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Jane Jankowski
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Thursday, June 12, 2003

IU environmental project to begin at former shooting ranges

Indiana University will begin an environmental project next week at the site of three former shooting ranges used for many years for recreational purposes and for firearms training by local law enforcement agencies.

The university has contracted with the Indianapolis-based environmental consulting firm August Mack Environmental Inc. to direct the work on property owned by the university near Range Road on the northeast side of Bloomington. The property includes the former skeet, rifle and pistol ranges, which were closed in the late 1990s. Subsequently, the university has completed extensive environmental testing on the property, including stream and soil sampling.

"Since the closure of the shooting facilities, the university has had an opportunity to study the sites and determine how to best address the lead shot left behind. We are committed to being a good steward of property we own," said Terry Clapacs, IU vice president and chief administrative officer. "We've tested the area extensively and planned carefully. Even though we have no legal obligations to perform this work, we believe the measures we are undertaking are appropriate for the university and the Bloomington community."

The work at the site will address lead shot and clay target pieces that remain as a result of years of shooting activities. The former shooting range project work will begin on Monday (June 16) and is expected to last for about 10 weeks. Components of the environmental activities at the site include:

  • Hand-raking lead shot from hills located behind the former shooting range targets. The lead will be sent off-site to be recycled.
  • Covering the steep hill behind the pistol target range with a geotextile fabric and placing stone on top to ensure the long-term stability of the hill.
  • Clearing and grading other areas around the pistol range, then covering with a minimum of six inches of topsoil and vegetation.
  • Consolidating soils around the rifle range into a smaller area and covering with topsoil and vegetation.
  • Clearing land at the skeet range, disking and grading, and covering with six inches of topsoil and vegetation.

The earth-moving, grading and soil cover placement will occur at various times during the project, and neighbors in the area may notice trucks bringing clean fill dirt to the site as the work progresses. When the remediation has been completed, contractors will monitor and maintain the site to assure there is no erosion and to ensure the integrity of the cover and its vegetation. The total cost of the project is approximately $415,000.

The university has not developed any long-term plans for the property in and around the gun ranges. The scheduled environmental work has been designed so it can be incorporated into any long-term use for the property.