It is now widely accepted that wetlands are a vital resource providing services to both humans and the greater environment. Some of the commonly listed services include protecting and improving water quality, floodwater storage, groundwater recharge, maintaining surface water flow during dry periods, providing habitat for fish and wildlife, recreation and aesthetics.
However, Indiana has lost most of its wetlands. In the 1800s and 1900s millions of acres of wetlands were converted into farms, cities, roads, and to protect human health. Best estimates from a 1991 Indiana Department of Natural Resources report suggest that Indiana has lost over 85% or 4.7 million acres of the approximately 5.6 million acres of wetlands that existed in Indiana circa 1780. This knowledge has encouraged Hoosiers to support conservation and restoration of wetlands across the state in various ways.
The intent of this document is to guide continued wetland conservation and restoration efforts by developing a state wide Wetland Program Plan (WPP). A WPP is a voluntary plan that describes what goals a state or tribe wants to achieve related to its wetland resources over time. The WPP is not a rule making or regulatory document, nor is it a strict commitment by the state to achieve all aspects of the plan, but is a guide for future prioritization and action. The vision of this Indiana Wetland Program Plan (IWPP) is to advance the understanding of the services and benefits that wetlands provide to the State, to promote the restoration and creation of high quality wetlands throughout the state, and to conserve and protect Indiana’s remaining wetlands. The IWPP includes priorities, goals, and action items reflecting the opinions and needs of many wetland stakeholders located throughout the state. Its implementation is dependent upon the continued engagement of all stakeholders.
The IWPP was coordinated by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and its partners, CHA Consulting, Inc., Empower Results, LLC, and Siyan Communications, Inc. Although IDEM is the lead state agency, the IWPP was developed through a collaborative state and federal effort that included input from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (U.S. FWS), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA). This group of agencies represents the Steering Committee for this Plan. Additionally, input was sought from hundreds of stakeholders including public and private organizations and individual members of the public.
Funding for this planning effort was provided by a U.S. EPA Wetland Program Development Plan grant, CD-00E00962. For more detailed information or to participate in implementation action items please contact the Office of Water Quality Wetlands Program.