Community meeting next month will address access to hazardous areas
by Bill Mardis Commonwealth Journal
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning a public meeting in Somerset next month for comments about restricting access in hazardous waters immediately upstream and downstream of Wolf Creek Dam and all Corps-owned locks and dams.
The meeting here is one of several public sessions to be held when plans are finalized. Dates have not been set.
The Corps says hazardous water areas above and below dams in the Nashville District pose a high level of risk for the public because of the hydroelectric and lock operations often present or begin with little or no notice. There are several instances where drow-nings or near drownings have occurred.
Freddie Bell, chief, Natural Resource Man-agement Branch of the Corps, pointed out that turbulent boils and powerful currents are capable of swamping, capsizing and even trapping boats and people in turbulent waters. Also during instances of emergency boater distress, project employees are not always immediately available to respond, Bell said in a news release.
The public will be informed prior to installation of signs, buoys and physical barriers based on the respective restricted area boundaries at Wolf Creek, Barkley, Laurel River and Martins Fork dams in Kentucky, and Cheatham, J. Percy Priest, Old Hickory, Cordell Hull, Center Hill, and Dale Hollow dams in Tennessee.
All forms of water access within the restricted areas will be prohibited including boating, swimming and wading. The Corps continues to promote bank fishing in all areas that were previously approved, including areas adjacent to some restricted areas.
Public information meetings are planned at Somerset and Paducah and in Nashville and Cookeville. Tenn.