Fact Sheet

The following fact sheet was recently compiled by the Heart of the River Coalition. As more becomes known about the plan, the information may be updated and expanded.

 

A plan to dam the White River and create a 7 mile long reservoir spanning Madison and Delaware counties (and covering former dump sites) was proposed earlier this year. This plan is a cause for concern because:

  • It destroys habitat that cannot be restored: The proposed reservoir would destroy about 10 miles of mature riparian ecosystem, including thousands of mature trees. Mounds State Park has the densest concentration of native plants in Indiana, as well as the best preserved fen in East Central Indiana. The river above and below the dam would also be altered. Once destroyed, these complex ecosystems could never be restored or replaced through mitigation (e.g., planting new trees).

  • It exploits “the commons”: The commons refers to community resources that belong to us all — things like air, water, and parks. The reservoir would put the water from the White River into private (possibly foreign) ownership and destroy an important portion of Mounds State Park. The impact of the dam should concern all Hoosiers.
  • It relies on eminent domain: Over 400 homes (and many businesses and places of worship) would be lost to this project. Many of these people do not wish to lose their homes for an unnecessary dam, but eminent domain would give them no choice in the matter. With several reservoirs within a 50 mile radius of Anderson, the need for another reservoir does not seem imperative, and so invoking eminent domain in this way would seem to be an unnecessary displacement.

  • It lacks environmental justice: The EPA defines Environmental Justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” There has been no meaningful involvement of those whose homes and livelihoods would be negatively affected, and concerns about water pollution from dump sites, loss of recreational opportunities, variation of reservoir water levels, true cost to taxpayers, overall cost, lack of oversight/accountability, and losing the aesthetics of a free-flowing river have not been adequately addressed.
  • It ignores and contradicts a previous plan: A plan for developing Anderson was created by a nation-wide group of urban planners in 1985. These planners sought input from a wide range of elected officials, community groups and individuals, making it a plan built on environmental justice. One of the most common threads in the study is the significance of Anderson’s natural and cultural resource: the White River. The 1985 plan outlines a Smart Growth approach to promoting the riverfront and developing Anderson’s economy without displacing people, destroying the environment or exploiting the commons.