5/22/18 General Meeting

Morse Waterways Association Spring Meeting

May 22, 2018


The Morse Waterways Association Spring Meeting was held at the Red Bridge Community Center on May 22, 2018.  The purpose of the general meeting is to provide everyone who lives on the reservoir the opportunity to be updated on activities that are either in process or planned as well as the opportunity to ask questions regarding issues relative to the reservoir.

The primary topics on the agenda were Dredging, LARE grant, Lake Cleanup, and information from the DNR.

At 7:00 pm, Dave Vanette, the president of the Morse Waterways Board of Directors opened the meeting.

Citizens Energy Projects

Roger Goings began the discussion on the progress made by Citizens Energy during the past year.  He highlighted the active projects which include the following:

  • Progress is continuing on the conversion of the gravel pit to supply water to Geist reservoir during times of drought.  When implemented, the former gravel pit will be filled with water during the spring and that water will be the primary source of supply water to Geist.
  • Plans are in process to be able to transfer source water from Fall Creek.
  • A new inlet from the White River to the water treatment plant is process.
  • A new, permanent well is being considered in the area east of the reservoir, at 126thand Carrigan. Water testing is in process.
  • Citizens is in year 2 of 4 of a project in conjunction with Purdue University to develop a type of grass that will reduce water consumption by reducing the amount of water needed to maintain growth.  A pilot subdivision is expected to be initiated next year to begin the testing process.
  • Six years ago, Citizens Energy began an engineering study to attempt to anticipate droughts.  From the models they have been able to generate, the probability of a drought for this year is very low.  They have also estimated that, due to the El Nino off the west coast, there is a 49% increased probability of a drought for 2019.

Dredging Update

Dredging began in 2017 at Hinkle Creek.  The work removed 32,000 cubic yards of silt from the reservoir with another 25,000 expected to be removed in 2018.  In 2019, once this work is completed, dredging will begin at Big Cicero Creek.

Following the report, Roger provided the following information in response to questions from those in attendance.

  • The dredging area will be the width of the bridge at Big Cicero.
  • The dredging will not extend east of the SR 19 Bridge.
  • Moving of a dock to accommodate the dredging is the responsibility of the owner.
  • Alternatives to preventing the buildup of silt after the dredging are no-till farming, cover crops, and another reservoir ahead of each inlet.  No specific alternative has been determine at this time.
  • Citizens Water is paying for the dredging with the help of LARE (Lake and River Enhancement) Grant funds that may be approved.  Funds for the LARE grant are allocated from the money raised from $25 boat licensing fee.
  • The probability of a reservoir in Anderson is nearly eliminated due to lack of funding.


LARE Grant Update

The status of the LARE Grant funding was presented by Jim Schneider.  A synopsis of his report is as follows:

  • Citizens Water has allocated $300,000 annually for Morse and Geist reservoirs. Dredging will be done at Hinkle Creek, Big Cicero Creek and Little Cicero Creek.
  • After a year of dredging at Hinkle Creek the LARE Grant was submitted in January thanks to the assistance of the White River Alliance.  The conditional approval for the funds was approved in April. The requested amount for the grant was $100,000 and the amount approved was $75,000.  An additional $18,750 was contributed by Hinkle Town Homes, Harbor Point, and The Bluffs.
  • The maximum that can be spent on one body of water is $300,000.
  • Jim indicated that the depth of Hinkle is about 3 feet.
  • The plan for next year is to begin dredging Big Cicero Creek, wait a year, and then apply for another grant.


Lake Cleanup

Art Hall provided the following information regarding the 2018 lake cleanup.

  • The event is scheduled for Saturday, July 14thfro 8:00 am until noon at Red Bridge Park.
  • The removal of logs and debris will begin at the north end of the reservoir and continue south.
  • Logs can be delivered on Thursday and Friday prior to cleanup day.  They can be deposited on the south side of the new kayak launch but they must be tied to the shore with a rope strong enough to keep it in the staging area.  Those logs will be removed on Saturday morning.
  • Those who live to the south, in the Hinkle Creek area can two logs to the area west of the marina behind the old docks.  These logs must also be tied to the shore.
  • Last year 15 dump truck loads of logs and 3 loads of metal were removed.
  • The more boats that are available, the more logs and debris that can be removed from the water.


DNR Report

Billy Doss from the DNR provided a thorough summary of the events that occurred on the reservoir during the prior year as well as some information relative to protocol on the water.  He also answered numerous questions.

  • Violations
    • Ø223 boating violations (Shoreline, idle zone, riding on the gunnel)
    • Ø22 violations of alcohol and minors.
    • Ø13 violations for boating while intoxicated  (BWI)
    • Ø8 drug arrests, 3 of them from the island.
    • Ø23 fishing violations.
    • Ø43 littering violations
    • Ø2 duck hunting violations.  (North side of the reservoir late in the season.
    • Beer bottles under the bridge – facts
      • ØThis is considered littering and fines have been issued for $225.  The actual statute specifies a $1,000 fine for littering or one year in jail.
      • ØAnyone from 18 through 20 years old can go to jail or clean the bridge.
      • Buoys
        • ØBuoys marked with “200 ft.” do not require a permit.
        • ØThey must be marked with “200 ft.” using a separate decal.  It must be a white, tall cylinder with orange strips.
        • ØThese buoys cannot be more than 185 feet from the shore, to allow for movement from slack in the anchor cable or position changes due to changes in the water level.
        • ØProperty owners are responsible for these buoys.
        • ØIf there are multiple buoys, a separation of 150 feet is probably sufficient.
        • Ø“Idle Zone” buoys are provided and located by the DNR.
        • ØThe “Idle Zone” buoys on the south side of Carrigan Bridge are set approximately 700 feet from the bridge.  They could be brought within 200 feet it would require a petition and approval by the Natural Resources Commission.  It would be necessary to request a hearing and then present the argument.
        • ØOn June 20 and 21, there is a Rehab Hospital Clinic Event.  A permit has been granted to temporarily suspend the idle requirement for those two days in order to pick up those who are physically challenged.
        • There is no ordinance against loud boats on the reservoir.
        • It is not illegal to jump off the bridges but it is also not safe to jump off the bridges.  The trestle is owned by the railroad and is private property.
        • Fishermen are allowed to fish close to docks but they are not allowed to get onto a dock or onto a boat at the dock.
        • The 10 mph speed limit is from sunset to sunrise.  It is generally enforced 20 minutes after sunset.


  • The targeted season for DNR patrol of the reservoir is from Memorial Day through Labor Day, Friday through Sunday.
  • The Noblesville PD will have a new boat from 2018.
  • The DNR has a shortage of officers.
  • The DNR dispatch response time is 1 hour.
  • The phone number is 812-837-9536.  It is available 24/7.


President Dave Vanette adjourned the meeting at 9:00 pm.

Approximately 70 people were in attendance.