News: Groundbreaking kicks off Hatchery Creek project
Story by Mark Rankin
JAMESTOWN, Ky. – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state legislators and Russell County officials held a ceremony today marking the groundbreaking for a $1.8 million Wolf Creek Hatchery Wetland and Stream Mitigation Program project below the Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery.
Lt. Col. John L. Hudson, Nashville District commander, spoke during the ceremony and highlighted how this project has been a great partnership between all agencies involved. He said he feels confident this project will benefit the Lake Cumberland region and minimize a very serious erosion problem that threatens several campsites, roadways, and a bath house at Kendall Campground.
“We have already spent 10s of thousands of dollars in an effort to slow the erosion. The new creek will also improve water quality both in the creek and downstream in the Cumberland River, and provide additional high quality aquatic habitat for various wildlife. This a win-win project for the Lake Cumberland region and we are happy to assist,” Hudson said.
Construction is next in line for the planned wetland and stream project. When completed the natural stream will feature riffles, runs, glides and pools will provide a variety of stream flow velocities, depths, habitat types and temperature gradients for aquatic wildlife, including trout.
Don Getty, Nashville District’s Wolf Creek Dam Safety Rehabilitation Project manager, said at least six different offices in the district interfaced and coordinated with state offices and federal agencies. These departments include the regulatory office, environmental planning, natural resource management, office of counsel, real estate, and project management for support documents, lease agreements, site management, environmental planning support and water quality permits.
Getty said as a cost saving method and agreement, which benefits the Corps, soil excavated from the new creek’s channel will be used by the contractor in the Wolf Creek Dam safety rehabilitation project.
Water flowing from the hatchery has over time eroded a gully that funnels unwanted fine deposits into the Cumberland River. The gully will be partially filled in, and water diverted into the stream.
“This is a great day for us and we would like to extend our support and gratitude to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for your support,” said Gregory Johnson, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.”
Johnson also thanked state legislators and Russell County officials for their support.
“We are excited to get this restoration underway,” said Johnson. “It will more than triple the current length of Hatchery Creek, replace degraded, bare banks with gradual sloping contours and create naturalized pools, riffles and also re-establish and enhance 5.5 acres of forested and emergent wetlands on Lake Cumberland project lands.”
Recognizing the importance of soil and water quality, a team of municipal planners and storm water engineers comprised from Ecogro, Ridgewater and Stantec corporations joined forces to design, develop, build and re-direct the existing wetlands for evasive plants, ecosystem restoration and green infrastructure.
“We are proud to be a part of this project,” said Russ Turpin, an environmental specialist with Ecogro. “This will be a great trout fishing stream, with a good ecosystem and we hope it brings a lot of trout fishermen to the Kentucky area.”
Andy Mowrey, Wetland and Stream Mitigation Program project manager, said the project should take about six months to complete.
"The end result will be a stable functional stream channel, removal of large amounts of sediment pollution from the Cumberland River, high quality aquatic habitat and a unique fishing opportunity for anglers," said Mowrey.
With Lake Cumberland back to normal lake levels, visitation is again increasing in the region. The project provides an ample opportunity to improve the Lake Cumberland project area for the benefit of the Cumberland River and multiple project purposes, such as environmental protection, fish and wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities such as trout fishing.
“This region will also benefit as a result of the new Hatchery Creek,” said Hudson. “It will provide yet another draw to the area for people to enjoy an outdoor experience.”
The hatchery is a federal hatchery and is a part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It produces approximately 1,000,000 rainbow, brown and brook trout annually and in collaboration with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, fish are stocked into over 100 different public fishing waters throughout the state. After the construction, the new stream will be open to the public.
For more information on the project see http://fw.ky.gov/Fish/Pages/Stream-Team-Program.aspx.