Results of Six Months of Research by our Environmental Study Committee, Working from League Positions on Land Use, Water Resources, and Fiscal Responsibility.
A response to the proposed Mounds Lake Project, which would build a dam and reservoir on the White River. Working from long-established LWVUS positions, the committee presented their findings on January 10, 2015 to the entire League which overwhelming agreed with their recommendation to oppose the project.
Included in our concerns:
- there is no proven need for water. Our information from Citizens Energy Group indicates that there is no foreseeable water shortage, and if one occurs they have a plan in place that will cost less than buying water from Mounds Lake.
- the reservoir would be on top of several industrial hazardous waste dumps, necessitating cleanup at an undetermined cost.
- the removal of thousands of mature (200-300 year old) trees in the river corridor would have an adverse effect on air and water quality.
- removal of the trees would accelerate erosion and threaten the integrity of prehistoric earthworks at Mounds State Park.
- the reservoir would drown a dedicated state nature preserve and destroy the fen at Mounds State Park. The Mounds fen is an extremely rare natural community of very high quality, created during the Ice Ages.
- CED states that " Mounds Lake is being developed as a water supply reservoir, but there are likely to be downstream flood control benefits." Since Muncie-Delaware County is upstream, this is a non-issue for our county.
- it is clear from Phase II engineering study that this will be a working reservoir, with fluctuating water levels . Reservoirs of this type are not attractive and Delaware County will be at the muddy, shallow end. The proposed low head dam to be built in Delaware County is to collect the sludge before it hits the main dam in Anderson. Is this really what we want?
In conclusion, the epoch of dam building is behind us. Over the decades Americans have learned that dams degrade and reduce water quality; destroy natural river movement; introduce invasive non-native species that take over habitats of native species; slow the river current which warms the water and contributes to climate issues; and decrease, rather than increase, recreational opportunities.
Building on the work of the Environmental Study Committee and from League Positions on Land Use, Water Resources, and Fiscal Responsibility, the Greenway Committee studied the available materials on the proposed Mounds Greenway.
At its meeting October 26, 2015 the Greenway Committee agreed to recommend to the LWV Leadership Team that our League officially join the Hoosier Environmental Council coalition in support of the Mounds Greenway concept. The Team, at its November meeting, voted to accept their recommendation. The committee anticipates that our future participation in this project will focus on education, outreach, and advocacy. Right now, HEC is completing studies and collecting endorsements from businesses, associations, and organizations like LWV. For updated information, see:
The LWV of Muncie-Delaware County Greenway Statement:
In its 95-year history, the League of Women Voters of the United States has demonstrated its belief that responsible citizens should educate themselves and participate in public decision-making.
Therefore, the League of Women Voters of Muncie-Delaware County, working from long-standing LWVUS positions on Natural Resources and Resource Management, supports the concept of the Mounds Greenway, a proposed linear park and trail system connecting Muncie, Yorktown, Daleville, Chesterfield and Anderson. Mounds Greenway would protect the West Fork of the White River and adjoining parks, provide a safe and accessible non-motorized route to connect citizens and visitors to natural, historical, and cultural sites, provide outdoor recreation activities, and contribute to the region's quality of life by encouraging sustainable business and wellness opportunities without the use of eminent domain.
Criteria for our support, from the League's Position on Natural Resources and Resource Management:
The League supports comprehensive long-range planning and believes that wise decision-making requires, [among other things]:
The League of Women Voters believes that responsible government should:
- adequate data and a framework within which alternatives may be weighed and intelligent decisions made;
- consideration of environmental, public- health, social and economic impacts of proposed plans and actions;
- protection of private property rights commensurate with overall consideration of public health and environmental protection;
- special responsibility by each level of government for those lands and resources entrusted to them;
- special consideration for the protection of areas of critical environmental concern, natural hazards, historical importance and aesthetic value: areas where development could result in irreversible damage (such as shore-lands of rivers, lakes and streams...; rare or valuable ecosystems and geological formations; significant wildlife habitats; unique scenic or historic areas; wetlands;...); renewable resource lands, where development could result in the loss of productivity (such as watersheds, aquifers and aquifer-recharge areas, significant agricultural and grazing lands, forest lands);
- special attention to maintaining and improving the environmental quality of urban communities.
- Be responsive to the will of the people.
- Promote public understanding and participation in decision making as essential elements of responsible and responsive management of our natural resources.
- Promote the conservation and development of natural resources in the public interest.
- Ensure transparency, accountability, positive community impact and preservation of the common good when considering the transfer of governmental services, assets and/or functions to the private sector.
- Promote an environment beneficial to life through the protection and wise management of natural resources in the public interest.
Source: LWVUS Impact on Issues