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Mounds Reservoir

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Katie Freeman

on 30 October 2013

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Transcript of Mounds Reservoir

Mounds Reservoir
Katie Freeman
The Mounds Reservoir is a project proposed in Anderson, Indiana to create a 2100 acre man-made lake that would stretch beyond Madison County.
What is the Mounds Reservoir?
Okay, but why?
Proponents of the reservoir provide several reasons why this would be a good addition to the Madison County area:
-Water Source for Central Indiana
-Increased community self-reliance
-Increased property values
-Improved retail opportunities
-Better boating and fishing
That sounds great! So what's the problem?
Phase II of planning is currently underway. The impact the reservoir will have on properties and bridges is being examined. This phase involves looking into environmental and river valley issues as well, and there are plenty of questions to address as to the environmental impact of this proposed lake.
Let's Talk about That.
The problem with discussing environmental impacts of the proposed Mounds Reservoir is that it's proposed. That is, its environmental impact can only be speculated.
A Spoonful of Serendipity
Luckily, we can make some pretty good educated guesses based on similar situations. Let's take a look at another man-made lake in the same area as this proposed Mounds Lake.
Geist Reservoir
Area of Proposed Mounds Lake
Geist Reservoir is a man-made lake created 70 years ago. It's a thirty minute drive from Anderson and provides a good idea of problems the Mounds Reservoir may face in the long term and short term.
Geist Reservoir
What's the Problem with Geist?
Several environmental problems have surfaced over the years due to the making of Geist Reservoir. We will focus on the main three:
-Invasive Species
Pollution of water sources is nothing new, and it's definitely not unique to Geist Reservoir. Pollution will have to be controlled in any water source, including Mounds Lake.
Invasive Species
Invasive species have become a growing concern to those living on Geist Reservoir. They're dealing with both Zebra Mussels and an invasive plant called the Eurasian watermilfoil.
Zebra Mussels
Zebra Mussels cause many problems in non-native habitats:
-Their sharp edges can cause injury
-They have low environmental resistance
-They clear the water of algae, which is the food source of other organisms
-They adhere to hard surfaces, including other creatures
-Their presence can reduce fish, mollusk, and bird populations
Eurasian watermilfoil
Problem created by this "feathery" aquatic plant:
The large amount of watermilfoil is damaging boats. The weed gets tangled up in the rudders and makes boating difficult and dangerous. Over $100,000 has been spent to chemically fight the weed, and annual cleanup days have been put in place to fight pollution and destroy this plant. Interestingly, the Zebra Mussels were the cause of this increase in floor-level aquatic weed. The mussels cleared the water, making it easier for the sun to reach the plants on the bottom of the reservoir. The reservoir has faced quite the opposite problem at other times.
Eutrophication at Geist was a big concern that reached a climax in the summer of 2010. A "High Health Risk" alert was issued and people were advised not to swim in the water. The presence of "blue-green toxic algae" gained the attention of more than just those living on Geist Reservoir.

The high levels of toxic algae was caused by nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from fertilizers, municipal wastewater, agricultural runoff, and other various sources. Storm drains carry these from non-lake areas, meaning that even those not living on the lake make an impact along with those living on the lake. Mounds could face this problem as well, as runoff inputs are larger, more closely linked to rainfall, and impact more of the lake in man-made reservoirs than in natural bodies of water.

Measures to reduce algae were taken, including removal of excess nutrients from the water and implementing awareness-raising campaigns.
Mounds Lake Presents its Own Unique Questions
One of the areas that will be flooded to create the proposed reservoir is the area Mounds Mall sits on.
Mounds Mall's Dirty Past
The now quiet, depressingly under-visited mall is sitting on land that used to be...
A landfill.
The question of how the presence of a landfill under the reservoir would affect water quality has arisen. And the answer?

It is believed that the approximate six or seven acres of landfill area won't present any real issues with pollution. The landfill reportedly consists mainly of construction debris. The solution to the problem of possible landfill contamination is being addressed by the Environmental Protection Agency. They have been and will continue to monitor groundwater quality through test wells drilled around the sites, as well as those drilled around old General Motors Corp. plants that are located upriver from the proposed reservoir sites.

The city of Anderson is currently seeking a second grant from the EPA to continue further testing and monitoring of these wells. It is believed that if any major problems exist at these landfills or factories, they would have surfaced by now. However, they will continue to keep an eye on areas of concern.
Another Concern is CSO
Though many bodies of water deal with CSO, those who view the reservoir as a potential attraction for swimmers are disgusted when they consider the sewage that would flow directly into the lake during times of heavy rain or melting snow.
Lastly, there's the initial ecological impact that such a drastic change on the environment could have.

Many native species would be pushed out of their current locations to avoid the waters. This could cause a decrease in population as smaller animals are displaced and become easy prey for coyotes and other predators.

Trees that house small mammals and birds would be submerged and killed.

The Mounds Lake planning team stated that mitigation would be required to minimize these problems. Some solutions would include planting new trees and creating wetlands.
So What Now?
Ultimately all of these possibilities are just speculation. However, it's important to note all of the potential problems that creating Mounds Reservoir could cause. If the lake is made, knowledge of these risks will allow the city of Anderson to have plans in place in case problems do arise. Though the reservoir would definitely create environmental problems, the environment isn't the only factor being considered. Therefore, the importance and scale of the environmental impact must be weighed in accordance to other factors such as economical impact and political impact.
Works Cited
Information on Eurasian watermilfoil:
Information on man made versus natural lakes:
Information on Geist Reservoir pollution:
Information on Zebra Mussels in Geist Reservoir:
Information on Toxic Algae in Geist Reservoir:
Environmental Impacts of and Benefits of Mounds Lake:
Information on Landfills under Mounds Mall

This project is an original work and I, Katie Freeman, agree to abide by the policies regarding plagiarism at Ball State University. This statement, however, is not original...
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