Work begins on Warfleigh Levee

White River
The project will remove many of the trees in the riparian corridor of White River. Photo by Dan Vallesky.

A project involving the City of Indianapolis and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the city’s north side will get underway this month. Friends of the White River previously entered into negotiations with the Corps and the City of Indianapolis to preserve as many trees along the river corridor as possible during the project.

The original proposal for the Indy North Flood Damage Reduction Project between Westfield Boulevard and Kessler Avenue had called for removing an undetermined amount of trees down to the shoreline, an approach that was questioned by many in the neighborhood as well as by Friends.

With the assistance of the Conservation Law Center, Friends was able to secure an approved variance from the Corps’ Washington, DC headquarters for clearing less than the minimum standard in key areas. The agreement also provides for installation of a new public access launch on the southeast side of the Kessler bridge and to renovate an existing public access site on Cornell Avenue just below the Monon Trail.

Details of the project can be found in the USACE Synopsis. It also includes a contact information for the city’s Department of Public Works for those who have questions about the work.

Tree clearing on top and along the levee is required to be completed before the end of March, with other work on the project to take place over the course of most of the summer. The Friends will continue to monitor the project to assure that habitat restoration is a component.

Urban Wilderness Trail: Friends annual meeting

People on a wooded trail
Butterfly tagging adventure on the Urban Wilderness Trail; photo courtesy of Greg Harger.

Where is a place close to downtown Indianapolis you can go and see a bald eagle or a beaver, perhaps even a wily red fox? How far do you have to travel to observe hooded mergansers migrating north or a peregrine falcon soaring overhead?

What if we told you it is right in the shadow of the city skyline? And, showed you how easy it is to access for anyone who likes to take a hike in natural surroundings!

Learn about the newest feature at White River State Park, the Urban Wilderness Trail, on Thursday, February 2 at the Friends of the White River’s annual meeting in the Riviera Club, 5640 North Illinois Street, Indianapolis (map). Greg Harger, a co-chair of the committee for the downtown segment of the river for “Reconnecting to our Waterways” will lead you to one of the most unique greenway features to be found in Indiana. The program begins at 7 p.m., with an optional $13 buffet offered prior to that, beginning at 6 p.m. (Please email our executive director if you plan to eat.) A cash bar also will be available.

The program portion is free for both past and present members of the Friends, as well as the general public. We hope you join us (and join the Friends, if you’re not already a part of our group)!