By Ken de la Bastide The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin
---- — CHESTERFIELD – Opponents of the proposed Mounds Lake reservoir are hosting a panel discussion today that will focus on several concerns they have voiced about the project.
Heart of the River is hosting the discussion from 6 to 8 p.m. today at the Millcreek Civic Center in Chesterfield. The meeting, which is free and open to the public, will start with a position statement from the group. Four panelists will make presentations followed by time for comments and questions from the audience.
Issues will be in the areas of archaeology, hydrogeology, biology and the economic impact of the proposed reservoir.
The panelists are Morton Marcus, an economist with the I.U. Kelly School of Business; archaeologist Donald Cochran of the Department of Anthropology at Ball State University; Anthony Fleming, a geologist; and Donald Ruch, a biologist at Ball State University.
Sheryl Myers, spokeswoman for Heart of the River, said Marcus is expected to discuss ways for communities to reinvent themselves without construction of a reservoir. Heart of the River is a grassroots group aimed at protecting the enviuronment of White River.
Mounds Lake Reservoir, which has an estimated cost of $350 million to $450 million, would stretch approximately from East Lynn Street in Anderson northeast through Chesterfield and Daleville into Delaware County, ending north of Delaware County Road 300 South.
The reservoir would flood an area around Anderson’s Scatterfield Road that includes the Mounds Mall property and other businesses and homes. The resulting pool of water would impact 1 million square feet of commercial property and an estimated 400 homes.
Several local environmental groups have raised concerns about the impact on the aquatic, biological and flora environment along the White River.
Tonight’s discussion will center on what the community may never get back if the reservoir is built, Myers said.
Currently a Phase II study of the proposed Mounds Lake Reservoir is being conducted through a $600,000 grant from the state.
The study includes soil borings, soil type, looking for contaminates site and pre-existing land uses. It will include water quality along with a financial model and community impact.
The Corporation for Economic Development, which is overseeing the planning for the reservoir, hopes to have public meetings in June or July concerning the results of the Phase II study.
Proponents of the reservoir project have conceded that parts of Mounds State Park would be affected by the heightened water levels in the area, but would not pose a threat to the historic mounds. A major concern is the loss of one-third of the Mounds State Park if the reservoir is built.
Among the feared consequences are the loss of shaded hiking trails along the White River that would be submerged, the group said in a press release. Another concern is that the Adena-Hopewell mound would be subjected to a greater threat of flooding and erosion.
The Mounds Fen State Nature Preserve would be under water, the Robert Cooper Audubon Society maintains. The Fen was designated in 1980 and is remarkable not only for its “clean water” but also the profusion of wild flowers, indicating a high quality woods with minimal disturbance, the society said.
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.
Heart of the River will hold events focusing on the Mounds Lake reservoir project. They are: • A panel discussion wil be held today on the environmental concerns of the proposed Mounds Lake reservoir, The forum is free to the public and will be from 6 to 8 p.m. today today at Millcreek Civic Center, Chesterfield. • A "protest paddle" will be held as a float trip on the White River from Daleville to Anderson on Saturday, May 31. Participants may bring a canoe or kayak, or rent one from Canoe Country. The trip length is 9 miles or about 5 hours. The shuttle will leave at 10 a.m. Canoe Country is located at 6660 S. CR 900 W in Daleville. • A second Protest Paddle is scheduled for Saturday, June 21. To learn more, go to http://heartoftheriver.wordpress.com/