Indiana Forest Alliance

A Resolution in Opposition to the Proposed "Mounds Lake Reservoir"

Whereas, the Indiana Forest Alliance was incorporated in 1998 to work for the preservation and restoration of Indiana’s hardwood forest ecosystem; and

Whereas, the proposed “Mounds Lake Reservoir” will kill the free flowing White River West Fork from Anderson through Daleville and beyond turning a natural, clear, cobble-bottomed river into a manmade, murky, eutrophic lake filling with silt; and

Whereas, the proposed “Mounds Lake Reservoir” will flood out some 2,000 acres and seven miles of deeply incised riparian corridor destroying the natural environment through which this portion of the White River flows; and

Whereas, the proposed “Mounds Lake Reservoir” will drown approximately 978 acres of forest, one and a half square miles, much of it in mature to old growth condition and much of it rich riverine forest beneath high forested bluffs in the Central Till Plain Natural Region of Indiana that has suffered some of the greatest loss of original forest cover of any natural region in Indiana; and

Whereas, the proposed “Mounds Lake Reservoir” will drown a third of Mounds State Park and all of the Mounds Fen State Nature Preserve which contains the highest quality fen in east central Indiana, a globally unique wetland that has been studied extensively by two universities in the state and found to have the highest Floristic Quality Index of any site in Central Indiana; and

Whereas, Section 15 of the Indiana Nature Preserves Act, IC 14-31-1-15, prohibits the willful destruction of a state nature preserve by projects such as “Mounds Lake Reservoir” that are conceived for commercial speculation purposes rather than “an imperative and unavoidable public necessity” for “another public use”; and

Whereas, the forest, river and wetlands in this riparian corridor provide known habitat for the nationally endangered Indiana Bat, other rare bats, forest dependent neotropical migrant song birds, three dragonflies and other fauna and flora whose populations are rare to endangered in Indiana; and

Whereas, the loss of mature riparian forests with large trees and diverse species composition, forested hillsides and ravines, a fen, multiple circumneutral seeps and their associated wetlands, forested wetlands, the thick canopy of trees overhanging the White River and extensive natural bank habitats and sand bars from the proposed “Mounds Lake Reservoir” cannot be ecologically “mitigated”; and

Whereas, there will be numerous additional highly objectionable impacts from the proposed “Mounds Lake Reservoir” including the removal of families, communities and businesses along the White River who had no input in the conceiving of this “Lake” and who have resided along the River and cherished it for generations, the collapse of easily erodable hillsides and slopes that are not supported by bedrock, the flooding and collapse of slopes immediately below the mounds for which Mounds State Park is named, fundamentally altering the setting and undermining the archaeological integrity of structures built more than 2,100 years ago by the Adena and Hopewell peoples, that are the oldest human structures of their kind in the state, the flooding of numerous other native American and pioneer sites and other sites of historic value, the potential for altered hydrologic regime created by this Reservoir to endanger existing public water supplies by forcing the migration of contaminated groundwater from old, unregulated industrial dump sites under the Reservoir; and

Whereas, there are alternatives to the “Mounds Lake Reservoir” that will create economic benefit and expand public water supplies without any of this damage and at a far less expensive cost, including the promotion of the natural beauty and recreational value of the White River West Fork and its riparian corridor that have not been explored by the promoters of the proposed, “Mounds Lake Reservoir”;

Now therefore, be it resolved that the Indiana Forest Alliance opposes the proposed “Mounds Lake Reservoir” and will pursue active measures to stop this destructive project which shall include the authorization of IFA staff and leadership to: 1) reach out to affected residents assisting in their efforts to organize against this proposed reservoir; 2) reach out to other organizations and residents throughout Indiana to educate them about the destructive impacts of this proposed reservoir; 3) participate in the efforts of the Heart of the River coalition organized to preserve the White River West Fork as a free flowing stream; 4) contribute resources including funds to the efforts of the Heart of the River coalition; 5) speak out in public forums and encourage others to speak out against this Reservoir directing their attention to Governor Pence and other key decision-makers; and 6) communicate with, meet with and organize meetings with public officials, decision-makers, opinion leaders, journalists and the news media to advocate for the preservation of the White River West Fork and its riparian corridor in its natural condition.

Adopted by the Board of Directors of the Indiana Forest Alliance on March 15, 2014

 

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