The South Bend-Elkhart Audubon Society

SBEA statement regarding the proposed Mounds Lake Reservoir, as of March, 2014:

On behalf of over 800 members the Board of Directors of the South Bend-Elkhart Audubon Society opposes the proposed damming of the White River, which would inundate miles of a riparian ecosystem including Mounds Fen State Nature Preserve, other wetlands, and one-third of Mounds State Park itself. This proposal runs counter to our Society’s mission to preserve natural habitat and protect wildlife; we oppose the destruction of not only this preserve, but any state nature preserve. The State of Indiana is continuously losing natural areas to development. Instead of flooding such areas we should be striving to expand them.

The reasons for objecting to this proposal are numerous. The reservoir would be on or near hazardous waste dumps, which would threaten the public with contamination. The loss of thousands of mature trees would adversely affect air and water quality, as well as contributing to climate change. Plans for the reservoir show it would be less than 100 feet from several prehistoric burial mounds, placing them at great risk from possible floods. Loss of natural habitat would adversely affect numerous wild birds, endangered species such as the Indiana bat, and almost 500 plant species which make this site one of the most botanically diverse in Indiana.

The reasons behind this proposal are dubious. According to state law a dedicated nature preserve is not to be used for other purposes unless for “imperative and unavoidable public necessity.” It is our understanding that this reservoir is not needed to supply water to Indianapolis or its environs. Apparently its primary function is to provide lakefront property that would monetarily benefit certain real estate developers. This project would not serve the public good, but rather a small number of individuals at great cost to the natural world.

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