White River Alliance aims to improve water quality


Plans to improve and protect Indiana’s water are in the works.

Residents from the Indianapolis area gathered June 23 at the White River Canoe Co. in Noblesville for the unveiling of a report card that will serve as a tool to improve Indiana’s water quality.

The White River Alliance, a nonprofit based in Indianapolis. has been working on the White River Report Card since February 2022, said Kelly Brown, project manager with the organization.

Brown said the WRA reached out to 200 stakeholders from the community, business, industry, government, agricultural, conservation and utility sectors to get a broad understanding of how everyone engages with the White River.

“The report card is important because it helps us know where we need to focus on to improve on things,” Brown said.

The report card is graded like a school report card, giving scores to three major categories: land, water and community. All scores add up to an overall letter grade with bacteria being one of six subcategories under water, according to the WRA.

“Bacteria is the biggest concern we have. It has a D,” Brown said. “That is due to how often the water is unsafe for human contact for swimming and things.”

The water was safe that day, however. More than 80 residents from the Indianapolis area competed in a friendly canoe race on the White River after being informed about its condition.

“Some of our partners are already responding to areas where low grades are,” said Jill Hoffman, executive director of the WRA.

Since identifying areas of improvement, the WRA has started working towards improvements in the areas that need the most attention, according to Hoffman. After the report card was revealed, attendees participated in a canoe race to celebrate.

For more, visit thewhiteriveralliance.org.