INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND THE BLUE RIVER COMMISSION
This Memorandum of Understanding (“Memorandum”) is entered into by and between the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, an administrative Department of the State of Indiana, which shall hereinafter be referred to as the “Department”, and Blue River Commission, which shall hereinafter be referred to as the “Commission” and which has been authorized for establishment by IC 14-29-7, the Indiana River Commission Act, which became in force on the first day of September, 1978. In consideration of those mutual undertakings, the parties agree as follows:
WHEREAS, the Blue River from river mile 57.0 to river mile 11. 5 has been included in the Indiana Natural, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers System through adoption of Natural, Scenic and Recreational Rivers System, 312 IAC 7-2-2, , by the Indiana Natural Resources Commission in July, 1975, adopted pursuant to IC 14-29-6, the Natural, Scenic, and Recreational River System, which came in force on the 26thday of July, 1973 and was listed at 16 Indiana Register 1677 on March 1, 1993, as an Outstanding River, and;
WHEREAS, the Department and the Commission, together with the Big Blue River of the Ohio Association, Inc., which shall hereinafter be referred to as the “Association,” a not -for-profit corporation organized and existing by virtue of the laws of the State of Indiana and comprised of riparian landowners along Blue River, have been cooperating to accomplish the purpose of
IC 14-29-6 in a manner which will be supported by the Blue River riparian landowners, and;
WHEREAS, both parties to this Memorandum of Understanding are committed to continuing the spirit of cooperation shown by the Department and Association, and;
WHEREAS, both parties to this Memorandum of Understanding are committed to preserving the Blue River component of the Indiana Natural, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers Syst em.
NOW THEREFORE, it is agreed by and between the parties, as follows, to wit:
Land and Improvements Subject to the Authority of the Commission
- It is agreed that the land and improvements within the Blue River Corridor District, as such District was defined with the concurrence and consent of the Association are subject to the authority of the Commission and that the following Blue River Corridor District Regulations shall be administered by the Commission.
- It is also agreed that prior to final action, the Commission shall notify, by first class mail, the president of the Association and any other person requesting in writing to be notified of any matters before it that affect any property rights of any landowner other than those petitioning the Commission.
Blue River Corridor District Regulations (to maintain the natural and scenic qualities of Blue River):
- The following area in Washington, Harrison and Crawford counties is designated in the Blue River Corridor District:
- Blue River from river mile 57.0 to river mile 11.5 and the strip of land along each side of the river which is defined by the river’s edge and a line paralleling the river bank and is determined by measuring horizontally (parallel to the river surface) 50 feet from the river bank and away from the river.
- It is also agreed that riparian landowners along Blue River may petition the Commission to include additional land in the Blue River Corridor District to provide for the further preservation of Blue River.
- The words used in this Memorandum of Understanding shall be given their plain, customary, everyday meaning, except that the following terms shall mean and include within their respective definitions, as a minimum, the following:
- Deposit - to fill, place, or dump.
- Improvement - to use or modify a structure, or to deposit, locate or remove material.
- Locate – to construct, place, insert, or excavate.
- Material - any soil, sand, gravel, clay, peat, mud, debris, refuse, or other organic or inorganic substance.
- Modify - to alter, repair, enlarge, or extend a structure.
- Remove - to take away, dig, dredge, bulldoze, dragline, blast or to cut natural vegetation.
- River Bank - the top of the slope immediately bordering the river’s course, along which the river normally runs and below which the river is normally contained or the edge of the permanent woody vegetation or the edge of the field, pasture, or cultivated crop; the closest to the river’s edge among the top of the slope, the permanent woody vegetation, or the field, pasture or cultivated crop.
- Use - to employ or occupy a structure or parcel of land for a person’s service, benefit, or enjoyment.
- All improvements within the Blue River Corridor District will require an application for a Blue River Commission permit.
- Pursuant to IC 14-29-7-19(a), after a hearing and subject to paragraph 5, below, the Commission may issue a permit to a person to substantially affect the natural or scenic qualities of the river if the Commission finds the need of the person seeking the permit to be more compelling than the need of the people to have the natural and scenic qualities of the river preserved.
- Pursuant to 14-29-7-19(b), a permit may not be issued that substantially affects the natural or scenic qualities of a river in a manner visible from five (5) feet above the water surface of the river at normal water level between May 1 and October 15 of a year.
- Timber may be selectively harvested according to good forestry practices, following the marking of the timber by a qualified forester agreeable to the landowner and the Blue River Commission and the obtaining of a Blue River Commission Permit.
Access Site Development
It is agreed that public or commercial access sites, portages, or campgrounds will not be designated within the Blue River Corridor District and modifications or improvements would require a Blue River Commission permit. The access sites, portages and campgrounds which already exist are listed below (all existing commercial access sites and commercial campgrounds are considered to be non-conforming uses within the Blue River Corridor District):
- Old Mill Privat e Commercial Access Site: T1S, R3E, Sec. 16 (downstream of US Hwy 150 bridge, right bank)
- Recreation Unlimited Private Commercial Campground and Commercial Access Site: T1S, R2E, Sec. 24 (NW 1/2 of NW 1/4 of NW 1/4, left bank)
- Old Mill Private Commercial Access Site: T1S, R2E, Sec. 23 (NW 1/4 of SW 1/4 of SE 1/4 of SE 1/4, right bank)
- Totten Ford Bridge Private Commercial Access Sites: T2S, R2E, Sec. 2 (center of NW 1/4 of NE 1/4)
- Cave Country Canoes Access Site (upstream, left bank)
- Cave Country Canoes Access Site (downstream, right bank)
- Cave Country Canoes Private Commercial Access Site: T2S, R2E, Sec. 15 (in Milltown, upstream of bridge, right bank)
- Town of Milltown Public Portage and Public Access Site: T2S, R2E, Sec. 15 (downstream of bridge, right bank)
- Rothrock Mill Public Portage and Public Access Site: T3S, R2E, Sec. 11 (NW 1/4 of SW 1/4 of SW 1/4 of NW 1/4, left bank)
Maintenance of the River Channel
The Commission has determined that the limited practice of cutting fallen trees in the river channel approximately in half to allow the river to float the tree sections to the river bank or downstream for the sole purpose of erosion control and avoidance of flood hazards will not substantially affect the natural and scenic qualities of the river.
Provided these activities are conducted by the riparian owner, or at the riparian owner’s direction, such activity will not require a Commission permit. However, the Commission specifically acknowledges the concurrent jurisdiction of the Department with respect to this issue and understands that a Department permit may be required for this practice.
It is agreed that all efforts should be made to ensure the placement of additional power transmission lines, pipe lines, cables, roads, or railroad crossings in or immediately adjacent to an existing right-of-way. It is also agreed that herbicide application within the Blue River Corridor District, with the single exception of direct “stump spraying” as necessary within rights -of-way, should be minimized. However, all such applications shall be considered on a case by case basis.
Meeting of the Commission
It is agreed that the Commission will meet at least bi-monthly each calendar year. Special meetings will be scheduled at other times as deemed necessary by the Commission.
Enforcement of Trespass and Other Laws
It is agreed that Blue River be given high priority by the Law Enforcement Division of the Department of Natural Resources. The Division shall utilize a reasonable number of officers with powers of arrest from May 1 to September 30, on the section of the river experiencing the heaviest concentration of canoe traffic. The number of officers and the hours of said officers devoted to Blue River shall take into account the concentration of canoe traffic as well as any other uses of Blue River by the general public. Said Division shall also base officer deployment based upon past, current and future trends of use on weekends and holidays. Finally, said officer deployment will take into account past, current and future trends of violations or any and all activities which warrant the involvement of said Division. The entire Blue River Corridor District shall be checked at least once per recreational season (May 1 to September 30).
It is agreed that the parties’ responsibility to preserve the natural and scenic qualities of the Blue River Corridor District shall be properly balanced with the fact that said District is a public resource. Dissemination of information regarding the Blue River will be conducted in a responsible manner giving due consideration to the possible adverse impacts on said District.
Lower Section of the River
Inclusion in the Natural, Scenic and Recreation River System of the lower section of Blue River, from river mile 11.5 to river mile 7.3, is not recommended at this time. However, the Department of Natural Resources agrees to insure that the State abides by the same commitments that the landowners abide by as stipulated in this agreement relative to the stewardship of land owned by the State along this lower section of the river.
The parties to this Memorandum of Understanding acknowledge and recognize that the Commission and the Department exercise concurrent jurisdiction with respect to certain activities which may occur, from time to time, within the Blue River Corridor District and that undertakings of such activity within the Blue River Corridor District may require the approval of both the Commission and the Department. Therefore, the Commission and the Department do hereby covenant and agree to provide notice to each applicant requesting a permit to conduct activities within the Blue River Corridor District of the concurrent jurisdiction of the other so as to assure that all necessary permits and authorizations, whether to be issued by the Commission or the Department, are properly secured by the applicant prior to the commencement of the activity.
This MOU commences on the date of the last State signatory and shall terminate on December 31, 2023.
Modification and Termination
- This MOU may be amended and/or extended by mutual agreement of the Parties. Any such amendment or extension shall be by written mutual consent of the Parties with the same formality as this original MOU.
- This MOU may be terminated in whole or in part by either Party, upon thirty (30) days’ written notice, if such Party determines that termination is in its best interest.
- If either Party has failed to comply with the terms of this MOU, either Party may, upon thirty (30) days’ prior written notice to the other Party, terminate this MOU. The notice of termination shall state the reason(s) for the termination and the effective date.
- No waiver of any provision hereunder shall operate as an amendment or bind a Party to future waiver of the same unless incorporated in an amendment pursuant to 1 herein.
- This MOU may be rendered null and void, in whole or in part, by changes in federal or state law, or if funding and appropriations prevent any party from fulfill ing its terms. In such an event, each Party agrees to notify the other Parties as soon as possible.
- If the Director of the State Budget Agency makes a written determination that funds are not appropriated or otherwise available to support continuation of this MOU, the MOU shall be cancelled. A determination by the Budget Director that funds are not appropriated or otherwise available to support continuation of performance shall be final and conclusive.
If any provision of this MOU is found unenforceable, the remaining provisions shall continue in full force and effect.
In Witness Whereof, BLUE RIVER COMMISSION and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources have, through their duly authorized representatives, entered into this Memorandum. The parties, having read and understood the foregoing terms of this Memorandum, do by their respective signatures dated below agree to the terms thereof.
BLUE RIVER COMMISSION
Date: 10/18/2021 | 13:53 EDT
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Interim Deputy Director/CFO
Date: 10/18/2021 | 14:08 EDT
Electronically Approved by:
State Budget Agency
Zachary Q. Jackson, Director