Results Natural Resources Category

# 1 Loss of Natural Areas, Open Space and Natural Habitat

Ranking: 95 points / 25 people ( 2375) --- (Natural Resources Category)

ISSUES

  • Commercial & residential pressures on open space
  • Loss of proper uses of natural resources
  • Lack of greenbelts or buffer zones
  • Stream bank erosion
  • Loss of natural habitat due to man's encroachment

SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS

  • Investigate ways to preserve natural areas, open space and natural habitat.
  • Protect the floodplain.
  • There should be less access to protected and unprotected natural areas.
  • Educate people on the value of open space.
  • Encourage volunteer groups to utilize Palmiter methods for river and stream bank management.
  • Encourage developers to plan for open spaces.
  • Educate people on natural resource damage and impact caused by off-road vehicles.
  • Update the "natural area" inventory from the 1970's CZM effort.
  • Restore degraded and waste areas as greenbelts and buffer zones.
  • Develop an incentive for developers and property owners to preserve the natural open space.
  • Set up green belts or buffer zones around natural resource areas and between urban and farming areas.
  • Rotate access to natural areas to reduce human impact.
  • Federal, state and local governments should enlarge parks and other areas dedicated to preservation of open space.
  • Encourage land donations.
  • Educate to reduce stream bank erosion.
  • Tax free status to set aside natural areas.
  • Encourage groups to adopt natural areas.
  • Provide county drainage board with cumulative fund to secure wetland areas.
  • Encourage property owners to give conservation easements.
  • Incentives should not be government subsidized.
  • Encourage proper management of greenbelts, rights-of-way, and industrial open spaces to preserve native vegetation and wildlife.
  • Encourage development on degraded land rather than pristine areas.
  • Develop wildlife rights-of-way in areas of heavy traffic.
  • Advertise the utility of natural areas in pollution control, improving the quality of life and other uses.
  • Reduce stream bank erosion by maintaining vegetation and preventing construction which leads to erosion.
  • Increase permit fees near natural areas to discourage construction.
  • Have IDNR distribute habitat-friendly guidelines, regarding development, to drainage boards and municipal zoning authorities.
  • Promote the concept of natural areas as zones - not static points.
  • Reduce human encroachment on open space (i.e. urban sprawl) by encouraging private developers to provide alternatives to single family residences for those who prefer such alternatives.
  • Utilize natural ravines for water retention rather than excavate detention basins.
  • Try to connect natural areas with corridors.
  • Connecting corridors should follow waterways.
  • No new dams on area waterways.

# 2 Carrying Capacity of Natural Resources Has Been Exceeded and Bio-Diversity Impacted

Ranking: 52 points / 15 people (780) --- (Natural Resources Category)

ISSUES

  • Exceeding carrying capacity of the environment
  • Bio-diversity - Why?

SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS

  • Control of exotic species should be addressed.
  • Preserve and inventory the Pharmacopeia and other economic biology as comprehensibly as possible.
  • Advertise utility of bio-diversity to increase stress resistance.
  • Educate the public on bio-diversity.
  • Support reauthorization of a strong Endangered Species Act.
  • Manage areas to encourage bio-diversity.
  • Understand (explain) the meaning of 'carrying capacity' in ways people can understand.
  • Limit accessibility to sensitive natural areas.
  • Support ecological inventory, monitoring and research efforts on public and private lands.
  • Promote graded buffer zones to protect natural areas and promote bio-diversity.
  • Do not permit human impact on natural areas to exceed the carrying capacity of the area.
  • Determine site specific carrying capacity.
  • Control wildlife populations (i.e. deer, raccoons) where no natural predators exist.
  • Have DNR procure and publish bio-marker and bio-indicator information for northwest Indiana.
  • No action alternative until there is significant improvement in these input sessions and future sessions which proportionately represent the ethnic human diversity along the Lake Michigan coastline. These sessions have overwhelmingly seen representation mainly by white people of privilege and by privilege meaning college educated or the financial means to go to college or to chose not to go.
  • Encourage scientists from universities and government institutes (i.e. National Cancer Institute) to place high priorities on listed coastal zone species in their bio- chemical testing programs.
  • Promote and fund a thorough bio-inventory of Indiana's coastal zone.
  • Do not adopt the 'no action alternative'.
  • Avoid development of natural areas within protected areas.
  • Provide adequate off-road vehicle facilities away from natural areas.
  • Promote improvement of compensatory natural areas before allowing degraded commercial developments.
  • Control excess wildlife populations by re-introduction of natural predators.

# 3 How to Finance Preservation of Existing Quality Natural Areas.

Ranking: 37 points / 13 people ( 481) --- (Natural Resources Category)

ISSUES

  • How to finance preservation of existing quality areas

SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS

  • Contribute to the "Shirley Heinze Environmental Fund" and "Nature Conservancy".
  • Cost sharing using private and public partnerships.
  • Use of tax incentives for preservation of private land.
  • Encourage the development of local land trusts.
  • Institute use of a pollution-loading, fee-based system for private, commercial and public polluters.
  • Contribute to the Indiana Division "Izaak Walton League Endowment". Buy "Heritage Trust" license plates.
  • Release "Land and Water Conservation Funds" for their intended purposes. Purchase authorized park land.
  • Have DNR and the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) create an "open lands" project for northwest Indiana.
  • Encourage donations of natural areas or conservation easements.
  • Coordinate public and private land organizations into team efforts.
  • Require private residential developers to set aside a portion of land for parks.
  • Propose "Heritage Trust" projects for funding in the coastal zone.
  • Authorize drainage boards to purchase and hold selected wetlands.
  • Establish a forest preserve district in the coastal zone, modeled after Illinois.
  • Encourage a portion of user fees, for the coastal zone, be used for preservation and construction.
  • Establish user fees for public facilities and use proceeds for purchase of natural areas.
  • Continue to utilize "Natural Resource Damage Assessments" for purchase of natural areas.
  • Change purpose of local drainage boards to be flood control and prevention boards.
  • Assess fees to drivers who hit animals, and the fee portion above the administrative expense - designate to the nearest property owner to be used for creative, indigenous preservation of their choice.

# 4 Lack of Understanding of the Environmental and Economic Benefits of Natural Resources Versus the Cost of Natural Resource Protection

Ranking: 27 points / 12 people (324) --- (Natural Resources Category)

ISSUES

  • Natural resources utility yet to be defined - (i.e. wetland filters)
  • Need to justify resource protection against economic cost / benefit analysis
  • Need to identify economic impacts

SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS

  • Need to advertise and distribute information about foreign and domestic uses in the literature and patents of undamaged natural areas. (i.e. absorption of hydrocarbons by forests)
  • Put a value on clean water for industrial use, and use money for resource protection. (i.e. $.01 / gallon)
  • Cost / benefit analysis should not be limited to monetary amounts.
  • Enlist higher education educators and students from the area in defining the benefits of natural areas.
  • There should be an ordinance, or tax on off-road vehicle damage.
  • Resource protection should not be subject to economic cost / benefit analysis.
  • List specific utilities for each resource used and the numbers of people that use them.
  • Attempt a true assessment of the cost of the loss of the Pharmacopeia (natural sources of drugs from botanical resources).
  • Start environmental elementary education programs and carry it through high school.
  • Identify the cost / benefit before making policy and regulations.
  • Propose a detailed study of industrial pollutants, out of state traffic, diesel powered vehicles and their impact on all natural resources in northwest Indiana, rather than having the driving public at large shoulder the testing burden, its costs and penalties. (i.e. vehicle emission testing program)
  • Improve trespass laws.
  • Require inclusion of a complete cost analysis of reconstruction of natural areas before issuing permits that result in their destruction.
  • Environmental classes should be in the mandatory curriculum, before graduating high school.
  • Investigate tourist's interests in flora and fauna.
  • Encourage private property owners to establish and maintain natural resource areas and educate the public on private property rights.
  • Put a dollar value on beach closings.
  • Educate the public to the fact that loss of natural resources results in economic losses as well as loss of aesthetic value.
  • Calculate, where possible, the cost of cumulative long term degradation of natural areas. (i.e. health, soil erosion, and water quality)
  • Require environmental costs be internalized. (i.e. install Best Management Practices and pollution prevention)
  • Eliminate PAC (Political Action Committee) money and lobbyists through federal legislation.
  • Identify the utility of natural areas in the maintenance of the climate, water table, air quality and recreational uses. (i.e. forests have effects on all of these)
  • Insist on a balance sheet that reflects natural resource values.
  • Praise farmers for their work in environmental improvements. Educate the public about their efforts.
  • The cost of manufactured products should include the full cost of the natural resource loss used in production.
  • Consider the future value of natural resources.
  • Be aware of resource interconnectiveness when assessing cost / benefit.
  • Encourage timely maintenance of existing drainage systems (i.e. streams, tiles, storm sewers), and encourage water detention and retention systems and filter areas. This could be supported by low interest loans over long periods to not overburden property owners and municipalities. These shall remain in private hands and not be preyed upon by public property activists once they have been established.
  • Educate the public that the history of the destruction or change in natural resources has overwhelmingly been at the hands of white men and that if any real progression in the attitude about resources and the maintenance of local resources is to happen, it must wholeheartedly embrace and involve a coalition of residents along the Lake Michigan shoreline which fully and proportionately represents our nationalities, our sexes, our races, our ages and our varying mental and physical abilities, education and incomes.
  • Use available data.
  • Compare the cost of natural vs. structural watershed management methods. Natural resource protection should not be sacrificed to private property zealots.
  • Eliminate sexist, racist and ethnic references in resource decisions.
  • Establish a working group to decide the public's best interest. (i.e. like I-94) What natural resources can be damaged or destroyed so projects can proceed at minimum cost.
  • Do a cost estimate of the loss of the use of Lake Michigan. Water, fishing, recreation, and navigation.
  • Educate owners of new, existing and abandoned water wells about the importance of properly grouting bore holes to prevent contaminated surface water from polluting the groundwater supply.
  • Prevention has benefits over remediation, usually.
  • Cost / benefit analysis should include the cost of the loss of natural resources.
  • Educate local government officials as to the cost / benefits of natural resources.

# 5 Lack of Information, Education and Understanding About Natural Resources.

Ranking: 32 points / 10 people (320) --- (Natural Resources Category)

ISSUES

  • Lack of information about parks
  • Not knowing the natural cycle
  • Need to get down to high school level education environmental issues

SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS

  • Do a detailed study of the environment's natural cycle. Offset the cost by using universities, under IDNR supervision.
  • Education should include the water flow and sand migration along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
  • Educate the public of the fact that human life depends on a sound natural resource base.
  • Encourage state and county governments to support 4-H, and to implement it more in urban areas and encourage the resource activists to support 4-H.
  • Educate legislators concerning the shallow and limited watershed of Lake Michigan, and that it is essentially a culdesac.
  • Educate the public on the threat from the anti-environmental Wise Use / property rights movement on the local and national level.
  • Encourage local participation in all resource discussions.
  • One of the Indiana Coastal Coordination Program (ICCP) goals should be to make literature available to the public - and advertise its availability.
  • Stress environmental education about local natural resources in school programs. ( i.e. field trips)
  • Increase environmental education in colleges, secondary schools and park department programs.
  • There should be weekly clean-up plans and habitat restoration projects.
  • Encourage school visits to working farms to see how drainage control and chemical usage helps produce their food.
  • Educate citizens of the value and effectiveness of utilizing organic methods - rather than chemical methods.
  • Advertise easy to digest videos on Lake Michigan. - They are available.
  • Educate the public on the importance of regulations on environmental protection.
  • Stress the idea of management against (vs.) unplanned development.
  • Educate that pro-environment is pro-life.
  • Praise industry, municipalities and other public entities for their accomplishments in improving the environment.
  • The public should be informed on the methods that provide permanent resource protection. (i.e. parks, forest preserves, wildlife refuges, etc.)
  • Develop a professional publicity program to keep information flowing to the media. (i.e. personnel, staff, weekly basis)
  • For current issues - use INTERNET for information dissemination.
  • All visitors to parks, as a requirement before entering public lands, should get a 'low impact use' educational message.
  • Inform the public about environmental abuse and resource degradation, past and present, caused by local industry.
  • So the public can better understand the impact of resource destruction, requirements for the use of Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) should be expanded.
  • Inform the public of farm and farmer loss in the area.
  • Emphasize that natural cycles are very long - much longer than the usual expected 4 year R.O.I (return on investment) investment.
  • Inform the public about the "Northwest Indiana Sustainable Development Task Force" under the NIRPC "Environmental Management Policy Committee".
  • Inform the public about the resolution passed by the Natural Resources Commission, concerning the Lake Michigan coastal region.

# 6 Commonweal Protection

Ranking: 26 points / 8 people (208) --- (Natural Resources Category)

ISSUES

  • Commonweal Protection - common rights for all of the people

# 7 Private Property Rights

Ranking: 26 points / 8 people (208) --- (Natural Resources Category)

ISSUES

  • Private property rights protection

# 8 Lakefills and Landfills - Pollution

Ranking: 20 points / 10 people (200) --- (Natural Resources Category)

ISSUES

  • Lakefills / landfills pollution

# 9 Non-Native Species

Ranking: 23 points / 8 people (184) --- (Natural Resources Category)

ISSUES

  • Introduction of non-natural species

# 10 Law Enforcement

Ranking: 14 points / 6 people (84) --- (Natural Resources Category)

ISSUES

  • Need to enforce existing laws

# 11 Clean Environment

Ranking: 14 points / 4 people (56) --- (Natural Resources Category)

ISSUES

  • Need to keep it clean and usable for non-human purposes

# 12 Hunting and Fishing

Ranking: 7 points / 3 people (21) --- (Natural Resources Category)

ISSUES

  • Over-fishing by commercial fishing
  • No year round hunting of one particular species

# 13 Identify Protection Needs

Ranking: 7 points / 3 people (21) --- (Natural Resources Category)

ISSUES

  • Need to identify level of protection needed

# 14 Bureaucracy

Ranking: 3 points / 2 people (6) --- (Natural Resources Category)

ISSUES

  • Overlapping bureaucracy "government"