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Dvorak amendment promotes better Hoosier rivers

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A successful amendment authored by State Rep. Ryan Dvorak (D-South Bend) improves a bill written to develop regional watershed commissions in Indiana by requiring scientific study, consideration for recreational uses of rivers, and preserving membership in the successful St. Joseph River Basin Commission. 

House Bill 1639 allows for the establishment of regional watershed development commissions, as well as the conversion of existing river basin commissions into WDCs. Dvorak’s amendment was accepted by the full House of Representatives on second reading.  

“The General Assembly created the St. Joseph River Basin Commission in 1988, and it has a solid track record of working to improve local water quality,” Dvorak said. “With todays amendment of House Bill 1639, our local river basin commission will be able to continue their good work with more resources than ever before. 

Dvorak’s amendment ensures the municipalities along the St. Joseph River will continue participation in watershed management.  It also ensures that watershed development commissions must encompass entire watersheds - not just fragments, and requires a scientific basis for any improvement efforts undertaken to address the rivers, including water quality, drinking water systems, storm water management, flood control, drainage and recreation.

“The rivers of Indiana are an irreplaceable natural resource,” Dvorak said. “This step forward today will help ensure that the next generation will be able to enjoy watersheds that are even healthier than the ones we have now.”

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