Commonwealth Journal

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February 4, 2014

Corps says there are no issues with safety of Wolf Creek Dam

Jamestown —

“There is no known issue with (Wolf Creek) dam. There is not a shred of evidence anything is wrong with the dam,” emphasized Don B. Getty, manager of the $594 million rehabilitation of the mile-long structure that impounds Lake Cumberland.
Getty made the statement Tuesday in response to rumors that publicized information about duskytail darters preventing the lake from resuming normal operation this summer is really a ploy to take attention from possible problems at Wolf Creek Dam. Tourism interest in the Lake Cumberland area worry because the lake level continues to fall and water is being released through the dam at a rate of more than 21,000 cubic feet a second.
The darter is to blame, Corps officials insist. Taking, harming, capturing or killing a single minnow is enough to stop the Corps from allowing the lake to return to normal levels,” Getty told a Commonwealth Journal reporter. “It’s all about the environmental issue ... that’s the only thing,” Getty assured. 
The Corps announced last week that Lake Cumberland will be allowed to rise this coming summer to 705 feet above sea level, the same as last summer. Normal operation with sufficient rainfall would allow the lake to reach 723 feet at the tree line during the vacation season. 
“After seven years and over a half billion dollars put into the dam that is supposedly fixed under the supervision of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, we now get delayed by a minnow!” wrote David Keller of Somerset in a Letter to the Editor. “To me this is very suspicious as to the true status of the dam,” he observed.
J.D. Hamilton, owner-operator of Lee’s Ford Marina Resort, says a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service five-year study concluded no foreseeable threats exist that would likely threaten survival of the duskytail darter. Hamilton quoted the report as saying 90 percent of duskytail darters found in the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River are between Station Camp Creek and Blue Heron, a long way from Lake Cumberland.

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