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Monday, March 10, 2014

Environment - Mounds Lake reservoir plan opposed by environmental groups

The ILB first learned of the proposed Mounds Lake Reservoir yesterday via this letter in the Indianapolis Star, signed by Rosemarie Jeffery of Muncie. It begins:

Shortly after moving to Muncie in 1992, my family and I visited Mounds State Park. We have since visited many times each year. We have delighted in the bountiful spring wildflowers, and canoeing down the river is a great way to enjoy the wooded corridor through the park in the summer. Another wonderful facet of Mounds State Park is that it encompasses some of the best preserved mounds built by the prehistoric Adena people. The Great Mound is thought to have been built around 160 BCE.

We have appreciated Mounds Park even more since realizing that it is one of few high-quality natural areas remaining in East-Central Indiana. Therefore, it is with great dismay that we have read about the Mounds Reservoir Project. This project would result in the loss of one-third of Mounds State Park, including the state-dedicated Mounds Fen Nature Preserve. The habitat loss both in the park and the wooded corridor along the river would be a tremendous blow to wildlife.

The Anderson Herald Bulletin had a story yesterday by Ken de la Bastide headed "Audubon Society opposed to reservoir: Concern is impact on Mounds State Park." Some quotes:
ANDERSON – Another environmental group has voiced opposition to the proposed Mounds Lake reservoir based on concerns over the potential impact on Mounds State Park.

The Robert Cooper Audubon Society, which represents 500 members in Madison, Delaware, Henry, Grant, Jay, Randolph and Blackford counties, stated the proposed reservoir would “exact a heavy cost to the natural environment by inundating at least one-third of Mounds State Park."

Marty Benson, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, said DNR has not taken an active role in the discussion concerning the reservoir.

“Nothing has been formally done,” he said. “Until the permits required are applied for the DNR will not have an active role.”

State Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, said the process surrounding the proposed reservoir has to be transparent.

“My concern is the impact on Mounds State Park,” he said. “The state park is an important asset for community and Indiana. We need to know what the impact will be and the impact on the White River.”

Lanane said residents should insist on transparency throughout the discussion period on the proposed reservoir.

“There are still a lot of questions that need to be resolved,” he said.

Among the consequences would be the loss of shaded hiking trails along White River that would be submerged, the group said in a press release. Another concern is that the Adena-Hopewell Indian mounds would be subjected to a greater threat of flooding and erosion.

“The complete destruction of the Mounds Fen State Nature Preserve,” Sarah McKillip, president of the local society, said. “The board meets four times a year and voted unanimously to approve the opposition to the reservoir.”

McKillip said group members have attended several of the public forums on the reservoir, but this is the first time it has voiced opposition to the plan.

“We have reviewed the impact of the proposed change to the White River channel that would inundate the Mounds Fen Nature Preserve,” she said. “That’s our main concern right now.”

She said the proposed reservoir would destroy a unique biodiversity area of the Fen.

The Fen, designated in 1980, is remarkable not only for its “clean water” but the profusion of wild flowers, indicating a high-quality woods with minimal disturbance, McKillip said. She said the park also contains numerous critically important animal and plant species native to Indiana.

The local Audubon Society noted that 360,000 people visited Mounds State Park last year.

“We are going to look at the environmental impact of the proposed reservoir,” McKillip said, “and the potential impact of the reservoir along the entire White River watershed.”

Currently a Phase II study of the proposed Mounds Lake Reservoir is being undertaken with a $600,000 grant from the state. * * *

Mounds Lake Reservoir, which would cost an estimated $350 million to $450 million to create, would stretch approximately from East Lynn Street in Anderson east by northeast around Chesterfield and Daleville into Delaware County, ending just north of Delaware County Road 300 South.

The "Mounds Lake on the White River" project has a sophisticated website, access it here.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 10, 2014 03:09 PM
Posted to Environment