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Trump Budget Called Threat to Indiana Waterways

Volunteers tag Monarchs though programs sponsored by the Indiana Wildlife Federation. (indianawildlife.org)
Volunteers tag Monarchs though programs sponsored by the Indiana Wildlife Federation. (indianawildlife.org)
October 23, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS -- An effort to save Indiana's waterways is under way. It's part of a push by the National Wildlife Federation to combat negative impacts under budget cuts proposed by the Trump administration.

The agency is conducting a campaign to educate people about what decreases in funding for habitat, wildlife and water programs could mean for the state. Emily Wood, executive director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation, said in Indiana, waterways are at risk with the repeal of the Clean Water Act.

"On paper it's a budget cut and a lot of people don't like to think about budgets, they're not very sexy,” Wood said. “But when you start to look at a lot of the threats that are tied to different things, it's really easy to see that a budget cut in the way that it's proposed would be really, really damaging."

Wood said drinking water for nearly 700,000 Hoosiers would be impacted by cuts proposed in Washington. The Indiana Wildlife Federation is holding public events to get residents motivated to help protect the environment and to educate them on ways they can help prevent drastic budget cuts.

Wood said headway was made under the Obama administration to protect drinking water, but many Hoosier lakes and rivers are still not safe for swimming or fishing. She said rolling back the Clean Water Rule will certainly impede future progress.

"One of the main things we're asking is, if it's going to be undone, that we go through a similar process, where we hear all the science, and we actually investigate what these budget cuts would scientifically mean before they're just cut,” she said.

The Indiana Wildlife Federation has also been helping Hoosiers focus on protecting wildlife by training volunteers to become field researchers for the endangered Monarch butterfly. And a Monarch sanctuary planting is being conducted on November 4 along the White River, to make the area "butterfly friendly."

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IN