ANDERSON, Indiana — Another environmental group has come out against plans for a new seven-mile long reservoir along the White River in central Indiana, citing concerns about damage to Mounds State Park.
A regional chapter of the Audubon Society says the proposed Mounds Lake Reservoir would flood at least one third of the park near Anderson known for earthworks built more than 2,000 years ago by the Adena-Hopewell people. It would destroy the park's nature preserve and submerge hiking trails along the White River, Sarah McKillip, president of the Audubon Society's Robert Cooper chapter, told The Herald Bulletin (http://bit.ly/1ekeejS ).
"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."
An environmental study is being conducted for the 2,100-acre lake that's estimated to cost between $350 million and $450 million to build. A 50-foot-high earthen dam would create a lake in Madison and Delaware counties slightly larger than Geist Reservoir on the northeast side of Indianapolis.
Advocates of the project say creating the new reservoir would improve flood control, create prime real estate for waterfront housing and boost property values and economic development in the Anderson area. The reservoir could also provide bike paths, fishing and other recreational activities for the public, and help supplement water needs in the Indianapolis metropolitan area.
The Audubon Society chapter says it has about 500 members in Madison, Delaware and other nearby counties.
An opposition group formed last year, the Heart of the River Coalition, said it was concerned that waste from former auto industry plants could contaminate the reservoir.
Marty Benson, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, said the agency has yet to become involved in discussions about the reservoir.
"Until the permits required are applied for, the DNR will not have an active role," he said.
State Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, said he was concerned about the reservoir's impact on Mounds State Park and that discussions about the project must be transparent.
"The state park is an important asset for the community and Indiana," Lanane said. "We need to know what the impact will be and the impact on the White River."
Information from: The Herald Bulletin, http://www.theheraldbulletin.com