NewsLocal News / November 25, 2015

Settlement Reached On White River Tree Removal

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INDIANAPOLIS -- An environmental advocacy group has reached an agreement with government officials over the number of trees along the White River that will be moved.

Friends of the White River says its deal with local and federal agencies will save 80 percent of the trees growing along the White River on Indy’s north side and preserve wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities.

Friends of the White River called the agreement "a win-win" in a statment on its website.

The environmental group had filed a legal challenge to the Department of Natural Resources’ plan to remove trees growing on or too close to the levee between Westfield Boulevard and Kessler Avenue. The Army Corp of Engineers says the trees pose a risk to the structural integrity of the earthen levee.

Friends of the White River writes:

"The effort resulted in an agreement this month that will allow the Corps to proceed with more limited timberland vegetation removal, which the agency claims is necessary. And it will provide for, at the expense of the governmental agencies, creation of a new recreational access point that can be used by canoeists, kayakers, anglers, birdwatchers and others ... ."

The deal still needs to formalized by the government agencies.

A group of residents living near the river says the primary obstacle to eventually completing the floodwall and alleviating the risk of their homes flooding remains, "namely, how will the completed portions of the levee eventually terminate on high ground?" Jim Polito of the the group, Save Warfleigh, wrote in an email.

Polito says the government is seemingly no closer to determining how to extend and complete the floodwall.

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