Unprecedented Coalition Unite to Form the “Partners for the White River”

Unprecedented Coalition Unite to Form the “Partners for the White River” 

In July of 2017, nine Indiana nonprofit organizations came together to deepen collaboration on a multi-year initiative to protect and restore the White River with projects focused on improving water quality, increasing public access, fostering greater understanding and appreciation of the value of this critical natural resource, and providing benefits to the communities and wildlife that depend on the river and surrounding habitat. The group of collaborating organizations is called the Partners for the White River.

The 362-mile White River and its associated water resources provide drinking water to 2 million people (30 percent of Indiana’s population) and habitat to several thousand species of plants and animals.  With Trust support, the Partners for the White River will undertake numerous interconnected projects along the river, its tributaries and within surrounding neighborhoods and communities in central Indiana.

Among the aims of this initiative over the next three years are performing water quality research and monitoring; reducing fertilizer-related pollution, manure run-off and risks posed by coal ash; improving water quality; creating an annual Water Summit; and helping the public, farmers and policy makers better understand how their actions impact the watershed. Collaborative programming and projects will create more ways for people to engage and connect to the river’s multiple waterways and increase recreation, economic development and ecological sustainability opportunities. Additionally, there will be infrastructure improvements at the Oliver’s Woods, White Owl, and White River Bluffs nature preserves; art, science and education installations; canoe launch construction; and environmental awareness programming for children and adults.

Further wildlife and landscape projects, all within the White River watershed, include expanding the waterway trail system, reestablishing native landscapes through invasive plant removal and native plant installation, and improving wildlife and fish habitat.

The initial organizations comprising the Partners for the White River are Central Indiana Land Trust, Inc., The daVinci Pursuit, Friends of the White River, the Hoosier Environmental Council, Indiana Wildlife Federation, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Reconnecting to Our Waterways, The Nature Conservancy, White River Alliance and the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.

The Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) will pursue advocacy, community outreach and technical assistance to reduce the impact of three major threats to the White River in central Indiana: fertilizer-related non-point pollution, manure run-off and coal ash.  Furthermore, HEC will work towards the development of the Mounds Greenway, a historic, runoff-reducing greenway connecting five cities and towns along the White River.

Much appreciation to the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust (NMPCT) for their generous support for the nine organizations of “Partners for the White River”.  We credit NMPCT for composing the vast majority of the content above.