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Mississinewa Lake

5613 E. Mississinewa Dam Road
Peru, IN 46970-9745
(765) 473 - 5946
Office hours: M-F, 6:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. (may vary, call ahead)

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Welcome to the Mississinewa Lake web site. The lake is located in Wabash, Miami, and Grant counties in north central Indiana, and is about an 85-mile drive from Indianapolis.

Mississinewa Lake exists as a cooperative management effort between the Corps of Engineers and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The 3,180-acre lake provides flood reduction and a whole lot more. The Mississinewa Lake region offers many opportunities to enjoy wildlife or recreate in the great outdoors. The menu on the right leads to specific recreation and other lake information.

Mississinewa Lake was authorized under the Flood Control Act of 1958. The Louisville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designed, built and operates the project to reduce flood damages downstream from the dam. The lake operates as a unit with J. Edward Roush and Salamonie Lakes to reduce flood stages in the upper Wabash River Basin. Mississinewa Lake also operates with other lakes downstream to reduce flood stages along the lower Wabash River and the Ohio River.  Areas most directly benefited include the cities of Peru and Logansport, Ind. and about 31,500 acres of agricultural land.

Construction began in April 1962, and the lake became operational in October 1967. Since its completion, Mississinewa Lake has prevented more than $305 million in flood damages, more than 10 times its original cost of $24.4 million.

Through the ages the rushing waters of the Miami Indians’ Mischisin-wah washed away the soft limestone of the riverbank creating a number of pilar-like formations known as “Cliffs of the Seven Pillars.” This wonder of nature may be viewed from the riverbank or reached by footpath from the Frances Slocum Trail.

In 1817, Chief Francis Godfroy established a trading post named Mount Pleasant on the Wabash River near the mouth of the Mississinewa River. It became the greatest trading post in Miami Indian history. Remnants of lands granted to Godfroy by treaty remain under Indian ownership.

The “Frances Slocum Trail” was named in honor of a white woman raised by the Indians. On Nov. 2, 1778, five-year-old Frances was taken from her Quaker home at Wilkes Barre, Penn., by the Delaware Indians and named “Weletawash.” She grew up to be so strong that her name was later changed to “Maconaquah,” or Little Bear Woman. She married Shepconnah, War Chief of the Osage Village.  When her husband later became deaf and resigned as Chief, he established a trading post called “Deaf Man’s Village” about nine miles above Peru on the Mississinewa River. These wealthy Indians had a standard of living that far excelled that of the early white man in the same area. Deaf Man’s Village became a social center for the white men and Indians.

Frances Slocum’s identification was not learned until September 1837 when her brother, Isaac Slocum, identified her by a scar on her left hand. As a result she was no longer eligible, as an Indian, for the pension made possible by the Treaty of 1826 since she was a “white woman.” In 1838 her two daughters were given 640 acres of land, including their mother’s original home site. Frances and her family were permitted to stay in Indiana after John Quincy Adams eloquently defended her case in Congress. She died on March 9, 1847, and was buried next to her husband and two small sons in the cemetery next to her cabin. In May 1900, it was named the “Frances Slocum Cemetery.”

Peoria, just downstream from the dam, was originally known as “Reserve” because so many Indians collected their annuities at the Post Office located in the heart of the Great Miami Reserve. In October 1849, reserve was platted into 36 lots with four streets and given the name of Peoria. When the white men first came to this area, the deer and other wild animals roamed in vast numbers. The streams were filled with fish. The virgin land was covered with native trees such as walnut, hickory, ash, and the sugar tree, which was the source of the settler’s maple syrup and maple sugar.

                                                            Boundary and Flowage Easement Management Policy
 
                                                                         Upper Wabash Project Office
 
                                                                                  Louisville District
 
                                                                                      02 April 2012
 
 
 
 
 
1. Purpose 

 
 
The purpose of this policy is to clarify procedures for the reporting, resolution, and prevention of encroachments on fee and flowage easement property at J. Edward Roush Lake, Mississinewa Lake, and Salamonie Lake of the Upper Wabash Project.  This policy is based on current practices and procedures intended to protect the resources and missions of the lakes and to ensure an objective approach to the resolution of encroachments and trespasses.
 
 
 
2. References 

 
 
            a. ER 405-1-12, Real Estate Management

 
 
            b. Louisville District Boundary Marking Policy Statement.
 
 
 
            c. Louisville District Shoreline Management Policy Statement.
 
 
 
            d. Indiana DNR Group Dock Policy.
 
 
 
            e. Indiana DNR Property Regulations.

 
 
f. Title 36 36CFR327, Rules and Regulations Governing Public Use of Corps of Engineers Water Resources Development Projects.
 
 
 
3. Encroachments and Trespasses
 
 
 
            An encroachment is a structure or improvement built, installed, or established which interferes with the real estate interests of the United States.  An encroachment has occurred where the structure or improvement extends over, across, in, under or upon lands in which the government owns a real estate interest and has not approved the structure or improvement.
 
 
 
            A structure or improvement is a permanent or semi-permanent facility, such as a habitable dwelling, building, fence, deck, porch, barn, outhouse, permanent storage building, road, pond, leach field and septic tank, utility line, levee, excavation, placement of fill material, oil and gas well, mine entrance and tunnel.
 
 
 
            A trespass is an unauthorized transient use and occupancy of fee owned lands.  Such uses include, but are not limited to, livestock grazing, mowing, planting, cultivation and harvesting of crops, timber cutting and removal, trash disposal, private property storage, and other material storage.
 
 
 
4. Flowage Easement
 

Flowage easement is a real estate interest that the Government acquired entitling the Government to store water on private property.  The flowage easement estate specifies that no structures or improvements are allowed on flowage easement without permission from the Government except for fences.  All other structures must be approved by the Government.  An Application for Consent to Easement Structure must be completed and submitted to the appropriate lake office.  An application is attached. 

 
 
The flowage easement was purchased up to a specific elevation at each lake.  The easement elevation is 5 feet above the emergency spillway floor, creating 5 feet of freeboard incase of a maximum design flood.  Flowage easement also exists below Mississinewa and Salamonie Dams extending from the end of each emergency spillway to the Wabash River.   
 
 
 
Flowage Easement is recorded on the deed in the year it was purchased. The deed from the year the easement was purchased must be examined to find the total description of the Flowage Easement.  All deeds are on record in the corresponding county courthouse.
 
 
 
The flowage easement estate prohibits the construction of anything other than a fence without permission from the Corps of Engineers. Consents will be issued for certain types of structures that do not create a liability for the Government and do not have a negative impact on the right to store water on the property.  Septic fields will be allowed if they are above the spillway floor elevation and are approved by the respective county sanitarian.  Septic tanks must be constructed above the flowage easement elevation.  Ponds are a structure and require a consent if in flowage easement.  Placement or movement of fill on flowage easement to meet minimum elevation levels is prohibited.  Permission is required for filling or excavating of soil.                                     

 
 
Structures for human habitation will not be authorized in Flowage Easement.  Permanent structures will not be allowed below the spillway floor except for ponds.
 
 
 
It is the landowner’s responsibility to determine the flowage easement boundaries based on the description recorded in the county courthouse.  The best way to do this is with the services of a qualified surveyor.  The Corps staff will mark their estimate of the easement when requested, but they are not registered surveyors and cannot be held responsible for errors.  It is the landowner’s responsibility to verify the Corps easement marking with a qualified surveyor.   Flowage easement may not be shown on FEMA floodplain maps.

 
 
Flowage Easement is routinely inspected by Park Managers for unauthorized structures and activities. 

 
 
5. Fee Property
 
 
 
Fee property is property purchased and owned by the Government.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
6. Boundary Marking
 
 
 
            The Government makes every effort to identify its fee boundary; it is the responsibility of adjacent landowners to accurately locate their property boundary.  The best way to do this is with the services of a qualified surveyor.
 
 
 
            Damaging or removing monuments or posts is destruction of Government property and will be prosecuted in U.S. Federal Court. 
 

7. Vegetation Management
 

            Destruction, alteration or cutting of vegetative growth is prohibited under Title 36 Chapter III Part 327, Rules and Regulations Governing Public Use of Water Resources Development Projects Administered By the Chief of Engineers.  If an adjacent landowner feels an undue hardship exists with regards to the Corps of Engineers vegetation management policy, please contact the respective park manager.

 
 
No mowed trails are allowed on fee property except for trails to the two group docks at Mississinewa Lake.  Each dock is allowed one trail across Government property.  These trails may not exceed five feet in width.
 
 
 
8. Shoreline Management
 

            As stated in the Louisville District Shoreline Management Policy Statement, no shoreline management plan is required for the Upper Wabash Project Lakes because there was no private shoreline use as of December 13, 1974.  The purpose of a shoreline management plan is to define what types of shoreline use is allowable at a specific lake. No private shoreline use is authorized at the Upper Wabash Project lakes.
 
           

The policy also states that any prior written commitments will continue to be honored provided they are actively maintained.  Written commitments do exist for two group docks at Mississinewa Lake in the Somerset area.  Since these docks were allowed to stay outside of policy, they are considered grandfathered.  The important point is, to exist on Corps’ property; the docks need to be actively maintained.  This includes following all Indiana DNR regulations pertaining to group dock permits.  According to State regulations, at least six adjacent landowners must be included in the annual application and pay the necessary fees each year.  To be considered actively maintained, a dock must be used yearly, meaning actually placed in the lake for use.  If any requirements are not met, the dock would be considered not actively maintained.

 
 
The Corps’ position is to encourage the use of the public facilities on the lake and to restrict the private development of the shoreline.  According to Corps’ policy for a grandfathered structure, once a grandfathered structure is no longer being actively maintained, it is removed from Corps records and cannot be reinstated.  Grandfathered structures cannot change ownership and cannot change location.  Since these docks are maintained by associations, the association maintaining each dock must stay the same, but the people in each association can change.
 
 
 
9. Enforcement
 
 
 
            The general policy is to require removal of encroachments and trespasses, restoration of the premises, and collection of appropriate administrative costs and fair market value for the term of the unauthorized use.  The lowest form of enforcement will be used to resolve encroachments or trespasses such as verbal requests or written warnings.  If the lowest form of enforcement does not resolve the encroachment, Title 36 36CFR327 citations may be used.  This may result in fines, court costs, and court appearances. 

 
 
10. Specific Lake Information
 

Mississinewa Lake
 
 
 
1. Flowage easement – 3,425 acres.

    Emergency spillway elevation – 779 feet above msl.

    Flowage easement elevation above dam – 784 feet above msl.
 
    Flowage easement elevation below dam – 655 feet above msl.
 
 
 
2. Fee property – 15,072 acres.

    Length of boundary – 78 miles.
 
    Monuments - 669.
 
 
 
3. Contact information -        

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
 
Mississinewa Lake

5613 E Mississinewa Dam Road

Peru, Indiana 46970

765-473-5946
 
                                                        

11. Policy
 
 
 
This policy supersedes all previous boundary, flowage easement and shoreline management policies at J. Edward Roush Lake, Mississinewa Lake, and Salamonie Lake in the Upper Wabash Project.

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