by Sandra Wilmore, Save the Dunes Conservation Fund
Moving toward a Statewide Coalition for Clean Water in Indiana
Save the Dunes Conservation Fund hosted its annual Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Network meeting titled Indiana Clear Water Revival on November 18 and 19 at the Indiana Dunes Environmental Learning Center. The conference included presentations on a wide spectrum of water issues, including Combined Sewer Overflows, Total Maximum Daily Loads, resources for watershed protection, water monitoring efforts, and the contamination of Indiana waters with the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). Even though ethanol is the additive used in Indiana, MTBE contamination has been identified as a clear and immediate threat to Indiana’s waters because it is highly soluble, so it spreads rapidly into any water system and it is a health concern at low concentrations (50ppb).
In addition to updating concerned citizens on the status of these issues, the goal of the conference was to bring together parties interested in building a statewide coalition for addressing clean water needs in Indiana (see May-June 2000 Habitat News). Save the Dunes Conservation Fund (SDCF) is compelled to assist in coordinating the statewide effort because of its position as the Indiana Hub of the Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Network. SDCF convened a panel of experts to present their visions of a statewide coalition and how best to accomplish such an effort. The panel members included Ed Paynter of Sierra Club (Indiana Chapter), Charlotte Read of Save the Dunes, Tom Neltner of Improving Kids’ Environment, and Rae Schnapp of the Hoosier Environmental Council. A statewide coalition would serve to amplify a clean water message by unifying local/regional efforts and coordinating issue specific campaigns, sharing information, and combining resources. SDCF is now working on summarizing the panel presentations and integrating comments from the conference participants. Once this report is finalized, an action plan will be proposed with further input and refining by key proponents for achieving a statewide coalition. SDCF is interested in tips from GLAHNF constituents throughout the Great Lakes Basin on establishing and implementing a state/province-wide effort. If you have worked on a similar initiative in your state/province and could offer advice, please contact Sandy Wilmore at (219) 879-3564 firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned for updates!