[r51] A continued commitment to Indiana lakes (4/6/2012)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Start Date: 4/6/2012
End Date: 4/6/2012
As many of you may know, my time as your state representative is coming to an end. After much consideration and thought, I have decided to not seek reelection for the upcoming term.
During the past eight years I have made it one of my primary missions to conserve and protect Indiana lakes. I took particular interest in this due to the hundreds of wonderful lakes which are located right here in District 51. We should all feel very lucky to live in such a beautiful, scenic portion of this great state.
That is why we must not take our lakes and other bodies of water for granted. I wanted to send one final message to remind you all of this and the growing concerns we are facing.
As vice-chairman of the Natural Resources Committee and chairman of the Lakes Management Work Group, I have had the opportunity over the years to examine and study several pertinent lake related issues.
A major concern that has arisen is the presence of phosphorous in our bodies of water and its direct correlation with the contamination of our lakes. The phosphorous that runs into our lakes and reservoirs can allow for the toxic growth of blue-green algae. This is an issue that is not limited to our district, but is impacting bodies of water all throughout Indiana.
One way we can help reduce this issue is by being more responsible with the use of fertilizers. I introduced legislation in the past that would place restrictions on fertilizers containing phosphorous. Unfortunately, this legislation has not been able to gain any traction. I hope next year, this issue will not be forgotten and another representative will work to further this cause at the Statehouse.
Over the years, this topic has been more and more prevalent in the many meetings I have attended on lake related issues. I recently attended the 24th annual Indiana Lakes Management Conference, which was held at the Brown County State Park in Nashville, IN.  This conference was very informative and discussed and analyzed a variety of topics.
Although a variety of issues were discussed, Northern Indiana was addressed during a presentation, pertaining to blue-green algae toxins, showing that this topic is one that is being focused on by many different groups and organizations. At the state level, I am hoping advancements can be made to help control this growing concern.
Due to the fact that there has not been any legislative action taken at this point in time, it is important for us all to do what we can to not add to the phosphorus run off in our lakes and reservoirs. It would be beneficial to several lake areas, if retailers could provide educational information explaining these toxic fertilizers and the harm they are posing to our lakes.
Even though my time as a state representative is winding down, I will remain committed to the well-being of our lakes, not from a legislative standpoint anymore, but from a personal standpoint. Like you, these lakes are part of my community and we should do everything we can to protect them and the people who use them for recreational purposes.
It has been a true privilege to represent this district over the past eight years and I hope, like me, you feel lucky to call District 51 your home.