NR 16-029 Corps unveils new system to warn visitors when spilling operations are underway at Nashville District projects

Published Oct. 25, 2016

Nashville, Tenn. (Oct. 24, 2016) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District has new systems in place below several Nashville District dams to warn visitors when hazardous waters exist due to spilling operations.

 The warning systems have been installed in the tailwater areas below eight dams in the Cumberland River System.  The eight dams are Barkley, Cheatham, Old Hickory, J. Percy Priest, Center Hill, Cordell Hull, Dale Hollow, and Wolf Creek.

 The warning systems will be operational beginning Monday Oct. 31.

 The system at each lake consists of a sign with a flashing light and flashing light(s) located on the spillway section of the structure.  The lights will flash during times of spilling operations.  Spilling operations include events where water is being released through the dam spillway gates at the eight dams and during water releases through the sluice gates at Center Hill, Dale Hollow, and Wolf Creek.

 “The implementation of these spillway warning systems is the final piece of the public safety plan that the Nashville District began putting in place after the passage of the Freedom to Fish Act by Congress in 2013,” said Andreas Patterson, Chief of Natural Resources Management Branch.

 Additional pieces of the safety plan include lights and signs at the discharge areas downstream of the hydropower plant and the navigation lock.  In addition, boaters are notified by signage that life jackets must be worn by all boat occupants while boating in these hazardous tailwater areas.

 “These warning systems do not prohibit boaters from entering the tailwater areas,” said Patterson. “Instead boaters are notified by signage, horns, sirens, and flashing lights that the areas are hazardous and that limited, event-oriented restrictions apply when operating watercraft in these areas.”

 Call the lake Resource Manager’s office for more information.

 Lake Barkley             (270) 362-4236

Center Hill Lake         (931) 858-3125

Cheatham Lake         (615) 792-5697

Cordell Hull Lake       (615) 735-1034

Dale Hollow Lake       (931) 243-3136

J. Percy Priest Lake  (615) 889-1975

Old Hickory Lake       (615) 822-4846

Lake Cumberland      (606) 679-6337

 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, visit the district’s website at, on Facebook at and, and on Twitter at

William Peoples
615-736-7161 (cell)

Release no. NR-16-29