Indiana Landmarks recently released its list of ten most endangered Indiana historic landmarks for 2014. Anderson’s Athletic Park Pool is on the list again. More info at:
Hopefully, Anderson officials will find a way to preserve this important landmark.
Alas, as the old adage goes, “There’s no money in preservation”. Perhaps the best bad example of that adage is represented by the current destructive and costly plan to create an unneeded new reservoir in Anderson.
The Heart of the River coalition, a citizens group formed to scrutinize, and subsequently to oppose, the planned dam and reservoir on White River, will present exhibits and information this Saturday, April 26th at both Earth Day/Arborfest in ShadysidePark on Broadway in Anderson and at Earth Day Indiana festival at White RiverState Park in Indianapolis. The times for both festivals are 11:00 to 3:00.
A that time, weather permitting, a 120-foot aerial banner will be flown above the White River between Anderson and Indianapolis.
Also, nationally-recognized Anderson theater artist Doug Berky has designed a 12-foot animated blue-heron puppet which will visit the Indianapolis festival and deliver a special message.
Study underway on Ind. water supply
For more details on water planning issues, listen to The Water Values Podcast, a show “dedicated to water utilities, resources, treatment, reuse and all things water,” which recently hosted Wittman as a guest.
- The increasing number of registered irrigation facilities illustrates a growing source of demand for the state’s water resources.
- Courtesy of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources
After hearing experts testify at a legislative summer study committee about the need for a comprehensive understanding of Indiana’s water supply and demand, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce decided to step up and get the job done.
(photo of Jack Wittman)
- Intera Geoscientist Jack Wittman
- Courtesy of Intera
The chamber last fall hired Jack Wittman, a hydrogeologist based in Bloomington, Ind., who has worked with water resource issues on a national scale, to survey Indiana’s available information to help various stakeholders understand the state of the state’s water resources. He is now with a principal geoscientist with Intera, a national geo-engineering firm that specializes in environmental issues, water resources, and waste isolation. What follows are edited excerpts of a March 4 telephone interview with Wittman.
Q: What inspired the effort to commission a survey of the state’s water resources?
A: A fog of uncertainty about what will happen. …The survey will look at facts, conditions and geography; not just physical landscape, but growth of the economies and populations – they’re going to tell the story.
The last inventory written by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, “Indiana’s Water Resource,”was published in 1980.
(map of population growth by county)
- A map of the state’s population illustrates the areas in which people are directly adding pressure to local water resources. [The red areas represent the highest-growth areas.]
- Courtesy of Jack Wittman
Q: What sort of trend changes are you seeing?
A: The state has many industrial users that are no longer here, but they weren’t everywhere – just in particular regions. So water use in those areas of the state is down, but other counties of the state are losing population as new irrigation is increasing use … In one county, 43 million gallons a day in the middle of summer when there are 20,000 people.
Q: What can the data tell us about water use around Indy?
A: If you looked around MarionCounty and mapped GDP to water use, there is a correlation, influenced by the size of yards and whether there is sod and automatic sprinkler systems.
Q: What are the supply and demand issues telling us?
A: There are times where the use in counties exceeded or met the recharge back into the aquifer. What policymakers have to decide is: How do we get the people using the water to alter their uses when there isn’t enough water? … Maybe particular limits in dry years or, from now on in this area, be aware of and manage how we build new wells.
As a wet state, Indiana hasn’t had to grapple with resource allocation because no one needed to. I don’t think anyone didn’t do his or her job. It’s just that lately, things have gotten more difficult. This survey will help us take smart steps to anticipate the future and use the resources we have wisely.
(map of water availability)
- The darker areas on this map reflect the areas with the highest water availability.
- Courtesy of Jack Wittman
Q: So what will you be able to tell us?
A: One of the things I’ll be doing is making a Sustainability Index using maps of aquifers to estimate the amount of recharge back into the counties. I can already tell you that there are counties where recharge – the volume of water flowing into the aquifers – is matched by the amount of water pumped out. Long-term if counties are going to grow, they’re going to have to figure out ways to manage their water so they can be sustainable. There are places in the middle of the state where that is going to be important. One of my recommendations will be to have all users talking about how to avoid stepping on each others’ toes. That’s how it works in real life: “We’re over here and we need this much.” “We were thinking about a well here … ” If those people aren’t even in the room, you don’t know what the future need may be. Those communities are economically linked. The real question is: Where are they are located with relation to each other and when do they each need water?
Q: What’s the projected outcome of all this work?
A: One important outcome is a broad estimate of how much water we may need in the future. There’s a process part of what has to happen as well. There’s also measurement stuff with gauging and monitoring. We have some but not nearly enough data about water levels and flows. More measurement doesn’t faze a place like Saskatchewan [which has much more robust monitoring than Indiana] … The world awakened on this topic; to compete for business and grow ourselves we need to know more about where we are limited and how to address that need.
Q: The fact that Las Vegas recycles its waste water to drink is fascinating. The fact that the farmers in Imperial Valley this year did not get a water allotment is fascinating – and terrifying.
A: The West over the next few decades is going to lose some of its appeal to some kinds of economic growth. Water has become more important in terms of locating facilities and communities. I think the Midwest has to be ready for that.
Indiana is one of the states that could take advantage of the fact that it has, at the state scale, plenty of water. We have an immature approach [to water management], but not deficient in the way we sort out how to handle these problems. So that’s the next phase; getting all these folks in the same room … I’m kind of excited about it.
There is a huge opening in the world for Eastern water policy … it hasn’t happened yet and it is going to. Up until this point, we didn’t have one because we had so much water we didn’t need policy. It’s always been wet, so what’s the worry? There weren’t that many people. But when you add a half million more people to Central Indiana in the next 20 years, you’ve got to sort this out. There are just too many users and not enough planning.
Proposed reservoir threatens rare dragonflies
Some warn MoundsLake reservoir would destroy an ice age fen
Apr. 1, 20141:56 AM |
The clamp-tipped emerald dragonfly is a rare species in the Mounds Fen State Nature Preserve. / Photo provided by Jim McCormac
Restoration ecologist Kevin Tungesvick says MoundsState Park is home to ancient trees that would be destroyed by MoundsLake reservoir. / Photo provided by Kevin Tungesvick.
The public is invited to a Mounds Fen State Nature Preserve walk on June 29. Tom Swinford, a regional ecologist at the Indiana Department of NaturalResources, will lead the walk. To attend, contact the East Central Chapter of the Indiana Native Plant and Wildlfower Society firstname.lastname@example.org
MUNCIE — The star-nosed mole, the clamp-tipped emerald green dragonfly and the shining lady’s-tresses orchid could get in the way of plans to build the controversial Mounds Lake reservoir.
The Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society (INPAWS) says the reservoir would flood an ice age fen that is home to rare species and undermine the state’s nature preserves act, “which has not faced such a challenge since its passage in 1967.”
The $350 million lake would be created by damming the White River in Anderson, creating a reservoir over what is now seven miles of free-flowing river from Anderson upstream to an area north of Daleville.
According to an upcoming article in The INPAWS Journal, “as the reservoir drama unfolds, proposals will surface that natural resources lost through flooding will be mitigated by replacing them elsewhere through habitat restoration.”
The author, Lee Casebere, retired assistant director of nature preserves for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, writes, “In this case … how do you replace a glacially created, ground-water-fed complex system whose parts are not fully known or understood? It can’t be done.”
Kevin Tungesvick, a local restoration ecologist, recently told bird watchers from the Robert Cooper Audubon Society the fen (a type of wetland) “is so hydrologically and geologically complex … you cannot recreate this setting. In other words … fens are not created by men; fens are created by ice ages.”
Proponents of the lake say at this stage the reservoir is just a concept subject to an in-depth environmental assessment before it could become a reality. Its supporters include numerous local government officials in Madison and Delaware counties and the owners of Mounds Mall, which would be inundated.
Because it is not open to the public without special permission, the Mounds Fen State Nature Preserve at MoundsState Park in Anderson is virtually unknown. The state park itself, bordering White River, is also home to a species “of special concern,” the semi-aquatic star-nosed mole that feeds on insects and worms.
The fen results from water percolating through glacial gravel deposits, according to DNR. The emerging ground water is highly alkaline and creates a rare ecosystem. The fen was dedicated as a state nature preserve in 1980 because of its clean water and high biodiversity.
“Within the fen there’s an even more specialized habitat called a marl flat,” Tungesvick said. “It’s completely saturated.” That is where some of the rare species are found, including shining lady’s-tresses, a member of the orchid family.
The “floristic” quality of the fen has been found to be of “paramount importance” to the natural heritage of East Central Indiana by biologists at BallStateUniversity, who documented 478 species of plants in the wetland.
The fen is also home to the rare brown spiketail dragonfly, which inhabits seeps, fens and small, spring-fed streams. “No wonder it’s in Mounds,” Tungesvick said. “Mounds has all three of those habitat types.”
The fen is also one of only three Indiana sites for the grey petaltail dragonfly, which has been on the planet for 200 million years. Females lay eggs in permanent, hillside seeps.
A third rare species of the fen is the clamp-tipped emerald green dragonfly. “I’ve had one hover in front of me in the wetland,” Tungesvick said. “It’s quite dramatic to see those great big green eyes staring at you.”
During a meeting with the bird watchers at Kennedy Library, Tungesvick criticized a phase 1 environmental assessment commissioned by The Anderson Corporation for Economic Development, the organizer of the reservoir.
“The consultant said because these rare dragonflies are mobile as adults, they would likely not be impacted,” Tungesvick said. “Uhh, yeah! These require breeding habitat, and the breeding habitat would all be inundated by the reservoir.”
INPAWS is also raising concerns about the impact of the reservoir on the state park itself as well as on miles of forested river bankswhere crow-size pileated woodpeckers are common.
“All the deep ravines in the park that harbor spring-fed streams that never freeze or dry up would be destroyed by the reservoir,” Tungesvick said. “If you have ever hiked Trail 5 along the river, you are aware of all this water gushing out of the hillside.”
He added, “In effect, MoundsState Park would become all edge. It’s that way a little bit already: kind of a long, skinny park. The reservoir takes away of course beloved Trail 5 where everyone hikes, runs and cross-country skis.”
The reservoir would come within 50 feet of one of the ancient earthworks built by the mound builders for whom the park is named, Tungesvick said.
‘Fishing in the algae’
Opponents claim damming the river will create a reservoir vulnerable to algal blooms because of agricultural and urban fertilizer runoff and livestock manure.
“If you’ve been in Broad Ripple or anywhere in Indianapolis where dams impede the flow (of White River), this is what you see: blooms of algae and Eurasian watermilfoil (an invasive aquatic plant that branches profusely and forms a dense canopy over the water’s surface),” Tungesvick said, displaying photographs on a screen.
“The fly fishing group I spoke to loves the free-flowing river,” he said. “They don’t want to fish in the algae. The river in this section falls at a pretty rapid rate. You see mini-rapids or extreme ripples that are pretty fun to go over in a kayak or a canoe. One of my favorite things is floating under the sycamore trees through this stretch of river. It’s a great place to be on a sunny day.”
State law prohibits the taking of nature preserves for any other use except another public use and only after a finding by the natural resources commission of the existence of an imperative and unavoidable public necessity for the other public use and with the approval of the governor.
“If this did proceed, that would be a very controversial topic right there,” Tungesvick told the bird watchers, referring to whether the project qualifies as an “imperative and unavoidable public necessity.”
DNR calls nature preserves “living museums” that contain a record of the state’s original natural character.
Proponents say MoundsLake would provide billions of gallons of water to central Indiana that would mitigate drought and flood impacts and allow the entire region to continue to grow economically for decades to come.
MoundsLake is still just a concept, “a good idea,” the Anderson Corporation for Economic Development reports. Coming next is an in-depth phase 2 assessment of environmental issues, financial issues and community impact.