State provides $90,000 for removal of Rockford Dam


Indiana Department of Natural Resources Director Dan Bortner recently announced organizations in 11 Indiana counties will receive $1,143,000 in grants to fund 17 lake and river or stream projects through the Lake and River Enhancement program.

That includes a $90,000 grant awarded to Jackson County that will help fund the removal of the 450-long, six-foot tall Rockford Dam on the East Fork White River north of Seymour.

In February, Indiana American Water Co. announced a proposed project to remove the low-head dam, which spans the width of the river. It formerly served the purpose of providing adequate water levels for supplying surface water to the company’s adjacent water treatment facility.

The dam, located off County Road 760E south of Reddington Street on Seymour’s far north side, is no longer needed since the company now uses groundwater as the only source for its Seymour system. That system serves about 8,000 customers or a population of nearly 22,000 in the Seymour area.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is planning a public meeting for 5 p.m. Sept. 6 in the city council chamber at Seymour City Hall, 301-309 N. Chestnut St. Construction is expected to begin in the fall and be completed late this year, the company reported.

Joseph Loughmiller with Indiana American said the company is reviewing bids at this time and construction could start as early as mid-September.

Bortner said in a news release keeping Indiana’s waterways clean and protecting the valued natural resources is a mission central to the work at DNR.

“We’re thankful for Hoosier boaters who have helped us fund more than $22 million of important conservation of Indiana’s lakes and streams over the last two decades through the LARE program,” he said. “The impact is felt now and will continue to make a difference for generations to come.”

The grants are funded through the LARE fee paid annually by boat owners when they register their crafts with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. This user-funded program benefits boaters all over the state. The grants allow for the completion of projects that would be difficult for local organizations to fund on their own. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis, and local sponsors share at least 20% of the cost.

This round of grant-funded projects will benefit seven lakes and 11 rivers and streams. Many of the projects aim to improve water quality by reducing sediment and nutrient inputs. Improved water quality helps fish and wildlife populations and improves recreational opportunities.

This year, LARE partnered with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the city of Fort Wayne, Vigo County and The Nature Conservancy to fund three dam removal projects. These projects will result in more than 1,030 miles of open streams and rivers, allowing for free passage of fish, aquatic organisms and recreational users, such as paddlers.