Jan. 25 Newsletter on Lake Cumberland/Wolf Creek Dam
Friends of Lake Cumberland –
In an effort to keep everyone informed about the latest developments in the Lake Cumberland/Wolf Creek Dam situation, we are creating this periodic newsletter. It will be sent whenever there is enough news to warrant it being sent.
Currently, the list of recipients includes folks who attended the town hall meeting in Somerset on Wednesday January 24 and left a legible e-mail address, as well as other interested parties. If you know of others who may want to receive these updates, feel free to pass it along or tell them to send me their e-mail address and we will include them on the list.
Please know that Governor Ernie Fletcher has assigned a team of experts to examine this situation and to find solutions. The governor held two press conferences this week to get the word out that “the lake is open for business”. There was the town hall meeting on Wednesday and top state leaders are meeting with the Corps this week to get a full briefing.
We are open to your suggestions and welcome your input.
ITEM OF INTEREST
For those that did not get a copy at the Wednesday meeting…
We have information about the KY Tourism Development Loan Program – a low interest loan that can be used to assist tourism attractions obtain financing for the development or expansion of their attractions.
For more information, contact Todd Cassidy at 502-564-8067 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Corps of Engineers to hold public meetings on dams 01/25/2007
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has scheduled three public meetings in Tennessee to discuss the vulnerabilities of Wolf Creek and Center Hill dams.
Corps officials announced on Monday that they would be lowering the level of Lake Cumberland in southern Kentucky because of seepage at the foundation of the mile-long Wolf Creek dam that poses a high risk of failure.
The three public meetings are scheduled in Nashville and two of its northern suburbs, Hendersonville and Gallatin. All sit on the Cumberland River and could be at risk for damage if the dam failed.
Corps engineers were expected to attend the meetings and show floodplain maps for the two rivers. The Corps began a $309 million project last year to reinforce the Wolf Creek Dam.
The Corps announced last month that it planned to reduce the level of the Center Hill Lake dam on the Caney Fork River, after workers noticed muddy discharges at the base of the dam while drilling.
But the Corps said later the same week it had determined the mud came from silt driven from the bottom by waves and it did not believe the dam needed to be lowered immediately. It will continue studying existing seepage problems through 2007.
The Caney Fork River flows north from the dam into the Cumberland River at Carthage.
The meeting schedule, all times Central:
_ Tuesday, Feb. 6, 6:30 p.m., Metro North Police Precinct, 2231 26th Ave. N., Nashville.
_ Monday, Feb. 12, Hendersonville City Hall, 101 Maple Drive N., Hendersonville.
_ Thursday, Feb. 15, 6:30 p.m., Gallatin City Hall, 132 W. Main St., Gallatin. ___
RECENT NEWS ARTICLES
Below are links to a few articles following the Wednesday meeting.
Kentucky wants to send message that Lake Cumberland still open
Lake business owners ask help
State seeks to quell concerns over Lake Cumberland plan
Kentucky wants to send message that Lake Cumberland still open
Commonwealth of Kentucky
Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
For Immediate Release
January 22, 2007
GOVERNOR FLETCHER DISPATCHES CABINET OFFICIALS TO ASSIST WITH WOLF CREEK DAM REPAIR ISSUE
Repair needed to ensure health and safety of Lake Cumberland
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has determined that the Wolf Creek Dam in Russell County is in need of repair to ensure the health and safety of Lake Cumberland and to prevent the possibility of flooding in the area should a breach occur.
To address this issue, the Corps of Engineers is lowering Lake Cumberland significantly, a move which will not only impact communities which rely on Lake Cumberland as a source of drinking water, but businesses, fisheries and recreation in the area as well.
Governor Ernie Fletcher has established a group to study the total impact.
“The Corps of Engineers’ announcement regarding the condition of Wolf Creek Dam raises a serious challenge. I have asked members of my administration who have expertise in the areas potentially affected to develop a plan to mitigate the negative impact as much as possible,” said Governor Fletcher. “For all those who live, work and visit the area, it is my hope that this project will be done as expeditiously as possible. Our primary concerns will be the safety of the citizens, the integrity of the Wolf Creek Dam, the protection of Lake Cumberland and the economic impact on local businesses.”
More than 4.7 million visitors spend 73.3 million hours at Lake Cumberland annually. It is the fourth most popular lake of its kind in the nation. According to the Travel Industry Association of America, the tourism economic impact for the four-county area (Clinton, Pulaski, Russell, Wayne) with access to Lake Cumberland is $152.6 million.
The Commerce Cabinet, which includes the Kentucky Department of Tourism and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, will work with the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet (EPPC) and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) to determine what the Commonwealth can do to assist this region through this transition.
Commerce Secretary George Ward, EPPC Secretary Teresa Hill, and KYTC Secretary Bill Nighbert will discuss all options with officials at the local, state and federal level.
Secretary Hill and EPPC will continue to work with local community leaders to develop a plan to address impacts for their water intakes and to ensure water service is not interrupted.
“Working together, we will aggressively pursue every option to keep the lake economy strong,” said Governor Fletcher.
Tourism Commissioner Randy Fiveash will meet with local tourism officials, the Kentucky Marina Association, the Kentucky Tourism Council and the federally funded Southern and Eastern Kentucky Tourism Development Association to gather their input. Commissioner Fiveash will also explore tourism promotion options for the region.
Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Dr. Jon Gassett and his fisheries team will work with the Corps of Engineers on mitigating the impact of the lake’s water level. They will be looking at what boat ramps can be extended, what shoreline habitat improvements can be made, what alternatives need to made for trout production and stocking.
The Lake Cumberland area is home to the only cold water fish hatchery in Kentucky, producing approximately 1 million trout annually and stocking the entire state.
KYTC will address access to the lake for recreational boating and the houseboat manufacturing industry. EPPC has consulted with the Corps of Engineers on the appropriate repairs for the Wolf Creek Dam.
“My administration is taking immediate action to do everything it can to assist those living and working in the Lake Cumberland region,” said Governor Fletcher.
U.S. REP. ED WHITFIELD
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: DEREK FINK
WEDNESDAY, January 24, 2007 CELL: (202) 593-1549
WHITFIELD SEEKS TO ASSIST RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES AFFECTED BY LOWER LAKE LEVELS AT WOLF CREEK DAM
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield wrote the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding their recent decision to lower the lake levels of Lake Cumberland at Wolf Creek Dam. The Corps of Engineers has labeled Wolf Creek Dam as a “high risk” for failure.
“Not only should we ensure that residents and businesses downstream are protected from a possible dam failure, but we also need to ensure that the people directly affected by the lake levels are assisted during the rehabilitation,” said Whitfield. “The lower pool level may greatly reduce fishery operations and recreation at the lake, which many people depend on for their livelihood.”
The letter sent to Nashville District Colonel Steve Roemhildt asked the Corps what is being done to ensure that residents at the lake have a plentiful supply of drinking water, as well as what steps are being made to compensate them for their business loss.
Normal pool levels are 723 feet in the summer and 690 feet in the winter. As of January 22nd the Corps Engineers lowered the lake level to 680 feet.