ANDERSON – The Hoosier Environmental Council is calling for an alternative plan for the stretch of White River from Yorktown to Anderson in opposition to the proposed Mounds Lake Reservoir project.
The Corporation for Economic Development in Anderson first proposed the reservoir project in 2013.
Mounds Lake Reservoir, which would cost an estimated $350 million to $450 million to create, would stretch approximately from East Lynn Street in Anderson east by northeast around Chesterfield and Daleville into Delaware County, ending just 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.
Currently the Corporation for Economic Development is awaiting the results of a Phase II study being funded by a $600,000 loan from the state of Indiana.
Tim Maloney, senior policy director for the Hoosier Environmental Council, said its concerns are similar to those raised by other opponents of the proposed reservoir including the effect on Mounds State Park, hardwood forest and the river ecosystem.
“We are focusing on an alternative for the White River,” he said. “We hope to announce that plan within the next 60 days. It’s something that would extend beyond the proposed reservoir boundaries.”
Maloney said a big concern for the group is the effect on the high-quality stretch of the White River.
“It’s an underappreciated gem of a natural resource we don’t want to see drowned under a reservoir,” he said.
Maloney said a dam of the White River would change the dynamics of the ecology from a free flowing river to a reservoir environment.
Maintaining the White River could provide a novel approach to sustaining economic development in the region through canoeing, sport fishing and forest lands.
Rob Sparks, director of the Corporation for Economic Development, said work continues on the feasibility study and the group is comfortable with the information being obtained.