Wildlife lovers are fighting a planned construction project along a canal on the north side of Indianapolis, contending it could kill at least hundreds of baby turtles and threaten other animals.

Veolia Indianapolis Water plans for work starting in late September on removing dead trees and laying a quarter-inch thick sheet of material, covered by piles of stones, on the banks of a 2-mile stretch.

The company says the project will prevent erosion, which clogs the canal with silt and interrupts the flow of water to its filtration plant.

Butler University biology professor Travis Ryan told The Indianapolis Star that the work would bury baby turtles that would be expected to emerge in the spring from underground nests. Ryan says that would give the hatchlings no chance to survive.