Geist Conservancy District FAQ
Creating a conservancy district allows property owners to have input on the management of the reservoir. Volunteer groups have operated with limited funding based on voluntary donations for many years. It is time to establish a governing body and financial resources to adequately maintain the reservoir and help preserve the reservoir.
While there are dozens of beneficial reasons to operate Geist Reservoir as a conservancy district, the core rationale comes down to maintenance of this tremendous community asset. Geist has had more than its fair share of troubles in recent years. Zebra mussels, invasive species, algae blooms and the like all create challenges that need long term solutions. Who cares for Geist? Who cares for reservoirs in general? Those problems and questions have been asked and debated for years. People have posited that Indianapolis should take over the reservoir; or Fishers; or that Citizens Energy and Marina Limited Partnership should take on the responsibilities. The reality is none of those entities is taking on this responsibility. Without proper maintenance, Geist will continue to decline. Sediment will continue to reduce the amount of usable lake area, algae blooms will become more common and potentially become toxic. A conservancy district is not a luxury, but a necessity for Geist.
For a bit of background, consider this: reservoirs are creatures of human construction and ingenuity. Like other public works, they cannot simply be built and then ignored. They need to be maintained. Most reservoirs have a useful life of 50 to 100 years. Geist was built in 1943. It turns 76 this year. For nearly all of its existence, no one has performed systemic maintenance on this reservoir. Without maintenance, including primarily dredging and treatment of plant growth, Geist will continue to deteriorate, or worse. For an example of what can happen when long term, systemic maintenance programs are ignored, we can look to Grand Lake in nearby St. Marys, Ohio. Grand Lake, a reservoir of similar age with other similar sedimentation and runoff issues, suffered numerous blue green algae blooms over the years and finally became toxic in 2010, forcing the lake to close for recreational use from 2010 to 2013. It is estimated that residents lost $51,000,000 in property value from the toxic algae bloom. Numerous articles about Grand Lake are available on the web, including a recent Wall Street Journal article.
The CD will be funded through a combination of:
- Special benefits taxes (assessments against real property) that are collected in the same manner as property taxes.
- User fees (boat sticker) collected from all users of motorized watercraft on the reservoir.
2. Please donate here to provide the funds needed to maintain the reservoir until the Conservancy District is established and help fund the costs associated with creating the Conservancy District.
3. Please contact your friends and neighbors and encourage them to sign up here to get updates on our progress!