April 17 Newsletter on Lake Cumberland/Wolf Creek Dam
Friends of Lake Cumberland –
FASCINATING STATE FROM THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS:
Lake Cumberland visitation numbers have increased for the month of February. This February there were 162, 204 visitors to the lake compared to 159, 951 visitors during the same month last year.
CORPS WEEKLY PROGRESS REPORT – 4/10/07
GOVERNOR FLETCHER ADDRESSES ALBANY WATER ISSUES DURING VISIT TO CLINTON COUNTY
Also awards surprise funding for new county ambulance
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Governor Ernie Fletcher visited Albany this afternoon to tour the Cagle’s Keystone Foods factory and to address with local officials the urgent water situation the city and Clinton County face. The water problems are the result of the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to lower Lake Cumberland to 680 feet above sea level to make structural repairs to Wolf Creek Dam.
On Friday, Governor Fletcher signed an executive order establishing a funding framework to address immediate public safety concerns and other harmful effects caused by the lowering of Lake Cumberland and safety concerns with Wolf Creek Dam
“The draw down of Lake Cumberland has presented numerous challenges in several Kentucky counties, and officials in Albany know this as well as anyone,” said Governor Fletcher. “From the beginning, my administration has focused on making sure communities like this one are safe and have uninterrupted water and utility services. That focus has not changed.”
The lake has been lowered to 680 feet above sea level. This is close to the level at which public water intakes and wastewater discharges will be out of the water. Some private wells already are dry or nearly dry.
The Corps has twice informed water utilities in writing that the lake could be lowered even further at the end of the year – possibly as low as 650 feet above sea level.
“If the lake drops any more, our water intake would be sucking mud,” Albany Mayor Nicky Smith said. “We aren’t as worried about the lake being lowered 30 feet by the end of the year. We won’t be able to treat water if the lake drops another 5 feet. We need to move our intakes now.”
The city of Albany has submitted a plan to the Kentucky Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet to extend water intakes to an area of the lake that will ensure the water supply is not interrupted. The plan is under review by the cabinet’s Division of Water.
“Our Division of Water has provided technical assistance to the municipal water systems, all of which plan to move or extend their intakes,” said Governor Fletcher. “The division is working with Albany’s engineering firm (Monarch Engineering) to make certain the hydrological issues are addressed in the plans. We are working diligently to make sure Albany has water should the lake be lowered even further.”
“The people of south central Kentucky appreciate Governor Fletcher’s attention to the issues of safety and economic viability of the area caused by the Wolf Creek Dam situation,” said Senate President David L. Williams (R-Burkesville).
The Division of Water has already approved plans by Somerset and Monticello to modify and extend water intakes.
Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Resources News Release
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife takes action to help restore Lake Cumberland fish habitat, this weekend on “Kentucky Afield” television.
Frankfort, Ky. – “Kentucky Afield” cameras take you to Lake Cumberland this weekend, April 21 and 22, to see how fisheries biologists are revitalizing habitat and hiding places for fish.
Lake Cumberland is being held 40 feet below normal summer pool while repairs are being made to Wolf Creek Dam. Although the lake still offers 37,000 acres of water for fun, sections of shoreline in the upper reaches of the lake are exposed and dry, a rare sight. Rarer still is the opportunity to bolster in grand scale the aquatic habitat for one of the largest lakes in the eastern U.S. Personnel with the fisheries division of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources are sinking trees, brush and other structure that fishermen call ‘snags’ to give fish, turtles and other lake life new places to feed, spawn and evade predators.
Elsewhere, white bass and crappie are running at Taylorsville Lake and that has host Tim Farmer and his father-in-law on the run. And in Clark County, turkey season provides hunters with a surprise ending.
“Kentucky Afield” is a production of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. It is the longest continuously running outdoor television show in the nation. “Kentucky Afield” airs Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Eastern /7:30 p.m. Central and is repeated on Sunday at 4 p.m. Eastern/3 p.m. Central on KET 1.
State mulls sirens for Wolf Creek Dam area
Corps reverses decision, posts maps of Wolf Creek Dam area
Fletcher offers $25 million to Wolf Creek Dam communities
Fletcher disappointed with House’s indecision on Wolf Creek Dam crisis
Boat ramps should be ready for tourism season
From today’s Russell County Times-Journal
County plans to take over launch ramp at Alligator #1 Marina
In Apr. 12-18, 2007 issue by Greg Wells
JAMESTOWN - The news that the county's coffers could be over $100,000 lighter this coming fiscal year caused no stir among the members of the Russell County Fiscal Court monthly session Monday night.
County Judge Mickey Garner told the court he was informed that the county would not be receiving money it normally does from the marinas on Lake Cumberland.
A call to Hilda Legg, the governor's representative for issues relating to the lake, clarified the issue.
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had told marina operators previously that it was considering an abatement of some portion of the money they pay for their leases," Legg explained late Tuesday night.
She said the governor's office had asked that such a move be put on hold because much of that money is paid by the Corps back to the counties in which the marinas are located. Legg said state officials wanted a chance to evaluate what the impacts to the counties would be before dealing with this issue.
Legg explained the call she made last week was to tell the county judges around Lake Cumberland that they were no longer asking the Corps to hold off on those discussions.
She said state officials understand that the lower lake level has had an impact on the profits at the marinas and though spending public money to help out a threatened business isn't allowed, it is within the Corps' prerogative to reduce or even waive their lease fees in a situation like this one.
Garner's point to the magistrates was that most of the money that could not be coming into the county went to the smaller taxing entities such as the extension service, ambulance service and others.
Legg said her understanding was that the payments from the Army went into the county's general fund.
There is no word at this point whether the Corps has decided on how much if any of the lease payments they will forgive.
There was other lake-related news at the meeting.
In a unanimous vote by the magistrates, Garner was given the authority to enter into an agreement for the county to lease the location presently occupied by Alligator #1 Marina on Wolf Creek.
The lease would be with the Corps for essentially no fee, Garner said. It would also include a lease from the county to the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife for the maintenance of a new boat ramp and parking lot to be built near the current location of Alligator #1 boat dock.
The marina is planning to relocate downstream on Wolf Creek to a location near Jabez.
Garner said the Corp of Engineers has agreed to pay all of the approximate $150,000 it would cost to build the new ramp and parking lot while the department of Fish & Wildlife has agreed to maintain both for 25 years after construction is completed.
He told the court the county's only cost will be providing two trucks and personnel to assist in making the road that will lead to the new ramp.
Magistrate Gary Robertson asked if that meant that the county would be responsible for the upkeep of the present ramp once lake levels were returned to normal. Garner said he'd not asked.
Magistrate Ron Johnson said there was not a great deal of expense in maintaining the older ramps.
The court voted to give $2,500 to the Russell County Tourist Commission to help pay for promotional advertising in efforts bolster public opinion on the situation at Lake Cumberland Tourism Commission Chairman Jacky Burton said they are planning television and other ads around the region in a more positive light after all the negative publicity about the lowering of Lake Cumberland and repairs to Wolf Creek Dam.
Burton said the Russell County Chamber of Commerce has promised $5,000 and the Tourist Commission has budgeted advertising funds that will be going toward this effort.
Garner also told the court that the work on Lily Creek Boat Ramp was underway and expected to be completed soon.
Usable Boat Ramps According to the Corps:
The following Corps operated and Commercial Marina boat ramps are usable at or near the target elevation 680. (Ramps are monitored on a daily basis and conditions are subject to change.)
General Burnside Island State Park
Cave Creek (approx. 15' of concrete left, then mud)
Conley Bottom Marina (campground ramp, boats less 20'approx.)
Grider Hill Marina
Halcomb's Landing (small boats less 20'approx.)
Lee's Ford Marina
Waitsboro (small boats less 20'approx.)
Ramps projected to be open by the start of the summer recreation season.
The list below is subject to change and is not final. It is for planning purposes.
Ramps expected to be open are:
Grider Hill Marina Conley Bottom Resort
Halcomb’s Landing Fall Creek Recreation Area
Beaver Creek Resort Lee’s Ford Marina
Lake Cumberland State Resort Park Slate Branch
Jamestown Marina Waitsboro Recreation Area
Lily Creek General Burnside Island State Park
Ono at Caney Creek embayment Cave Creek
Alligator II Omega/Buck Creek Marina
Cumberland Point Recreation Area
WEB SITES OF INTEREST
Jamestown Resort Marina, from the motel island looking ESE out to the main lake.
LIVE WEBCAM ON LAKE CUMBERLAND
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