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 measures to improve dissolved oxygen (DO) levels in hydropower discharges from Wolf Creek Dam, Lake Cumberland in Russell County, Kentucky. The purpose of the EA is to evaluate potential effects of the proposed project and its alternatives.
A Scoping Letter was mailed on Feb. 2, 2021, to solicit comments from the Public, various State and Federal Agencies, and other stakeholders. Comments were taken into consideration and assisted in the evaluation of the proposed action.
The EA evaluates the No Action Alternative and 3 other action alternatives. The Proposed Action Alternative (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: Continuation of the existing operations which involve a combination of hub baffles, sluice and orifice gate releases to improve tailwater DO levels.
- Proposed Action Alternative – Installation of Liquid Oxygen Diffusers: A diffuser hose segment consists of two separate lines. One line is weighted to suspend the oxygen feeder line near the lake bottom. Oxygen is released as fine bubbles by the porous hose second line located just above the weighted line .
- Surface Pumps - surface water pumps in the forebay, above the dam, that force oxygenated, surface water to lower depths to mix with anoxic water.
- Blowers - Blowers installed in the powerhouse to force pressurized air through piping, into the water flow just below the turbines
The EA evaluates environmental effects of the PAA and the no action alternative under the following categories: Recreation and Scenic Resources; Water Quality and Aquatic Resources; Flood Risk Management; Hydropower; Climate and Physiology; 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 June 6, 2022, to ensure consideration in the final DPR/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.
Craig D. Carrington
Chief, Project Planning Branch