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When developing projects, INDOT must consider impacts a project might have on water quality. Impacts could include things like erosion and siltation of streams, realignment or relocation of a waterway, and filling or draining of wetlands. The environment assessment section helps insure that a project avoids impacts to wetlands and water quality where possible, minimize impacts that are unavoidable, and mitigate for impacts that exceed regulatory limits.
Erosion control methods are planned, for construction projects, which will prevent soil from eroding from the site and polluting any receiving waterways. When channels are realigned or relocated due to an INDOT project, the new channel is designed to mimic natural stream features and to reduce the potential for erosion within the channel.
When a project impacts a wetland, INDOT mitigates for those impacts by constructing new wetlands, restoring prior converted wetlands, or enhancing existing but degraded wetlands. In the past few years, INDOT constructed or restored 18 wetland sites, totally over 218 acres, throughout Indiana. Several more sites are in the planning stage and we are always looking for potential future sites.
Wetlands perform many functions that are beneficial and desirable to humans. They filter sediment and pollutants from surface waters. They reduce or even prevent flooding in other areas of the landscape. They provide specialized habitat for songbirds, waterfowl, small mammals, and several state endangered plants and animals. And they are home dozens of stunning and unique wildflowers. Wetlands are valued for the recreational opportunities they provide such as hunting, fishing, bird watching, etc.
Would you like to work with INDOT to create or restore a wetland on your property? Maybe you have an interest in nature, wildlife, wildflowers, birding or the environment and would like to increase the diversity of your property. Maybe you are a farmer with a low, wet farm field that you would like to take out of production. Maybe you are a conservation/preservation group who would like to expand your land holdings but lack the finances.
INDOT has several mechanisms for long term management of mitigation wetland sites. We can purchase property outright from a willing seller. We can set up a conservation easement where the landowner retains ownership of the property with a deed restriction requiring that the property remain a wetland in perpetuity. Or we can purchase property, construct a wetland, and then turn the property over to a conservation/preservation organization with a deed restriction.