors in those states to reject attempts to weaken a 60-year-old compact created to limit pollution in the Ohio River. On June 7, an eight-state regional body charged with protecting the Ohio River and its communities from pollution will vote on whether they will continue to collaborate on clean water goals, or whether they will disband the compact.

Conservation groups have strongly opposed states going their own way, which is widely seen as an excuse by many of the states to weaken clean water protections—a scenario which could lead to a so-called race to the bottom.

In a letter to Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, and West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, the groups urged the states to uphold the clean water compact and protect the Ohio River—which provides drinking water to more than 4 million people.

“There is a need for leadership and cooperation by the Commission and its member states to honor the pledges made by each state for the oversight of pollution abatement and health of the entire Ohio River,” the groups wrote. “The Commission Compact compels the member states to act on behalf of a water body beyond its jurisdictional waters, a unique role that demands actions beyond parochial interests.”

The eight-state regional body, the Ohio River Valley Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), is proposing revisions to its core mission that would eliminate key pollution control standards and withdraw the body from the responsibility of ensuring consistent water quality throughout the Ohio River. ORSANCO was created as an interstate water pollution control agency in part to ensure pollution dumped into the Ohio River in one state doesn’t have a negative effect on the waters of another state.

In anticipation of the vote, to take place at the governing body’s June 7 meeting in Louisville, Ky., the groups issued the following statement:

“Sixty years ago, states bordering the Ohio River had the vision to work together to put in place clean water protections that allowed the Ohio River to successfully support industry and commerce, as well as provide clean drinking water for people and a home for fish and wildlife. This foundation of cooperation for a sustainable river has served the region well, and to scuttle it now would be irresponsible. A healthy environment and healthy economy go hand in hand. We need the governors to stand firm and support strong clean water protections that benefit the Ohio River and the many communities which rely on it for their drinking water, health, jobs, and way of life.”

Signatories to the letter include the National Wildlife Federation, Indiana Wildlife Federation, Kentucky Waterways Alliance, Ohio Conservation Federation, PennFuture, Prairie Rivers Network, Virginia Conservation Network, and West Virginia Rivers Coalition.

The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization, uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world. Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

150 Years of Indiana Wild Animal Protection and Management Practices Upset by State Court of Appeals

The Indiana Court of Appeals handed down a flawed decision on February 2, 2015, suggesting that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) does not have authority to regulate any privately-owned wild animals.  The case was part of the decade-long fight over whether “canned hunting” of captive whitetail deer should be legalized in Indiana.  The appeals court was to decide whether current laws prohibit high-fenced hunting, “canned hunting,” after two lower courts issued conflicting decisions.

In a surprisingly broad decision, the court ruled in a 2-1 vote that DNR has no authority to regulate captive-raised whitetail deer and further asserted that the DNR does not have authority over ANY wild animal that is privately owned.  The court’s analysis flies in the face of decades of wildlife management practice in Indiana and is counter to the wildlife-management principles of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation that have been in practice across the United States for over 150 years.  It undermines DNR’s ability to assure ethical treatment and secure containment of privately-owned wild animals, puts the public safety at risk, threatens the environment, and hinders the preservation of Indiana’s wild animals for future generations.

What began as a case about whether current Indiana law prohibits canned hunting of captive-raised deer has ended with a court assessment that eviscerates DNR’s ability to enforce its protective regulations as to any privately-owned wild animal, including tigers and lions, bears, venomous snakes, and threatened and state endangered wild animals.  The court proposed that the DNR may not regulate how a privately-owned wild animal is treated, fed, handled, secured, or used.  Out-of-state animal buyers and traders now see Indiana as an easy source of supply since DNR’s ability to enforce its protective restrictions has been eroded.  The public can no longer be certain that DNR will protect them or prevent and prohibit unethical treatment.

The court’s opinion clearly has “unintended” consequences.  This “anything goes” approach is not what anyone in Indiana wants, regardless of where you stand on the canned hunting issue, and it needs to be addressed.  The Governor should ensure that DNR continues asserting its authority over all wildlife, including privately-owned wild animals, and the Legislature should pass clarifying language to reinforce what has always been Indiana’s wildlife management approach–conservation of all wildlife resources, both publicly and privately owned.

The State Court of Appeals wrongly decided this case.  Governor Pence and the Legislature must fix it.

 

Barbara Simpson, Indiana Wildlife Federation

Joe Bacon, Indiana Deer Hunters Association

Gene Hopkins, Indiana Sportsmen’s Roundtable

James Turpin, Indiana Quality Deer Management Association

Chuck Bauer, IN Division of the Izaak Walton League of America

Glenn Lange, IN Chapter of the Wildlife Society

Jeff Wells, IN Conservation Officer Organization

Land Acquisitions Will Open Recreational Opportunities for Hoosiers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Barbara Simpson, Executive Director. (317) 875-9453, or simpson@indianawildlife.org

(Indianapolis. November 14, 2013) Efforts by the Indiana Wildlife Federation (IWF) yields a half-million dollars to invest in land acquisitions as part of a modified Consent Decree with Indiana Michigan Power (I&M). “This will not only protect and open new lands for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds, but will also result in improvements in the quality of our air over time.” states IWF Executive Director Barbara Simpson. “We’re working with a lot of folks to leverage these settlement dollars with other sources of funding to purchase strategic properties which will increase wildlife habitat in permanently protected areas, and will be available to public access.”

Properties currently identified for purchase under the I&M grant include;

  • Two tracts totaling 287 acres in the Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge and Management Area that will be open to hunting, fishing, hiking, photography and wildlife viewing.
  • A 343 acre addition to the Sugar Creek Healthy Rivers INitiative area. The INitiative is the state’s largest land conservation effort seeking to protect over 43,000 acres along the Wabash River and Sugar Creek, and over 26,000 acres along the Muscatatuck River bottomlands. A mix of forested, open, and riparian lands provides opportunities for hunting, fishing, trapping, boating, canoeing, photography, hiking and many others.
  • A 178 acre land parcel that is part of the recently announced Bicentennial Legacy Conservation Area, a signature project of the Bicentennial Nature Trust created to preserve and protect important conservation and recreational areas in preparation for the 200th anniversary of statehood in 2016. The conservation area extends from the Cope Environmental Center in Centerville, to the DNR-managed Brookville Reservoir, and will operate as an alliance of public and private landowners sharing a multi-disciplined resource management approach. Outdoor opportunities will be available as the project develops including bird watching, photography, hiking, and fishing.

The Indiana Natural Resources Foundation (INRF) has been granted the funds, and will administer their distribution. Executive Director Bourke Patton, states “We’re pleased to work with the Indiana Wildlife Federation and a long list of generous, conservation-minded
organizations to acquire these critical natural resources with the help of I&M, and to make them available for all Hoosiers to enjoy.”

The funds provided come from I&M, under a legal settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, eight states, and 13 citizen groups. The settlement included an agreement by I&M to invest $2.5 million to improve air quality in Indiana through various projects. The settlement monies are being overseen by an oversight committee that includes Citizens Action Coalition, Hoosier Environmental Council, and Indiana Wildlife Federation, with the Sierra Club as a non-voting member and Environmental Law and Policy Center as a non-voting legal advisor and facilitator.

Participating Organizations

Indiana Wildlife Federation, Barbara Simpson, Executive Director, simpson@indianawildlife.org
Citizens Action Coalition, Kerwin Olson, Executive Director, kolson@citact.org
Environmental Law & Policy Center, Faith Bugel, Senior Attorney, FBugel@elpc.org
Hoosier Environmental Council, Jesse Kharbanda, Executive Director, jkharbanda@hecweb.org Sierra Club, Jodi Perras, Beyond Coal Campaign Representative, Jodi.perras@sierraclub.org

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Judge Nardi Should Rule on High-Fence “Canned” Hunting

Indianapolis, Ind. (Aug. 1, 2012) – On Monday, August 6th, at 1:00 PM, Circuit Court Judge Frank M. Nardi will again be given the opportunity to serve the people of Indiana.  His courtroom in the Owen County courthouse will be the setting for yet another battle on high-fence “canned” hunting:  a hearing to grant or deny a summary judgment, filed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.  Judge Nardi’s court originally set the hearing for April 1, moved it to June 1, then to July 5, and now has it placed on Monday’s docket.

Most Hoosiers are aware of the debate created by high-fence hunting preserves:  the ethics of hunting animals confined in high fence enclosures, whether these animals are wildlife or livestock, and the danger to Indiana’s wild deer herd from chronic wasting disease, a mad-cow like illness that can be carried by animals raised for, and transported to, high-fence hunting preserves. There is no cure for chronic wasting disease.  It has spread to 18 states that are spending millions of tax payers’ dollars to combat the disease.

The law is clear: high-fence hunting is illegal in Indiana.  Judge Nardi should rule so.  Further delays are a disservice to the people of Indiana.

Barbara Simpson, Executive Director, Indiana Wildlife Federation
Gene Hopkins, President, Indiana Sportsmen’s Roundtable

Asian Carp Director To Help Honor Indiana Conservationists

Zionsville, Ind. (May 16, 2012) – On May 19th, the Indiana Wildlife Federation (IWF) will recognize six Indiana conservationists, and two conservation organizations at its annual Conservation Awards Banquet at Spring Mill State Park.

John Goss, Asian Carp Director at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, will be the keynote speaker at the banquet, providing an update on recent efforts to curb the migration of Asian carp to the Great Lakes.

Every year, IWF honors Indiana residents and organizations that have made significant contributions to conservation and environmental issues.

Governor Mitch Daniels leads the list of award winners that includes a state senator, coalition of government agencies, and other conservation advocates.

All of this year’s winners pursue a common goal to improve Indiana’s environment and make our state a better place for wildlife. Any IWF member can nominate an individual or group for an award, and IWF’s directors select winners from the pool of nominees.

The Conservation Awards Banquet is open to the public. Find more information about the Awards Banquet at www.indianawildlife.org/annualmeeting.htm

The 2012 Indiana Wildlife Federation Conservation Award Winners:

Governor Mitch Daniels is receiving the Theodore Roosevelt Award for his dedication to conservation as demonstrated by large-scale projects such as the Goose Pond acquisition, Healthy Rivers INitiative, and Bicentennial Nature Trust.

Senator David Long, from Fort Wayne, will receive the Legislative Conservationist of the Year award for his work to stop legislation that would have allowed canned hunting in Indiana.

Angela Hughes, government relations associate for The Nature Conservancy, has earned the Conservation Communicator of the Year award for her work leading the Indiana Conservation Alliance and Conservation Day at the State House every year.

The Conservation Cropping System Initiative group (CCSI), comprises Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Indiana State Department of Agriculture – Division of Soil Conservation, Purdue Cooperative Extension Service, State Soil Conservation Board, and other partners.

CCSI has earned IWF’s Agriculture Conservation Award for its work promoting environmentally-friendly farming techniques including continuous no-till/strip-till farming, using cover crops, precision farming, and nutrient and pest management. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and ISDA State Soil Conservation Board fund the group’s work.
Jack Corpuz, Indianapolis, will also receive the Theodore Roosevelt Award for his years of work with state officials to improve Indiana’s hunting and fishing license programs, which generate revenue for conservation programs.

Jeanette Wilson, Indiana Department of Transportation, will receive the President’s Award, a prize given at the discretion of IWF’s president. Wilson has been instrumental in supporting efforts to reduce mowing and increase native plant species on Indiana’s roadsides, practices that save the state money and helps wildlife.

The Conservation Educator of the Year, Nicole Messacar, teaches children about wildlife and conservation issues through her role as Education Coordinator for the LaPorte County Soil & Water Conservation District.

North Dearborn Conservation Club, IWF’s Conservation Club of the Year, has educated local youth about safe hunting practices since 1937.

Phil Cox, this year’s Paul Bunner Conservationist of Year, worked tirelessly to several hundred acres of prairie at the Newport Army Depot. His work fostered the return of several state-endangered grassland bird species and other rare wildlife species.

Photo Credit: Emily Wood

Indiana Wildlife Federation Comments HB1265 Hunting Preserves

Indianapolis, Ind. (Jan 26, 2012) – This year in the Indiana State Legislature, HB1265 has been introduced to legalize hunting deer in fenced enclosures.  This is not a new story in Indiana. Hoosiers have joined together in the past to soundly and vocally reject “canned hunting.”

We are once again asking all citizens to join the Indiana Wildlife Federation (IWF), the Indiana Division of the Izaak Walton League of America, Indiana Sportsmen’s Round Table (ISR), Indiana Deer Hunters Association, and many other conservation organizations that make up IWF and ISR to express their opposition to “canned hunting” in Indiana by calling or emailing their state Representative or state Senator, asking them to vote “no” on HB1265.

Canned hunting violates important ethical standards, impairs wildlife health, and threatens Indiana’s economy:

  • Hunting captive deer that cannot escape from enclosed pens is a violation of fair chase.  Allowing the hunting of captive deer undermines the long held wildlife management philosophy in Indiana that all wildlife are held in public trust and managed by the state for all citizens.
  • The health of Indiana’s wild deer herd is threatened when deer are held in high density populations.  Once disease occurs, it is transmitted more rapidly in confined areas than in the wild. In particular, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a contagious neurological disease that infects deer and other cervids, quickly spreads among captive herds.  CWD is transmitted by animal to animal contact or animal to soil contact.  Soil contaminated with CWD carries the disease vector, called prions, for years, and deer must be excluded from the area to avoid spreading the disease.  There is no cure for CWD.  Death is always the result.  Healthy deer densities are 10-20 deer per square mile.  Indiana’s deer density in some areas exceeds this target.  If CWD were to occur in Indiana, it would likely spread quickly through our dense deer population. Bovine tuberculosis is also a disease of concern.  Despite best efforts of state agencies, Indiana has had outbreaks of bovine TB in deer and cattle in recent years.  Further bovine TB outbreaks could jeopardize the Indiana beef producer industry.

The transportation of deer to hunting preserves also contributes to health concerns. Hunting preserves often import deer from out of state to meet the demand for trophy bucks.   If the deer carries CWD, the disease can jump to the receiving state. It only takes one diseased animal to eventually affect a whole state.  We do not want CWD to do to the Indiana deer herd what the emerald ash borer is doing to our ash trees.

  • Anything threatening Indiana’s wild deer population would have a significant negative economic impact. 
    • Deer hunting in Indiana contributes over $400 million annually and supports >2300 jobs.  Over a quarter of that money is direct retail income to businesses.
    • Additionally, CWD would cost the state a lot of money. Surveillance programs that are in place must be dramatically increased.  New disease management steps must be taken, including mandatory quarantining, whole herd depopulation and carcass disposal, and fencing of contaminated land to exclude all cervids.
    • In the past, federal funds have been available to assist with costs.  However, the 2012 federal budget for both CWD surveillance activities and the study of prion disease were cut.  The federal government views CWD as a local and regional disease-spread issue and financial responsibility.  The Indiana Board of Animal Health has already experienced a reduction of federal funding to assist with CWD surveillance.
  • CWD is spreading around the countryIf CWD infects Indiana’s wild deer population, eradication is impossible and control is the best hope.
    • Seventeen (17) states now have CWD in wild deer and 11 states in captive populations, with the states of Missouri and Maryland being added to the list in 2011; North Dakota and Virginia were added in 2010.  All of these states believed they had the proper regulations in place to prevent CWD from affecting their herds.
    • The 17 states that now have CWD in captive or wild herds have spent literally millions of dollars of their state’s natural resources budget to combat CWD. Wisconsin has now spent more than 50 million dollars, and CWD is spreading into additional counties every few years. Wisconsin predicts that eventually CWD will affect 40% of all adult deer in that state.
    • The North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission predicts that if their state gets CWD, it will lose from 35 to 54 million dollars in recreational economic activity each year.

Indiana cannot afford to gamble on a risky venture like canned hunting.

There are significant biological and economic issues at stake. There is also something more fundamental at stake and worthy of re-emphasis.  Fair chase and wildlife held in trust for all citizens are long held tenets of our Indiana hunting tradition and wildlife management approach.  Now is not the time to step away from those values and traditions.

In a 2007 survey conducted by the Indiana DNR Fish and Wildlife Division, when deer hunters were asked their views on canned hunting, 73% responded they were extremely concerned or very concerned compared to only 27% not concerned.  The vast majority of sportsmen and women in Indiana do not support canned deer hunting.

We ask that once again the citizens of Indiana reject “canned hunting” and ask their legislators to vote “NO” on HB1265.

The Indiana Wildlife Federation is a statewide conservation organization dedicated to the wise use of Indiana’s natural resources.  We have stood for “common sense conservation” for over 70 years, since our founding in 1938.  We focus our actions on what’s good for Indiana’s wildlife and wildlife habitat.

Director Leaves Indiana Wildlife Federation, Takes On Asian Carp

Zionsville, Ind. – After four years as Executive Director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation, John Goss has taken a position with the Great Lakes Commission to address the Asian carp invasion of the Great Lakes.

As Asian Carp Director, Goss will coordinate a regional effort to prevent a full-blown Great Lakes invasion by the nuisance fish.

IWF has benefitted greatly from Goss’s leadership and work to put organization on the forefront of numerous environmental issues in Indiana.

In 2008, IWF worked with state officials and a coalition of environmental and business groups to make Indiana the first state to fully adopt the Great Lakes Compact, an international agreement to limit the amount of water removed from the Lakes.

With IWF’s support, Duke Energy is building a coal gasification power plant ready for carbon capture and storage.  Goss represented Indiana in development of the Midwest Governor’s Association Energy Platform, a regional plan dedicated to exploring and expanding clean energy in the Midwest.

Goss also worked as a tireless advocate for sound fish and wildlife rules.  In late 2009, Goss led revitalization of the Indiana Sportsmen’s Roundtable, a grassroots advocacy group representing hunting and fishing organizations from around the state.

Hoosiers have also benefitted from Goss’s involvement in major land acquisitions, such as the Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area, an 8000-acre wetlands restoration project in Greene County, and Putnamville/Atterbury land swap, which resulted in a net gain of about 800 acres for recreational use.

Recently, Goss started IWF’s Phosphorus-Free Lawn campaign, which discourages the use of phosphorus in lawn care.  Excess phosphorus runs off into waterways and stimulates toxic algae growth.  IWF expects to see legislation restricting phosphorus use come up in the next session.

Goss’s impressive track record with the Indiana Wildlife Federation suggests he is up for the carp challenge.

“John has served as the Executive Director for IWF for four years and we will really miss his leadership,” said Steve Cecil, President, IWF Board of Directors.  “While we hate to see him leave, we truly appreciate all that he has accomplished for our organization, and we are proud that one of our own has been chosen to coordinate this very serious wildlife management issue.”

The I.W.F. Executive Committee has begun the search process for the Executive Director position and will soon be taking recommendations and/or resumes.

“We have been fortunate to have benefited from John’s broad natural resources background, and it will be difficult to find a worthy replacement.”

Since 1938, the Indiana Wildlife Federation has promoted the conservation, sound management, and sustainable use of Indiana’s wildlife and wildlife habitat through education, advocacy, and action with the vision to create sustainable Indiana wildlife as a source of inspiration, education and recreation.  For membership inquiries or for more information about the upcoming Executive Director position please call 317-875-9453.