Ducks Unlimited improves nearly 700 wetland acres in Indiana

Staff Reports

Ducks Unlimited and numerous partners protected, enhanced or restored 678 acres of wetland and grassland habitat on seven Indiana project sites in 2020, greatly improving water quality and wildlife habitat.

The milestones in 2020 were achieved with field staff taking extra precautions and using creative solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic and at a time when Indiana’s state-protected wetlands face unprecedented threats in the legislature. The acres conserved added to a sizeable historical investment in Indiana.

Over the last 30 years, Ducks Unlimited has completed more than 600 projects, which conserved nearly 33,000 wetland and grassland acres across the state, investing more than $19 million in wetland habitats.

Numerous partners contributed to the projects with federal funding from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act.

To be successful, voluntary wetlands conservation efforts from Ducks Unlimited and other groups rely on state and federal protections, which prevent further habitat loss. Senate Bill 389 would completely eliminate Indiana’s isolated wetland protection program. The state’s wetland protection program is structured to conserve the state’s wetlands not otherwise protected by section 404 of the Federal Clean Water Act.

If this legislation is passed in its current form, hundreds of thousands of acres of wetlands would be at risk of unmitigated draining and filling. The bill was approved by the Senate and now awaits debate in the House.

“Nearly 90% of Indiana’s wetlands have been lost due to human development,” said Dane Cramer, Ducks Unlimited regional biologist for Indiana. “Our landscape-level conservation efforts help more than ducks. Wetlands benefit local residents by reducing flooding risk, improving water quality and boosting the economy.”

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 15 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent.