Indiana Wetland Protection Rollback Threatens Great Lakes

A new Indiana law that weakens the state’s wetland protection framework will have repercussions beyond Indiana’s borders.

Indiana’s move follows a U.S, Supreme Court ruling last year that gutted federal wetland protection under the Clean Water Act and gave states leeway to weaken their wetland protections. The ruling removed federal protection for about 50% of the nation’s wetlands. Indiana had already weakened its wetland law in 2021.

Wetlands have multiple benefits. They filter pollutants, provide habitat for fish and wildlife, and reduce flooding by storing and slowly releasing excessive flows.

Because flowing waters cross state boundaries, weakening wetland protection in Indiana will have an impact on the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds.

Indiana’s new move will compound ecological damage sustained by over a century of development. The state has lost an estimated 85% of its original wetland acreage.

The Indiana law that just took effect lowers protections for the most sensitive wetlands in the state, in less developed settings that often contain rare, threatened or endangered species. 

Michigan has a stronger wetland law and program than the federal minimums. The 2023 Supreme Court ruling is having little impact on state protection of Michigan’s wetlands. Similarly, Wisconsin’s expansive wetland protection authority is limiting the impact of the Supreme Court decision.

3 comments on “Indiana Wetland Protection Rollback Threatens Great Lakes

  1. Dr. Paul Keck on

    If people want to visualize what happens when our wetlands are desecrated such as what may transpire in Indiana, look no further than Lake Okeechobee, in Florida. The everglades once started on the south end of the lake. Then the Army Corps decided to create a navigable waterway across the entire state of Florida. They deposited millions of tons of what was excavated filling in the Everglades. Then they sold this newly created real estate to sugar cane farmers and pig farmers. Before the modification, when Lake Okeechobee overflowed during heavy rains, it entered the northern-most part of the everglades. Now when this happens this water picks up fertilizers from the sugarcane farmers and E-Coli from the pig farmers. When this water is now released it flows and contaminates all communities south of Lake O such as Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, and Naples to name only a few, causing toxic algae overgrows and endangering public health. As we speak, the Everglades are now totally devoid of life from Lake O south all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Don’t be hoodwinked. Know the facts and defend the wetlands that act as a huge natural filtration system.


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