NewsLocal News / July 9, 2014

Environmental Group Opposes Mounds Lake Project

Jill Sheridan
Environmental Group Opposes Mounds Lake Project

The state’s largest environmental organization is speaking out against a proposed reservoir in Madison and Delaware counties. 

Altering a free-flowing river to become a lake would harm Indiana’s environment says Tim Maloney, senior policy director for the Hoosier Environmental Council.

"You get different types of fish communities and changes in other aquatic life," says Maloney. "And you not only have those changes where the lake is but the presence of the dam will change the river ecology downstream from the dam as well."

This week, the group announced it was considering an alternative plan to the proposed Mounds reservoir project that would dam off a 7-mile stretch of the West Fork White River.  The Hoosier Environmental Council says the project would also destroy acres of hardwood forest, ruin recreational areas and potentially harm Native American earthwork at Mounds State Park. 

Director of the Madison County Corporation for Economic Development, Rob Sparks says he understands the concerns.

"I think we've weighed a lot of these things out to take a look at those impacts to try and mitigate that as best as possible," says Sparks.

A second phase of a study examining environmental, community and financial issues will be made public soon, and a series of meetings is also being planned.  Sparks says the lake will provide water to central Indiana and ease any drought conditions while creating housing and tourism opportunities.

The Hoosier Environmental Council says it will detail alternate proposals for creating sustainable water supplies in the coming weeks.