Erosion-plagued White River to benefit from gift of land

Erosion-plagued White River to benefit from gift of land

An Indianapolis-based property management firm has donated a one-acre strip of White River frontage that will aid efforts to undo damage done by riverbank erosion.

Barrett & Stokely closed on the agreement with the Central Indiana Land Trust March 6, and, while the amount of land is not large, the potential for good the gift has created is huge.

The White River delivers drinking water to nearly one million people every day. Parts of it, especially on the north side of Indianapolis, are filling in and negatively affecting water quality. Asian bush honeysuckle has invaded nearby land and caused sediment to slide into the river. The build-up has affected boating and fishing on the river and it negatively affects the aquatic population and food chain. This build-up also limits the movement of such species as bald eagle, mink, double-crested cormorant, wood duck and many freshwater mussel species.

The Central Indiana Land Trust has been working diligently over the last ten years to fight the issue and restore natural systems along the river’s course by restoring the riverbank.

“This strip brings us much closer to linking our Oliver’s Woods property around 465 to our White Owl property, just south of 86th Street,” said Central Indiana Land Trust Interim Director Cliff Chapman. “By protecting this large of a swath of river frontage, we are in a great position to stabilize the banks of the White River and provide better wildlife habitat.”

Last summer, thanks to private donations and funding from a settlement after the 1999 fish kill, the Land Trust began fighting the erosion problem by removing honeysuckle, overseeding with native plants and, where needed, installing erosion-control blankets. The innovative project is designed to naturalize the stream bank holding soil that would otherwise fall into the river and have to be filtered out downstream by drinking water intakes.

Once the restoration measures are completed, the Land Trust will spot treat the stream bank to control new honeysuckle plants for many years to come. Chapman added, “We are excited about this strategic gift from Barrett & Stokely and along with our members, whose support makes all this work possible, we plan to work diligently to see the property restored.


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Media contact: Jen Thomas, JTPR,, 317-441-2487