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Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v13n03)
Everything you always wanted to know about the canal...part ten
by Alan Hague
posted: Feb. 05, 2016

For those readers just discovering this series on the canal now in its 10th part, I will explain why the canal is important and why the Gazette is doing this series. The dam that created the Central Canal was built on the White River in 1936 and the Town of Broad Ripple grew up around it. It is why we are here today. For years the canal has supplied the City of Indianapolis with 60% of its fresh water which is processed for our clean water supply.
During the summer when this interview was conducted there were large metal hoops and netting along several sections of the banks of the canal. The netting was intended to keep the waterfowl from going up and down the bank, damaging the vegetation. When the vegetation is gone, the soil erodes into the canal. When people feed the ducks this also encourages the ducks to go up and down, damaging the banks.

"A lot of people ask me about the netting and the wire hoops for the geese, or whatever," I followed up on the topic of erosion.
"They removed them," said Edwin Morris, Operation Maintenance Supervisor at Citizens.
"What?" I said surprised.
"They're gone," said Ed Malone, Director of Water Production for Citizens
"They were to protect native plants," added Sarah Holsapple, Media Relations for Citizens.

Hoops along the banks of the canal to help re-establish the vegetation.
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I commented, "Wow, I didn't notice they were gone!"
Edwin said, "They removed them back, I think, in May."
I asked if they were removed because now the bank had been re-established.
"Yes," answered Ed. "We had two vendors, had two different proposals for how they would revegetate the banks."
"That's right," added Sarah.
Ed continued, "So they were being evaluated, as to... one [vendor] wanted the hoops to protect [the vegetation] and the other [vendor] didn't."
"I was surprised to see the netting added," I commented. "I had heard the hoops were spaced a wing's tip apart so that when geese tried to get up the banks they hit the hoops. Then the next thing, the netting went up over them. So I thought..."
Edwin jumped in, "The nettings were installed the next season. They put the hoops in, the netting in the next season."
"So," I followed up, "that project is a success? It's over? And the banks are back?"
Ed answered, "Well, we like the other...of the two, we like.."
I asked, "What is the other?"
Ed explained, "Well, there was one done by JF New and the other by Hoosier Aquatic. So there were two vendors. We were trying to determine which one would be most effective for revegetation."
"The vendor you preferred," I asked, "What is their structure? What did they install?"
Edwin said, "They actually came and did the work to re-establish the banks...put native plants in to prevent erosion. Cause we have a lot of wash out, the banks are eroding really bad in that area, so we tried those test areas first to see how the projects work."
"So," I asked to clarify, "they didn't do anything to keep the birds off, they just replanted?"
Ed answered, "Yes, they weren't trying to keep the birds off. They were trying to develop native species that would grow and establish in that area."
"Another things I have heard," I added, "is that the muskrats burrow under and come up and build a house and then as the ducks and geese go up and down over the bank it collapses the bank, causing loose dirt, and that causes a lot of the erosion"

Slide from a previous water company presentation showing how muskrats burrow into the canal bank.
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"That can happen," replied Ed. "We do have some muskrat issues along the canal and we've addresses some of them, but we do occasionally have some muskrat issues where they do exactly that."

hoops on the canal banks
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End of Part Ten


alan@broadripplegazette.com
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