This year, the Indiana General Assembly passed SEA 389, which significantly reduced protection for Indiana’s remaining wetlands. It was a blow to all who understand the vital importance of wetlands to water resources and to wildlife, but it was not an endpoint. There is much we can still do ensure the continuation of Indiana’s wetlands. The Hoosier Environmental Council and Indiana Wildlife Federation are hosting a webinar to review steps we can all take.
Please join us for ‘Indiana Wetland Advocacy, Preservation, and Restoration’ Wednesday, October 20, at 4:00 PM Eastern/3:00 PM Central. Register at: tinyurl.com/3pzvc379
In a press release yesterday, Governor Holcomb announced the appointments to the Indiana Wetlands Task Force:
Indiana Wetlands Task Force
The governor made thirteen appointments to the new task force, who will serve until December 31, 2022:
- The Honorable Zach Beasley (West Lafayette), Tippecanoe County Surveyor
- Will Ditzler (Westfield), president of RiverBirch Executive Advisors, who will also serve as chair of the task force
- Jill Hoffmann (Indianapolis), executive director of the White River Alliance
- Jared Kakasuleff (Cicero), farmer at Kakasuleff Farms
- Jeremy Kieffner (Evansville), environmental permit manager at Lochmueller Group
- Dr. Sara McMillan (West Lafayette), associate professor of Agricultural & Biological Engineering at Purdue University
- Matt Meersman (South Bend), director of the St. Joseph River Basin Commission
- Michael Novotney (Valparaiso), Porter County Engineer and director of engineering
- Commissioner Bruno Pigott, representing the Indiana Department of Environmental Management
- Kyle Rorah (Dexter, MI), regional director of public policy for Ducks Unlimited
- Joe Schmees (Fishers), executive director of the Indiana Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts
- The Honorable Richard Strick, Mayor of Huntington
- Jeff Thomas (Fort Wayne), co-owner and vice president of Oakmont Development, LLC
Brown County State Park, July 14, 2021. Photo by Abbie Gressley, IWF 2021 Summer Intern
Much has happened since the first co-hosted forum with IWF Affiliate: White River Alliance and Purdue in February. First, the passage of SEA 389. This was followed by the establishment of Governor Holcomb’s Wetland Taskforce.
The repeal of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, a 2020 rule that narrowed the definition of “Waters of the United States (WOTUS)” which left isolated wetlands and ephemeral streams at risk. In this follow up forum, researchers from several Indiana universities join with environmental management professionals and policy experts to discuss wetland hydrology and ecology, how wetland footprints are affected by changing legislation, and how resulting ecosystem services are lost or gained. The speakers will also address recent legislation and identify future management issues.
Registration required. Register here.