Explore our advocacy database to learn more about the issues facing Indiana wildlife and what you can do to help.
Habitats, Wildlife Conservation, Environmental Threats
Common Reed (Phragmites australis) is an aggressive, non-native species of phragmites that is currently threatening the ecological health of the wetlands and coastal shorelines of the Great Lakes. Common Reed has been recorded in 56 Indiana counties but occurs most heavily in northwest Indiana, including Lake, LaPorte, and Porter counties.
There is overwhelming scientific agreement on human-caused global warming. Climate change is already impacting wildlife and habitats across our state. Bold, swift, policy action is needed at the national level to meet the scale of this global crisis. Join us as we urge policymakers to uplift equitable infrastructure policies that tackle climate change, create safer and more resilient communities, create jobs, and protect and restore wildlife. Click here for resources to help you take action on climate in Indiana.
Habitats, Wildlife Conservation
Central resource hub for Indiana monarch and pollinator conservation research, news, and events. This includes regional conservation planning efforts with MAFWA (Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies), the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and many more.
Invasive carp are a national problem requiring a national solution. Against the Current explores the impact Asian carp are having on Southern and Midwestern waters and the threat they pose to the Great Lakes and their connected waters by sharing business, tourism, tribal, fishing, outdoor recreation, scientific, and conservation perspectives from northern Michigan to Tennessee.
Learn how invasive carp are harming our waters, how they threaten our values, what has been done, and what still needs to be done to stop them. Against the Current is presented by the National Wildlife Federation Great Lakes Regional Center with support from the Great Lakes Fishery Trust, Rep Your Water, and Favorite Fishing. Produced by Jordan Browne.
Indiana’s fertile till plains, forested rolling hills, and vibrant wetlands support a rich assortment of wildlife. Indiana residents and visitors appreciate the state’s rich natural resources and contribute nearly $10 billion in added value to the state’s economy through outdoor recreation, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Hoosiers enjoy fishing for native walleye, watching birds, and hunting deer and waterfowl. However, with more than 1/3 of America’s wildlife currently at risk of extinction, Indiana could lose much of its beloved wild features. By providing dedicated funding for state and tribal-led wildlife conservation efforts, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will help wildlife at risk before they need the “emergency room” measures required by the Endangered Species Act.
Habitats, Environmental Threats
Invasive carp have devastated iconic fisheries throughout the country and now threaten the Great Lakes and their connected inland lakes and rivers, too. Invasive carp are not just a Great Lakes problem, or a Mississippi River problem, or a Kentucky Lake problem. They’re an American problem, and it will take a united national effort to stop them.
Habitats, Wildlife Conservation
Conservation practices on working lands can have significant benefits for wildlife. Practices that maintain residue on soil surfaces or increase standing plant matter provide vital forage and habitat for terrestrial and avian species. Reduced or no-till farming is one such practice, and has been shown to provide considerable environmental protection and wildlife habitat value. Adding cover crops can considerably increase the water quality and wildlife benefits.
Asian carp have devastated iconic fisheries throughout the country and now threaten the Great Lakes and their connected inland lakes and rivers, too. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a plan to stop them, though, by building a multi-layered barrier at a choke point on the Illinois River – the Brandon Road Lock & Dam – to prevent them from getting to Lake Michigan through Chicago. That’s why over 200 hunting, fishing, and conservation organizations support this plan.
Surrounded by natural resources and cityscape alike, increased investment in Indiana’s natural resources demonstrates a powerful American theme that has deep roots in our state. That is, access to healthy natural space is valuable for everyone. In the proverbial Crossroads of America, Hoosiers have shown in their actions what researchers have shown through data: conservation powerfully and positively influences economics, community, and health in ways that cannot be ignored.
Read the 2020 Investing in Conservation Report.
The Karner Blue was once an abundant species of butterfly in the northern regions of Indiana. Over the past 100 years, the species’ population has been reduced by 99%, placing this butterfly on the long list of endangered species in North America. The Karner Blue is suffering due to habitat loss and the slow disappearance of Wild Lupine, one of its main habitat and food sources. The Karner Blue caterpillars are a specialist species that will only feed on Wild Lupine in order to grow. Accompanying the habitat loss brought on by land development, the Wild Lupine plants began to disappear, which took away the ability of Karner Blue caterpillars to feed and eventually evolve into adult butterflies.
Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an exotic, invasive insect that is destroying ash trees throughout Indiana. EAB has been identified in 35 states and the District of Columbia, mostly in the east and Midwest parts of the country. It was first found in Indiana in 2004 and has since then spread all over the state. Adult EABs are most active in the summer and early fall. It is the larvae, however, that do the greatest damage. They burrow through the ash tree’s bark, creating tunnels that stifle the tree’s systematic ability to obtain food and water.
Feral hogs, also known as wild pigs, wild boars, and many other names, are an invasive species that cause an estimated $1.5 billion in damages to agriculture and natural resources every year in the US. These terms refer collectively to the Eurasian wild pig, escaped domestic pigs that have adapted to the wild, and/or hybridized swine. They have been found in 39 states, having expanded their territory from 17 states in the early 1980s. In Indiana, feral hogs have been documented in three southern counties. Wherever they are found, wild pigs cause extensive disturbance to agriculture, landscaping, livestock, and local habitats and native species. In addition, they carry a number of diseases like pseudorabies and swine brucellosis that can be transferred to livestock or other domesticated animals.
The Gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar dispar) is an invasive and highly destructive insect that is seriously threatening North American forests. At least 10 Indiana counties have documented infestations and have been quarantined to prevent the spread of material that may host the moth.
Repeals state regulated wetlands law. Repeals the law requiring a permit from the department of environmental management for wetland activity in a state regulated wetland. Makes corresponding changes to eliminate references to that law. States that the repeal of that law is not intended to affect: (1) the regulation in Indiana under the federal Clean Water Act of the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States; or (2) the authorization of the state of Indiana to administer the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit program. Provides that the repeal of that law extinguishes any judicial or administrative proceeding concerning an alleged violation of IC 13-18-22, an administrative rule concerning IC 13-18-22, or the terms of a permit issued under IC 13-18-22.
Habitats, Wildlife Conservation
The purpose of Indiana’s SWAP is to manage, conserve, and enhance habitat and population stability for diverse fish and wildlife resources. By 2025, the SWAP will be integrated throughout Indiana’s conservation community. The SWAP will serve to bridge the efforts of dedicated natural resource professionals and stewards, which will ultimately enrich the quality of life for all Hoosiers.
Indiana’s State Wildlife Action Plan was put together to evaluate Indiana’s natural habitats, to highlight areas of need and opportunities to protect Indiana’s endangered wildlife, and to keep more species from becoming threatened.
There are twelve species of bats that are known to be found in Indiana. Bats are an essential part of Indiana’s ecosystem. Bats regulate the populations of pest insects that destroy crops, saving farmers millions of dollars and reducing the use of pesticides on crops.
White Nose Syndrome gets its name due to the fact that affected bats will have a white fuzzy growth on their nose, ears, and wings. The white fuzzy growth is caused by a fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, and is believed to have been brought in by cavers and contaminated caving equipment. The fungus irritates the bats and causes them to arouse from hibernation and burn off fat reserves.
Bats typically hibernate in caves and form large groups, called roosts. The declines in bat populations will likely have long term impacts because hibernating bats rely on these roosts to stay warm during the winter. There is currently a great deal of research being conducted to help assure the survival of bats. Due to the growing rate of this disease, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has closed public access to caves, sinkholes, tunnels, and abandoned mines on DNR-owned land.
The Great Lakes are a unique and precious resource, providing freshwater for 33 million people who live within the basin and supporting the region’s ecosystem and economy. The Great Lakes basin contains nearly 20 percent of the earth’s fresh surface water. It is the only freshwater system of its kind in size and ecological diversity and is essential to humans and wildlife alike, providing homes, food, recreation, and economic sustainability. The Great Lakes are critically important to the region. Nearly 11,000 miles of coastline surround the Great Lakes and their connecting channels and islands. Recreation is a 6 billion dollar industry across the Great Lakes region. For the people of the Great Lakes states, the lakes hold the key to economic health, to recreation, and to irreplaceable family experiences. To keep our water at home and support our way of life, we need to protect and restore this invaluable resource.
Pollinators are organisms that carry pollen from one flower to another. Flowering plants depend on pollinators in order to reproduce. These relationships are so important that many plants have adapted traits that make their flowers more attractive to pollinators, such as having brightly colored petals or having a sweet smell. In the United States there are over 150 food crops which require animal pollination in order to produce fruit and seeds needed for reproduction. Pollinators can be anything from bees, bats, flies, butterflies, moths, ants, beetles, all the way to birds, hummingbirds and even rats on occasion.
The term “canned hunting” comes from the hunting practices that are common on shooting preserves. “Hunters” pay a large fee to enter a fenced-in enclosure and shoot a trophy buck. The trophy bucks which end up on shooting preserves start out on small farms, where farmers selectively breed their deer to produce bucks with large, impressive antlers. These bucks are not wild; they are raised in captivity. The bucks are fed, medicated, and habituated to humans before they are sold to shooting preserves.
As State Senator David Long says, canned hunting is “…not real hunting. It fences in these animals. Almost every real hunter that I talk to says it’s a terrible idea and they don’t support it.”