SEVERE WX : Freeze Warning - Freeze Watch View Alerts

Senate Bill 389 opposed by local home owners associations

This bill repeals the law requiring a permit from the Department of Environmental management to build on an Isolated wetland. While this bill has support from developers across the state, several homeowners in West Lafayette are against it.

Posted: Mar 8, 2021 11:42 PM

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WLFI)-According to the National Audubon Society Senate Bill 389 removes protections for over 600,000 acres of wetlands. Those 600,000 acres serve as vital habitat for birds and wildlife. 

"Wetlands are really important not only for birds and wildlife habitat but for people they help filter and clean water they help with flooding they are a buffer," said Marnie Urso the Policy Director for Audubon Great Lakes. 

This bill repeals the law requiring a permit from the Department of Environmental management to build on an Isolated wetland. An isolated wetland does not have a connection to a regulated body of water. While this bill has support from developers across the state, several homeowners in West Lafayette are against it.

"Even though we don't own the land we'd prefer that it stay a wetland and not be developed because we think there is plenty of other land that can be developed for housing," said Larry Svajgr President of the West Port Homeowners Association in West Lafayette. 

Privacy is a concern for homeowners, but there are also concerns about projects being disruptive.

"If this bill passes there is a potential that wetlands which border our neighborhood could be drained and filled in," said Don Schneck the President of the Arbor Chase Homeowners Association.  "In that case, all of their privacy is gone."

Schneck says for his neighborhood, there could be consequences if the wetlands are drained.

"We do know according to the Army Corp of Engineers that it won't have an impact on water but it might have an impact on drainage," said Schneck. 

None of the authors of the bill returned our request for an interview. However, State Senator Linda Rogers did send us a statement. It says, "The intent of Senate Bill 389 is to bring Indiana in line with 42 other states and the most up to date guidance of the Federal Clean Water Act. The EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers revised their definition of 'Waters of the US' under the Clean Water Act in 2020. Under the revised definition, that by definition, 'do not have a continuous surface connection to a regulated surface body of water or ephemeral streams that carry the flow of water only in direct response to rainfall or snow-melt.' It is only isolated wetlands that are addressed in SB 389 and thus there is no effect on drinking water or its quality as a result of this bill. The two previously mentioned agencies are responsible for drinking water quality and I want to see them continue this role as well as provide guidance for all Hoosiers to maintain the enjoyment of defined Wetlands in our state now and in the future."

However, the red maps attached to this article represent thousands of acres of isolated wetlands that would be affected if this bill passes. A change that could be detrimental to endangered species across the state of Indiana.

"We know that the regional population of some of these species declined as much as 80 percent in a few short decades so it could have a pretty big impact on certain species," said Urso. 

The bill passed in the Senate and has been assigned to the Environmental Affairs committee in the house. To read the bill in full click here. 

Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 33°
Kokomo
Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 24°
Rensselaer
Mostly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 32°
Lafayette
Mostly Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 33°
Danville
Mostly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 32°
Frankfort
Mostly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 22°
Frankfort
Mostly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 22°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 28°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 28°
Logansport
Partly Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 27°
Snow to Two Nights of Freezing...
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 708779

Reported Deaths: 13226
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion966191721
Lake51761946
Allen39224672
Hamilton34549405
St. Joseph34157541
Elkhart27356432
Vanderburgh22081394
Tippecanoe21853212
Porter17935299
Johnson17544374
Hendricks16822310
Clark12697190
Madison12353337
Vigo12219244
Monroe11469166
LaPorte11162204
Delaware10366184
Howard9664211
Kosciusko9134114
Hancock7990139
Bartholomew7893155
Warrick7691155
Floyd7563176
Wayne6906198
Grant6844171
Boone6556100
Morgan6405138
Dubois6085117
Marshall5786108
Dearborn570376
Cass5685102
Henry5579101
Noble542683
Jackson493569
Shelby479495
Lawrence4342118
Gibson429089
Harrison428570
Clinton419753
Montgomery418086
DeKalb411184
Whitley380239
Huntington379880
Miami372865
Knox366689
Steuben365757
Putnam353160
Jasper350946
Wabash347878
Adams338052
Ripley334668
Jefferson313180
White308454
Daviess289499
Wells286481
Decatur279092
Fayette277262
Greene270785
Posey268833
Scott261153
LaGrange253670
Clay253544
Randolph235680
Washington231031
Spencer228031
Jennings225047
Fountain208845
Sullivan207942
Starke204752
Owen192356
Fulton192039
Jay186429
Carroll185920
Perry180736
Orange177853
Rush170724
Vermillion166043
Franklin165635
Tipton161043
Parke144616
Blackford133831
Pike130334
Pulaski113845
Newton104234
Brown100140
Crawford97614
Benton97113
Martin82915
Warren79715
Switzerland7698
Union69910
Ohio55811
Unassigned0408

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events