Tuesday is Conservation Day at the State House. The League of Women Voters of Indiana is a member of the Indiana Conservation Alliance (INCA) and will have representatives among those in Indianapolis Tuesday to advocate for conservation issues.

This year the Alliance will be advocating for Indiana Heritage Trust supporting an appropriation of $2 million a year and using more of the revenues raised by the sale of Environment license plates. Since 2001, the license plate revenues exceeded budget allocations 3 to 1.

Increasing the appropriation is important because the Indiana Heritage Trust is the only dedicated land acquisition fund for the five land acquiring divisions of Department of Natural Resources. The Heritage Trust protects important natural lands for state and local parks, forests, fish and wildlife areas, significant lands for nature preserves, and lands specifically used for outdoor recreation as well as historic sites.

Advocates believe the Heritage Trust is an investment in our collective future. These investments become a part of our natural capital, just as important to individuals as money in the bank, a quality education and good health. The Heritage Trust has over 100 partners and has completed nearly 400 projects totaling close to 58,000 acres.

The Indiana Conservation Alliance also supports the Bicentennial Nature Trust which was established by Governor Daniels in January 2012, as "fitting sequel and bequest from our second century to our third."

Similar to the celebration of Indiana's 100th birthday, which launched the state park system, the Bicentennial Nature Trust is a statewide effort intended to inspire others to match the state's investment with their donations of land or dollars in a continuing statewide surge of conservation. The intent of the Bicentennial Nature Trust is to preserve and protect important conservation and recreation areas throughout the State of Indiana.

The Indiana Conservation Alliance supports Clean Water Indiana (CWI) which was created to protect and enhance the water quality of Indiana's lakes, rivers, and streams, by reducing the amount of polluted storm water runoff entering surface and groundwater from urban and rural lands.

An issue of concern is the pollution of streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs by high concentrations of phosphorous. This contributes to the spread of noxious, blue-green algae blooms which produces toxins, makes water unsafe to drink and swim in, kills fish and other aquatic life and reduces property values.

Funding to support Soil and Water Conservation Districts and conservation delivery systems in 92 counties also need to be strengthened. Indiana's soil resources are remarkable. However, Indiana is losing approximately 3.5 tons/acre/year of soil annually dues to wind and water erosions at a cost of $275 million ($6 per ton).

Soil and Water Conservation Districts are the only agencies whose primary focus is soil and water quality. The ability of these local agents to work across political boundaries, to garner support form a wide range of local partners, and to engage stakeholders in water quality planning is not duplicated by any other government agency or not for profit group.

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan, multi-issue political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase public understanding of major policy issues and influences public policy through education and advocacy. All men and women are invited to join LWV where hand-on work to safeguard democracy leads to civic improvement. For information about the League, visit the website: www.lwvmontco.org or send a message to lwvmontco@gmail.com or LWV, PO Box 101, Crawfordsville, 47933.