JAMESTOWN, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2015) -- Hatchery Creek, a short stream located behind the Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery, downstream of Wolf Creek Dam and Lake Cumberland in Russell County is currently closed for the final phase of construction.
Doug DeLong, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Project Delivery Section project manager, said, “The development of this project has been a true partnership between the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Corps of Engineers. The new stream is replacing an existing, short, degraded stream that mainly carries the discharge from the USFWS Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery into the Cumberland River."
The new Hatchery Creek will emulate a natural trout stream with a variety of different types of native rock gravel, runs, pools, shoals and wetlands that will help promote reproduction. It will provide about one mile of restored stream to the public for fishing. The rerouted stream will have natural vegetation plantings and native rock to help stabilize the banks and keep dirt from washing into the river.
“This is a great improvement project that will connect the upper section with the new channel under construction and will make a lot of happy fishermen when it is complete,” said Kevin Rexroat, fish and wildlife management foreman with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
According to Rexroat, Hatchery Creek is nearly mile-and-a-quarter-long that is undergoing a renovation and redesign which will provide one of the best stream trout fishing experiences in Kentucky when it opens in the spring of 2016. The project also has a primary purpose of reducing or eliminating the amount of sediment flowing into the Cumberland River from the eroded banks of the former streambed.
DeLong added that the project will have added benefits downstream below the dam.
“Not only will the new stream significantly reduce the sediment load to the Cumberland River, it will create a new cold water ecosystem that will sustain new aquatic resources and will establish new recreational opportunities for trout propagation and fishing in a small stream environment,” said DeLong.
Financing and construction for the project was through the "in Lieu" fee program administered by the KDFWR. However, the Corps provided much of the excavation for the new channel because of a need to obtain soil to revegetate the Wolf Creek Dam Safety Project's disposal area.
“The surrounding area is getting rebuilt significantly to match up with the new section of the creek,” said Rexroat. “It will include new riffles and access points as well as reclaiming the areas currently under construction.”
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 new Hatchery Creek.
Rexroat said construction will more than triple the current length of the stream, replace degraded, bare banks with gradual sloping contours and also re-establish and enhance 5.5 acres of forested and emergent wetlands on Lake Cumberland project lands.
"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 Rexroat.
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 Rexroat. “It will provide some great opportunities to allow people to enjoy a fun outdoor fishing 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.
It is expected the new Hatchery Creek stream renovation project will improve planned sporting activities and will be popular with the public. A completion ceremony onsite is tentatively scheduled for late April or early May 2016.
For more information on the Hatchery Creek project see http://fw.ky.gov/Fish/Pages/Stream-Team-Program.aspx.
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