Believe it or not, with climate change disaster staring humanity in the face, Hoosiers are facing yet ANOTHER new-terrain freeway scheme in Southern Indiana: the “Mid-States Corridor”! Even the pandemic hasn’t killed it, and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is expected in April. That will suggest a route. Routes M and O are a DISASTER for Indiana’s environment! M goes directly along the E. Fork White River, through our endangered lake sturgeon’s remaining habitat! O will destroy forest and karst landscapes in particular! On the other hand, the Governor seems willing to consider the “no build” option, which would simply improve Highway 231. Please go to his web page, see his contact info, and tell him this boondoggle is “NOT WANTED, NOT NEEDED”, but the no-build option is OK: https://www.in.gov/gov/
Please support this group: https://www.facebook.com/Stop-the-Mid-States-Corridor-Project-101868894749440/ Below is a letter from FISH which was hand-delivered to INDOT and Federal Highway Administration officials two years ago:
Feb. 19, 2020
Director of Environmental Services
Indiana Department of Transportation
100 N Senate Avenue, Room N642
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Mid-States Corridor Regional Development Authority
c/o Mid-States Corridor Project Office
Vincennes University Jasper Campus
Administration Building, Room 216
850 College Avenue
Jasper, IN 47546
RE: Mid-States Corridor environmental impact.
Due to the increasing pressure of activities and processes detrimental to our environment, and lack of time to review Federal Register and other legal notices, I unfortunately became aware of yet another superhighway project in Southern Indiana only recently. I hope to attend a public meeting this week to convey this message in person.
According to our Natural Resources Commission there are an estimated 24,000 miles of rivers in Indiana. Of those only 2000 miles fall under the NRC’s designations of Outstanding Rivers. Out of the hundreds of named rivers and streams, about 64 are Outstanding. One of the best of them is the East Fork White River.
Page 28 of your Screening of Alternatives Report, dated this month, lists five federally endangered mussel species which are associated with the East Fork White River in Lawrence and/or Martin counties. Endangered cavefish are also a concern in that region. Our biggest concern, however, is the last remaining population of the genetically-distinct lake sturgeon which historically ranged throughout the Ohio River drainage. These spectacular creatures now are known to survive only below Williams Dam in Lawrence County (which blocks their movement upstream), and downstream to some point in Martin County. Roughly 50 river miles or so. The State of Indiana does not provide a numerical estimate of this state-endangered fish’s population, which it has only described for some years as “small.”
Our organization, plus state and national allies including the Center for Biological Diversity, are currently seeking protection for that population of lake sturgeon under the Endangered Species Act, a process that formally began in May 2018. You’ll be hearing more about our actions very soon. FISH is also seeking the removal of Williams Dam in order to extend their range eastward and restore their population.
Therefore, FISH hereby states its opposition to alternative route M, which would run smack-through the lake sturgeon’s only habitat. Any segments of your project must steer well clear of that environmentally sensitive area. If a highway must be built, we suggest you consider the shortest route with the least cost and environmental impact. Thank you.
Gary W. Moody, Director
Fishable Indiana Streams for Hoosiers, Inc. (FISH)