You are standing in a floodplain forest with Carmel Creek flowing through it just before its confluence with the White River. During flood events, the White River causes a backwards flow here, with slowly rising water filling this area like a bathtub. At this spot, water would be about ten feet deep during peak floods.
Floodplain forests are critically important, as they store floodwaters, keeping them out of people’s homes downstream. Also, they improve water quality: When the floodwaters recede, the trees and other vegetation slow the water’s flow, allowing sediment to trickle down and make deposits on the forest floor. This keeps that sediment out of the river, helping clean it naturally.