Wetlands, which are protected under the Clean Water Act, are important for their ability to support a variety of plant and animal life. They also buffer waterways against nutrient influx, sediments, and pollutants that may damage the aquatic system. Research studies in 2009 and 2010 identified several jurisdictional wetlands at IU Bloomington that vary greatly in size, quality, and type.
IU Bloomington began its first riparian and wetland restoration project along a section of the Jordan River in 2009. The project is located near the Wright Education Building and the Jordan Avenue Parking Garage and is currently being monitored for a five year period to measure success. The IU Master Plan includes recommendations for an increase in the riparian buffer along the length of the Jordan River and a creation of new wetland areas.
Because of the Clean Water Act, any construction, dredging, or excavation project that may disturb a wetland as defined by the regulations, require a permit issued by the regulating agency. Because IU has many such projects going on at any given time, it is important to accurately identify wetlands on each campus. Identifying these areas can be difficult because visibly standing water is not necessarily required for an area to be defined as a wetland.