Sierran Masthead

Sprawl, Clean Water Are Main Concerns in Survey

Sprawl and clean water are the main environmental concerns of Sierra Club members in Indiana, according to a survey conducted by the Hoosier Chapter.

In a mailed questionnaire, 542 members randomly selected from more than 5,000 were asked to select the most pressing environmental issue facing Indiana in the next five years. The four issues listed as choices are also national Sierra Club priorities:

  • Clean water (addressing water pollution from towns, farms, septics, and industry; flooding)
  • Forest protection (ending commercial logging in the Hoosier National Forest; creating Forest Service accountability)
  • Public lands and wildlands protection and restoration (establishing the Grand Kankakee Marsh National Wildlife Refuge and Jefferson Proving Ground National Wildlife Refuge)
  • Urban sprawl (promoting smart-growth initiatives and farmland preservation; addressing highway issues)

Of the 542 members sent the survey, 168 responded. Sprawl and clean water each received 34.5 percent of the vote. Public lands and wildlands protection were ranked first by 14.9 percent of members. Forest protection was considered the top priority by 8.9 percent of members. The percentages do not add up to 100 because some respondents listed other issues or left the question blank. Other survey questions covered topics such as club participation.

Geography seems to have played a role in the responses. For example, over half of Heartlands Group respondents chose sprawl as their top concern. Many Heartlands Group members live in the Indianapolis area. Dunelands Group members live near Lake Michigan and chose clean water as their priority, followed by sprawl.

Clean water ranked number one for members of the Wildcat and River Hills Groups. Sprawl and clean water tied as priorities for Uplands and Michiana Group members. (The survey was taken before the White River chemical spill.)

Volunteer Karie Wiltshire conducted the survey as a project for her studies at Grinnell College. The information will be used in chapter planning.

Copyright © 2007 Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club, all rights reserved.[10/8/02]efp

Spring 2000