Immediate Action Information for Wetlands Legislation (and sample letter)

January 2021 Legislative Update
The full Senate will vote on SB 389 on Monday, February 1, 2021.
This is an isolated wetland in Indianapolis. At about 1.5 acres, it can hold more than 2 million gallons of stormwater. It’s also home to many species of flora and fauna dwindling in number due to the kind of habitat loss that will be allowed under SB 389. URGENT ACTION NEEDED! Hello Water Allies.
The anti-wetlands Senate Bill 389 passed out of committee on Monday after significant misinformation was presented and limited opposition testimony allowed. Today, the full Senate voted 19 to 29 to NOT engage a legislative summer study committee to investigate the issues and impacts.

This is the most dangerous piece of environmental deregulation we have seen in decades – it completely removes protection from isolated wetlands: an estimated 80 to 90% of Indiana’s remaining wetlands totaling 700,000+ acres. These impacts cannot easily be undone and will have far-reaching consequences to water quality, flood control, and habitat. Please use your voice and contact your legislators, particularly senators, BEFORE MONDAY.

We are working with several partners to develop an FAQ document regarding many facets of this conversation, including the scientific and regulatory facts. However, time is of the essence. PLEASE pick up the phone, email, share, etc. This includes talking to ALL senators, including Democrats! The full Senate vote on this bill is Monday.

Find your senator here.

Find a full list of senators, including those who are authors or co-authors of the bill here. You will find our full statement on that page as well.

If you want to email multiple senators, we suggest clustering these emails in small groups to avoid spam filters.

You can read the full bill here.

Isolated wetlands are NOT simple wet spots in a farm field. Whether wetlands are connected by surface water or not, their unique habitat value and connection to groundwater provide many critical functions in our water cycle.

Thank you for your continued concern for our water resources!

Sample Letter regarding SB 389

Dear Senator ______:

I am writing about an issue of great concern to me, SB 389. This bill proposes the repeal of protection of the state-regulated wetlands law, IC 13-18-22, and of any administrative rule concerning that law. SB 389 proposes to repeal the authority of IDEM to regulate activities in isolated wetlands. IDEM testified in committee that 80% to 90% of Indiana’s remaining wetlands will lose protection if this bill passes.

Wetlands are an integral part of the hydrologic cycle. Even isolated wetlands like those affected by SB 389 protect water quality, provide habitat for a diverse ecological system, and help manage stormwater. According to the EPA, one acre of wetland can absorb 1 to 1.5 million gallons of water. Wetlands provide flood and erosion control, recharge aquifers, provide spawning and nursery grounds for fish, and bring revenue into the state from waterfowl hunters and bird watchers. In Indiana, eleven species of waterfowl use wetlands for nesting, and 28 species utilize wetlands for their migration habitat.

Indiana cannot afford to lose more wetlands. The passage of SB 389 will cause irreparable damage to Indiana’s environment. It provides no mitigation measures for the destruction of wetlands.

I ask you to vote against the passage of SB 389, or at least, send it to a study committee.

Loss of time in the passage of this bill is negligible when weighed against the permanent loss of a valuable asset to the environmental and economic health of our state.