Historic Indiana town faces erosion threat from Ohio River dam

An historic southern Indiana town is under an erosion watch, its Ohio River shoreline threatened from a nearby dam.

Officials in Clarksville, the site of a village founded by Revolutionary War figure George Rogers Clark in the 1780s, told the Courier-Journal that they are not sure where they will be able to find the $18 million dollars needed to build a large concrete buffer to redirect turbulence from the McAlpine Dam’s hydroelectric generating plant.

The town has already spent approximately $124,000 to temporarily reinforce the riverbank in the area, using products similar to Impact Absorbents’ Ultra Drain Guard, Ultra Gutter Guard and Jute Netting, to prevent further erosion, but the Army Corps of Engineers said the project can only be permanently fixed by a barrier that will redirect the river’s currents away from the bank.

Erosion has also forced the closure of nearby Harrison Avenue after engineers deemed it at risk of landslides and injury after finding cracks in the roadway following flooding last spring.

Based on a corps study, the Ohio has already eroded the riverbank 300 feet inland since the 1940s, and is currently threatening a nearby 280-acre parcel that Clarksville recently designated as an historic district. 

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