Commonwealth Journal

Local News

March 2, 2007

Media will tour Wolf Creek Dam

Reporters are going to see for themselves the condition of Wolf Creek Dam and view firsthand the repair work now underway.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District, will hold a Media Day at Wolf Creek Dam and Powerhouse in Russell County on March 8. A reporter/photographer from the Commonwealth Journal will be present during the event.

Steven C. Foshee, public affairs official at the Corps’ Nashville Division office, said media representatives will have an opportunity to see Wolf Creek Dam inside and out, including the earthen embankment and powerhouse.

Because of limited space within some areas inside the dam, a lack of time, and safety and security issues, the tour of grouting procedures inside the dam will be coordinated as a media pool, Foshee said. The pool will be limited to reporters, photographers, and other journalists selected by their peers.

Foshee said officials will try to answer questions from the media representatives concerning the recent announcement to lower the level of Lake Cumberland to 680 feet above sea level to relieve pressure on the dam.

The lower level will be maintained for the remainder of this year, including the summer vacation season when the lake normally is some 40 feet higher. However, the Corps and tourism promoters point out that Lake Cumberland still is about 37,000 acres larger than nearby Dale Hollow Lake. Work is underway to extend as many boat ramps as possible to provide access to the diminished water level.

The lake level has been lower than it is now. On February 9, 1977 during the period when an initial diaphragm was being inserted in the dam, the water level was 677.85 feet above sea level. The level at 6 a.m. Thursday was 681.14, more than 3 feet higher than that day 30 years ago.

When the lake was so low in 1977 this area was in the grips of record-breaking cold. January and February 1977 were two of the coldest months in recorded weather history in Kentucky. Lake Cumberland was frozen a foot thick, bank to bank, and cars and trucks drove out on the ice.

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