Contact: Nick Buggia, Upper Midwestern States Manager
Why it Matters: Wetlands play a vital role in our country as they provide habitat for some of our most vulnerable species as well some of our most beloved games species and furbearers. In addition, wetlands help to filter our water ensuring our fish have suitable lakes and rivers and they also mitigate flooding and filter nutrients in runoff. Without wetlands, many of our ecosystems would diminish. In Indiana, Senate Bill 389 threatens the state’s wetlands by removing key protections that promote the conservation of these ecosystems. Due to the critical services and habitat that wetlands provide, legislators should focus on efforts that maximize wetland conservation for the benefit of our natural resources, sportsmen and women, and local communities who benefit from the services of their nearby wetlands.
Wetlands play an important and unique role on our planet by generating ecosystem services that provide fish and wildlife habitat for a diverse array of species, filter our water, mitigate flooding and nutrient runoff, and serve as a water source during dry periods. More than one-third of the threatened and endangered species in the U.S. inhabit these critical ecosystems. Wetlands are also important to some of our most prized game species, including waterfowl, woodcock, pheasant, and moose. Many wetlands also provide a home to fish, as well as angling opportunities, while filtering water to help keep our lakes and rivers clean. In fact, 1-acre of wetlands can filter the nitrate runoff of over 100-acres of crop land. This is important because these nitrates can contribute to algal blooms that deprive the water of oxygen and create conditions that are uninhabitable for fish and wildlife. Examples of this can be seen locally in the Great Lakes Region and downstream as far as the Gulf of Mexico.
On April 5, the Indiana House of Representative’s Republican Caucus met to discuss Indiana Senate Bill 389 (SB 389). This bill “repeals the law requiring a permit from the department of environmental management for wetland activity in a state regulated wetland.” CSF has opposed this bill since its introduction in the senate and has worked with the DNR, state lawmakers, and our partners to stop or amend this bill.
CSF sent a letter to the Indiana Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus members outlining the important role wetlands play in the state, opposing the bill as written, and expressed our willingness to work with legislators to address any issues they may have with the state’s wetland regulations.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?