River protest set for proposed central Indiana reservoir

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Opponents of a major reservoir being proposed in central Indiana are planning a protest aimed at highlighting what the project would put under water.

The newly formed Heart of the River Coalition will hold what it calls a "protest paddle" starting from Daleville on Saturday, with kayakers and canoeists covering several miles of the White River near Anderson, The Herald Bulletin reported.. Organizer and environmentalist Clarke Kahlo said the group is trying to build public awareness of what would disappear if the reservoir is built.

The proposed Mounds Lake Reservoir, estimated to cost between $300 million and $400 million to build, would back up 7 miles of the river in Madison and Delaware counties, covering about 2,100 acres. That's slightly larger than Geist Reservoir near Indianapolis.

Kahlo and other river advocates are concerned about the thousands of acres of private and public land that would be flooded, including a significant portion of Mounds State Park, about 25 miles northeast of Indianapolis.

"Not only will it heavily impact the significant historical and cultural resources in the area, but the high financial burden to massively reconfigure existing infrastructure, utilities, roads, and bridges has not been thoroughly examined or publicly vetted," Kahlo said.

Advocates of the project say creating the new reservoir would improve flood control, create prime real estate for waterfront housing and boost property values and economic development in the Anderson area. The reservoir could also provide bike paths, fishing and other recreational activities for the public, and help supplement water needs in the Indianapolis metropolitan area.

The Daleville and Chesterfield town councils have approved non-binding resolutions of support for continued study of the proposal. The county commissioners for Madison and Delaware counties are expected to consider similar resolutions next week.

Rob Sparks, executive director of the Anderson-Madison County Corp. for Economic Development, said he hoped to meet soon with Kahlo and his group to discuss their concerns. Support for the project has been building.

Sparks said the reservoir would create a new environment, ecosystem and habitat for wildlife and stabilize river flow during times of drought.


  • what are we waiting for?
    Has anyone looked at the area that they are wanting to flood?? What are we waiting for? Flood it and watch the city rebuild to a much better place to live. I am a resident of the area and the city has nothing to offer.
  • Same old story.
    Same kind of Luddites who oppose I-69. Guessing their 501(c)(4) application probably sailed right through the IRS.
  • Speculation
    I wonder which of the altruistic industry/civic leaders who are promoting this plan have tied up cheap land purchase options on the "prime waterfront real estate" surrounding this future reservoir?
  • kahlo
    There is always someone protesting about something. This person is no different she just wants her 15 minutes of fame. People like her need not to speak for people like me. I like the idea and I say let's go for it. Kahlo if you don't then we can call u a cab and send some u hauls to ya.
  • Anyone want to ask Mr. Kahlo where he gets his water from? I am betting it is from a man made structure, be it the canal or one of the reservoirs.
  • I think this project looks great
    "build public awareness of the amount of land that would disappear if the reservoir is built." Yes, but for every acre of land that disappears, an acre of water appears! Seems like a good tradeoff, especially going into the future. We've already outstripped our water reserve supplies multiple times in recent years.

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