View Full Version : Cumberland River

Byron Begley
01-29-2007, 03:05 PM
Here are some quotes from Art Lander's interview with a Mr. Kinman printed in the Lexington Herald this weekend (January 28, 2007). I can't tell if Mr. Kinman is with Ky Fish & Wildlife or TVA.

Question: How will water levels and fishing conditions in the tailwaters (Cmberland River) be affected by the lake's severe drawdown?

Answer: "There will be a normal fluctuation (in river level) based on rainfall," Kinman said. The danger to trout populations will come during the dry months of the year, at low flow. To ensure proper water temperature and flow, Kinman said a minimum discharge of 500 to 600 cubic feet per second of water is needed. "This will prevent (large expanses) of exposed gravel, which over time could be harmful to aquatic insect life."

He said the Army Corps of Engineers "is willing to work with us on this. They understand the dangers to trout populations in the tailwaters." And the oxygenation of water discharged into the tailwaters isn't a problem. "The coldest water from the bottom of the lake can be run through the sluice gates and oxygenated as it sprays up over the concrete apron at the base of the dam."

Question: Will water temperatures and dissolved oxygen levels be monitored?

Answer: "Yes, after July," Kinman said. August through October are the most critical months for a major fish kill.

01-29-2007, 03:15 PM

I personally feel there are systems to minimize the potentials for damage to fish already in the tailwaters with the monitoring and the remediation that can be done to increase the oxygen levels when needed. My biggest concern is the effect of the draw on the hatchery production. The concrete sluices that feed into the hatchery will be located above the waterline when the lake is drawn to the height of 680 feet. With no water feeding the concrete streamways into the hatchery, there will be no hatchings nor fingerling production. Since KDFW produces in excess of one million trout a year, of which approximately 900K are released in the state, the loss of production will be felt for a couple of years after the dam repairs begin.

Byron Begley
01-29-2007, 04:09 PM

Good point and I know little about how that hatchery get's it's water. That was addressed in the Lexington Herald article yesterday.

Question: Is the drawdown going to affect trout production at the Wolf Creek National Hatchery?

Answer: Again it depends on rainfall, and how much of the cold water stored in the lake is discharged to maintain elevation at 680. Water from the lake is used to rear the trout in concrete raceways. At lake elevation 680, one of the three intakes that feed water to the hatchery won't be operational. "We have concerns during the summer months," said James Gray, hatchery manager. The ideal temperature range (for trout) is 50 to 55 degrees. If water temperatures rise into the 60's that creates problems." Water from lower levels of the lake will most likely have less disolved oxygen and that could also influence the number of trout that can be raised. Gray said he can't predict to what extent production could be affected. "There are a lot of variables, but there's potential for a big impact."

If the above statements are correct maybe the production will decrease but not be totally stopped. Maybe federal funds could be obtained to make changes in the hatchery to keep up production. I don't know, I'm just hoping.


01-29-2007, 04:14 PM
Why not pump water from the river?

If the river temps are adequate the investment in pumps and necessary hosing will be worthwhile

01-29-2007, 04:39 PM
After the draw down, the water levels at the river will drop as well. Any pumping from the river will further deplete an already depleted oxygen level. The amount of pressure required to pull water back up hill to the hatchery sluices themselves will not make it feasible. The best source would be the lake itself with some type of chiller to reduce the water temperature coming into the hatchery, if that is possible.

01-29-2007, 05:17 PM
There is now way pumping will deplete O2 levels any more, they would remain the same

I donít know the elevation differences from the river to the dam vs what it may be from pumping from (I presume already available inlets). As the hose would have to go to a certain depth to get cool water the suction pressure required on pumps from the lake side of the river may be higher than the down stream side.

01-29-2007, 05:40 PM
There are currently no inlets to pump uphill from the river. Ideally, you would have to pull the water from the lake on other side of the dam. The concern is the water temperature that must be below 60 degrees for hatching and fingerling production. The river lays almost in a ravine below the hatchery and the dam and the available pools to pump from would actually be further downstream.

01-29-2007, 05:58 PM
A pool would not have to be very deep to pump from. However the volume of water, the rate it could be replenished vs the rate it would be pumped out would be of major importance

It was a thought I do not know the exact structure in place there to get water during normal operation nor any details about below the dam

01-30-2007, 08:11 PM
Assume worst case scenario. What should be the response of FF in the event of taking the fish as opposed to watching them suffocate? Will this mean wading will be easier/same/ harder than before? Will fishing overburden weakened population? Watson

01-31-2007, 09:39 AM
If it's like it was in the late 60's and early 70's during the previous dam repairs, Wolf Creek will be down dramatically. There will be pools to fish in but fishing will be spotty unless you are further down near Burkesville, etc. That was the reason for one of my previous post when it was suggested to pump water to the hatchery. There will not be an abundant source of water to pull from and when you reduce the amount of water in the individual pools, the water temperature will increase and oxygen decrease resulting in the suffocation of fish. Since this entire project is dependent on the Army Corps of Engineers, there is little being discussed from a Kentucky Department of FIsh and Wildlife perspective on what can be done to minimize the potential damage to fishing. We'll all just have to stay informed to see what the conservation groups can do to help.