The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District has prepared a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) and unsigned Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended, for proposed work at Wolf Creek Dam, Lake Cumberland in Russell County, Kentucky. The purpose of the EA is to evaluate potential effects of the proposed replacement of the spillway tainter gates and implementation of a risk reduction measure.
The EA evaluates both the No Action Alternative and the Proposed Action Alternative (PAA). The PAA is the tentatively selected plan and appears to not cause significant adverse effects on the quality of the human environment; therefore, preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement would not be required. The considered alternatives are as follows:
• No Action Alternative: Repair/Replace spillway gates as they fail within the constraints of normal operation and maintenance timing and budget.
• Proposed Action Alternative – Replace Spillway Gates: Replace all 10 spillway gates at Wolf Creek Dam. Construction would likely occur at the anticipated rate of up to two gates per year. It would be anticipated that up to three gates would be inoperable year-round with only one gate bay open at a time and only during the gate replacement window of June to November. The following would be included in replacing the gates:
1. Replace lifting machinery to include removing existing lifting machinery and replacing machinery base with equipment layout like that of the existing equipment, replacing chain lifting system with rope hoist system, and modifying electric layout to accommodate new equipment.
2. Use of an existing parking lot on the right descending bank near the dam (overflow lot at Halcomb’s Landing) for a construction laydown/staging area and use of the older launch ramp. The overflow lot and auxiliary launching ramp would be unavailable to the public Monday through Thursday from approximately January 2024 until the completion of the project. It would also be available to the public Friday through Sunday and for major summer holidays such as Independence Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, and Labor Day. The contractor would not have access to the main paved parking lot, main entrance, or main launching ramp. Areas of water closest to the dam would also be marked for contractor water activities such as launching and mooring of barges, boats, and other equipment. The contractor would not be able to use the water area closest to the launching ramp on weekends when the auxiliary launching ramp would be open to the public.
3. Install temporary work platforms on top of dam, associated work includes drilling anchor holes and epoxying anchors into concrete.
4. Implement lead abatement measures related to the partial removal of existing gate components.
5. Use of a floating plant (work barge) with crane.
6. Install trunnion access ladders to downstream side of piers to include cutting a hole in the downstream face of the piers, mount ladder on downstream face, and install safety rails on downstream landing near trunnions.
7. Restrict traffic on Highway 127 to one lane for the duration of construction and occasional full closure for less than 8 hours, not on the weekends.
8. Follow the Optimum Curve within the Southeastern Power Administration (SEPA) Power Marketing Band.
The EA evaluates environmental effects of the PAA and the No Action Alternative under the following categories: Recreation, Scenic Resources, and Noise; Water Quality and Aquatic Resources; Flood Risk Management; Climate and Physiography; Terrestrial Resources; Federally Listed Species; Cultural Resources; Hazardous; Toxic; and Radioactive Waste; Health and Safety; Socioeconomics; and Air Quality.
This letter serves as a Notice of Availability for reviewing the draft EA and unsigned FONSI. The draft EA is prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. §§ 4321-4370h), Council on Environmental Quality Regulations (40 C.F.R. §§ 1500-1508), and the Corps' implementing regulation, ER 200-2-2, 1988 (33 C.F.R. § 230), Policies and Procedures for Implementing NEPA. Electronic copies of the documents can be found at: https://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Media/Public-Notices/Category/10561/project-planning-branch/.
We request comments be sent by email to CorpsLRNPlanningPublicCom@usace.army.mil no later than thirty calendar days from the date of this letter to ensure consideration in the final EA. If you are unable to access an email account, you may send written comments to the address listed on the letterhead, ATTN: CELRN-PMP (Chip Hall). Your participation is greatly appreciated. For additional information regarding the proposed project, please contact Chip Hall at 615-736-7666.