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Vanishing Indiana Wetlands Threaten Water Quality, Hike Flood Risk
Indiana Ag Connection - 09/13/2023

Indiana is losing wetlands even as the state has made some effort to protect them. Wetlands provide wildlife habitat, purify and recharge groundwater for drinking, and reduce flood risks by storing water. However, Indiana has lost up to 90% of its wetlands. The legislature provided some protection for the rest in 2021, but last year, a special task force found that shrinking wetlands are having significant negative effects on the environment.

Indra Frank, director of environmental health and water policy at the Hoosier Environmental Council says lawmakers should be doing more.

"Now we have data showing that our state's wetlands law is not doing much in the way of protection. So, the Indiana General Assembly certainly could make changes," Frank said. "They could also make changes to provide incentives for landowners who preserve or who restore wetlands."

Indiana has about 800,000 wetland acres, down from more than 5 million 200 years ago - and has no statewide plan to manage them. A poll by the Audubon Society

found more than half the people surveyed in Indiana said they would prioritize protecting water sources and habitats over landowners' and developers' rights.


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