Chesterton Tribune

Porter County Ikes want Little Cal agency to replace destroyed wetlands

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The Porter County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America is asking the Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission to implement the wetland mitigation required of them by their state permits.

“The permits to the commission to build their levees and flood control project require the wetland mitigation be completed by Sept. 29, 2012,” said board member Tom Anderson.

Wetland mitigation is the restoration of wetlands in one place for those that were destroyed by a project in another. Anderson continued, “The Little Cal Commission hasn’t started the mitigation yet so they will not meet the deadline.”

The group maintains that the work is required by the Construction in a Floodway permit from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Water and the Section 401 permit from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Member Sandy O’Brien said the mitigation is essential to the “Hobart Marsh” area, part of a 1000 acre natural area complex just south of the river near I-65. She said the mitigation can enhance the area and “maximize the ecological and recreational benefit” of the mitigation by connecting existing protected conservation land.

The Porter County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League has been involved with the planning and design of the flood control project since the Commission was formed in the 1970’s said past chapter president Herb Read.

Members met recently with First District Congressman Pete Visclosky and asked him to remind the Commission that they will need local funds to secure the federal portion of the cost of mitigation. They also reminded him that a recreational component was added in 1977 to obtain a favorable cost/benefit determination from the US Army Corps of Engineers.

President Jim Sweeney said, “We urge the Little Cal Commission to elevate the mitigation in priority and to place it on their agenda at every meeting until the mitigation is completed.”

“The construction project is nearing completion,” said Anderson, “so should the mitigation. It is required by the law.”



Posted 11/16/2011