Timeline

The following timeline provides a snapshot of historic and projected events in the development of the plan to dam the White River in Central Indiana. The Heart of the River Coalition opposes this plan and urges residents in the impacted areas to take action to stop the formation of the Mounds Lake Commission, which would silence the public dialogue in determining the future of Central Indiana and our shared natural and historic treasures.

 

Historic Events

  • 2010 — Local businessman Quinn Ricker proposes a dam and reservoir on White River as an economic development project during a Madison County Leadership Academy session. Code named “Project Oasis”, a Phase I feasibility study is secretly funded by several local businesses and wealthy residents. Funding for the dam could be a regional or international entity that would then control the water in central Indiana. A “smart water” option would use the reservoir to stabilize water levels in Geist and Morse reservoirs. The project is backed by the Madison County Corporation for Economic Development (CED).

  • March 2013 — The plan to dam the White River is first reported in local media. The 21,000 acre lake would drown nearly 1,000 acres of hardwood forest, destroy an estimated 400+ homes and businesses, and permanently alter the river. The CED ultimately claims that the dam is necessary to supply water to central Indiana, a claim that conflicts with water resource studies conducted by both Citizen’s Water and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

  • May 2013 — The Heart of the River Coalition (HTR) is formed by a group of concerned citizens in central Indiana. HTR sponsors its first Protest Paddle from Daleville to Anderson.

  • June 2013 — Protect Our Rivers Now! releases statement in opposition to the reservoir.

  • July 2013 — The Hoosier Chapter of the Sierra Club releases statement in opposition to the reservoir.

  • August 2013 — Wildcat Guardians releases statement in opposition to the reservoir.

  • October 2013 — The Heart of the River Coalition releases statement in opposition to the reservoir.

  • October 2013 — The State of Indiana gives the CED $600,000 from the State Revolving Fund Loan Program to conduct the Phase II feasibility study and promote the dam to area residents. A short time later, the state gives an additional $50,000 to the CED.

  • January 2014 — Indiana Audubon Society releases statement in opposition to the reservoir.

  • February 2014 — Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society releases statement in opposition to the reservoir.

  • March 2014 — South Bend/Elkhart Audubon Society releases statement in opposition to the reservoir.

  • March 2014 — Indiana Forest Alliance releases statement in opposition to the reservoir.

  • March 2014 — Robert Cooper Audubon Society releases statement in opposition to the reservoir.

  • May 2014 — HTR sponsors a forum and panel discussion featuring hydrogeologist Tony Fleming, LPG; economist Morton J. Marcus, PhD; biologist Donald G. Ruch, PhD; and archaeologist Donald R. Cochran, MA.

  • May 2014 — HTR sponsors a protest paddle from Daleville to Anderson.

  • May 2014 — Friends of the White River releases statement in opposition to the reservoir.

  • May 2014 — The Upper White River Watershed Alliance releases statement of concern regarding the reservoir proposal.

  • June 2014The Herald Bulletin reports that the EPA and US Fish and Wildlife Service have serious concerns about the planned dam and reservoir. A dam would be highly destructive and should only be considered as a last option.

  • June 2014 — Indiana Wildlife Federation releases statement in opposition to the reservoir.

  • June 2014 — Indiana Archaeology Council releases statement in opposition to the reservoir.

  • June 2014 — Muncie-Delaware Clean & Beautiful releases statement in opposition to the reservoir.

  • July 2014 — Hoosier Environmental Council releases statement in opposition to the reservoir.

  • August 2014 — Hoosier Environmental Council releases its Mounds Greenway plan to the public.

  • August 2014 — The CED and HTR both have informational displays in Chesterfield, Daleville, and Yorktown. HTR is refused the opportunity to hand out information at the Anderson Mall.

  • September 2014 — Local commentary raises concerns about potential backing for the dam by Nestle Corporation, whose exploitation of water resources was exposed in the award-winning documentary Bottled Life.

  • September 2014 — Central Indiana Land Trust releases statement in opposition to the reservoir.

  • September 2014 – Damnation Documentary Screening, Reardon Auditorium, Anderson University

  • November 2014 — Heart of the River sponsors a second panel discussion on Nov. 5, 2014.

  • November 2014 — Panel discussion held at the Ball State University College of Architecture, covered by WBST.

  • November 2014 — White River Watchers endorse the Mounds Greenway.

  • November 2014 — Heart of the River representatives present to students at Anderson University and at Trine University in Angola.

  • January 24, 2015 — “Riverness” an Afternoon with Scott Russell Sanders, Tanglewood Conference Center, Anderson. Videos available.

  • January 2015 — Heart of the River members present to the Anderson Kiwanis Club

  • February 26, 2015 — Heart of the River and the League of Women Voters of Delaware-Muncie host a 3rd panel discussion in Yorktown. Video available.

  • March 4, 2015 — An independent peer review of the Phase II feasibility study by experts at Ball State University calls into question the feasibility conclusion being claimed by proponents of the project. Read more about the BSU peer review.

  • March 2015 — Heart of the River participates in the Delaware County Farm Festival

  • March 20, 2015 — Heart of the River and multiple partner organizations hold a press conference at Mounds State Park, inviting CED to work together on a more environmentally responsible and economically viable alternative. Video available.

  • May 17, 2015 — Delaware County Council hosts event for public comment on the reservoir proposal. For over an hour, no one spoke in favor of the reservoir.

  • May 27, 2015 — Delaware Co. Council votes unanimously against the reservoir proposal.

  • June 1, 2015 — Delaware Co. Commissioners vote unanimously against the reservoir proposal.

  • Thursday, June 11, 2015 — The Anderson City Council votes in favor of formation of a Mounds Lake Commission.

  • Monday, August 3, 2015 — The Chesterfield Town Council votes in favor of formation of a Mounds Lake Commission in a 3-2 vote.

  • Monday, Sept. 14, 2015 — The Daleville Town Council votes unanimously against the formation of the Mounds Lake Commission. According to the Anderson Herald-Bulletin, the major advocate for the Mounds Lake Reservoir, Rob Sparks, "agreed that as the commission ordinance is written, the commission can’t continue without Daleville."

  • Monday, Sept. 21, 2015 — The Yorktown Town Council votes 6-1 against the formation of the Mounds Lake Commission.

 

Projected Events

The following projected events, based on CED estimates, could come to pass. But there is still time for the public to influence the course of the future. Again, HTR urges local residents to take action now!

  • Fall 2014 — Formation of the Mounds Lake Commission by the six taxing units affected by the plan (Madison County, Delaware County, the City of Anderson, and the towns of Daleville, Chesterfield, and Yorktown). The commission will be tasked with following through on all phases of dam design and construction IF each taxing entity approves of the plan.

  • 2016, 2017, or 2018 — Preliminary design and permitting process estimated at $10 million.

  • 2020 - 2022 — Dam construction is completed; reservoir begins to fill; logging and archaeological excavations presumed to occur; eminent domain condemnations proceed. Although CED cost estimates are projected to be $400 million, multiple independent sources estimate actual costs would be closer to $1 billion.

 

Notable Historic Events

Events of significance not related to the proposed dam and reservoir:

  • 1979 — Indiana Department of Natural Resources releases a study entitled The Recreation Potential of the White River-Anderson-Muncie. [Note: This link is a large PDF file (42MB). Please allow time for download to complete.]

  • December 1999 — Guide Corp. in Anderson releases quantities of a chemical called DMDK, which ultimately kill an estimated 5 million fish between Anderson and Indianapolis. Citizen groups raise $135,000+ to restock the river with game fish.

  • June 2001 — A $14 million settlement is reached on the fish kill; restoration begins.