INDIANAPOLIS — (July 27, 2017) The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust has granted over $4.9 million to nine Indiana nonprofit organizations to collaborate on a multi-year initiative to protect and restore the White River with projects focused on improving water quality, increasing public access, fostering greater understanding and appreciation of the value of this critical natural resource, and providing benefits to the communities and wildlife that depend on the river and surrounding habitat. The group of collaborating organizations is called the Partners for the White River.
The 362-mile White River and its associated water resources provide drinking water to 2 million people (30 percent of Indiana’s population) and habitat to several thousand species of plants and animals. With Trust support, the Partners for the White River will undertake numerous interconnected projects along the river, its tributaries and within surrounding neighborhoods and communities in central Indiana.
Among the aims of this initiative over the next three years are performing water quality research and monitoring; reducing fertilizer-related pollution, manure run-off and risks posed by coal ash; improving water quality; creating an annual Water Summit; and helping the public, farmers and policy makers better understand how their actions impact the watershed. Collaborative programming and projects will create more ways for people to engage and connect to the river’s multiple waterways and increase recreation, economic development and ecological sustainability opportunities. Additionally, there will be infrastructure improvements at the Oliver’s Woods, White Owl, and White River Bluffs nature preserves; art, science and education installations; canoe launch construction; and environmental awareness programming for children and adults.
Further wildlife and landscape projects, all within the White River watershed, include expanding the waterway trail system, reestablishing native landscapes through invasive plant removal and native plant installation, and improving wildlife and fish habitat.
“The value of a clean and protected White River to our communities, wildlife and economy cannot be overstated,” said Kent Agness, trustee, Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust. “The work to be accomplished through the Partners for the White River will significantly improve water quality, while allowing more people to enjoy the river and become involved in protecting it for the communities and wildlife who depend upon it.”
The initial organizations comprising the Partners for the White River are Central Indiana Land Trust, Inc., The daVinci Pursuit, Friends of the White River, the Hoosier Environmental Council, Indiana Wildlife Federation, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Reconnecting to Our Waterways, The Nature Conservancy, White River Alliance and the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.
“The river and its connected tributaries and groundwater resources are at the heart of every aspect of our daily lives,” said Jill Hoffmann, executive director, White River Alliance. “Every light you turn on, every meal that you eat, every job in our region relies on clean, ample water, and this collective effort is going to put an important spotlight on what we all have to do right now to protect this critical resource.”
“When George Kessler designed the city’s parks system, the waterways were signature features of Indianapolis. We have the opportunity to once again feel connected to the river,” said Corrie Meyer, director, Reconnecting to Our Waterways. “We are seeing neighborhoods and businesses making a greater effort to reconnect and protect our Indianapolis waterways.”
About the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust
The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust seeks to help people in need, especially women, children and families; to protect animals and nature; and to enrich community life primarily in metropolitan Phoenix and Indianapolis. The Trust has awarded more than $283 million in grants and student scholarships since its inception in 1997. For more information, visit www.ninapulliamtrust.org.