Barkley Dam

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

President Barack Obama signed the Freedom to Fish Act into law today, placing a two-year moratorium on restricting fishing access to the tailwaters of dams on the Cumberland River.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wanted to install signage and a line of buoys separating fishermen from what they characterize hazardous waters. Legislators like Sen. Mitch McConnell felt that the economic impact on tourism outweighed any potential dangers.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The U.S. Senate passed a bill Wednesday to stop the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from restricting fishing access around Corps dams, specifically along the Cumberland River.

Sen. Mitch McConnell sponsored the bill.

The Corps of Engineers wants to install signage and a line of buoys separating fishermen from what they characterize “hazardous waters.” Legislators like McConnell felt the economic impact it would have on tourism outweighed any potential dangers.

Kentucky’s first district congressman Ed Whitfield demands that the Army Corps of Engineers consider solutions other than permanently closing areas around Cumberland River dams to fishing. Corps officials announced in December they would restrict access 700 feet downstream and 400 feet upstream of the dams because the area is dangerous.

Kentucky’s First District Congressman Ed Whitfield says the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers made no promises to change their decision to restrict access near Cumberland River dams, but they were willing to continue discussions. Whitfield and several other lawmakers met with Army Corps of Engineers officials yesterday about the planned restricted access.

Kentucky's 1st District Congressman Ed Whitfield and several western Kentucky judge executives are taking their complaints about changes to Army Corps of Engineers regulations to the top of the chain of command tomorrow. The corps has reinterpreted an existing rule to prohibit recreational activity, including fishing, within several hundred feet on either side of the dams on the Cumberland river.

Kentucky First District Congressman Ed Whitfield says he’s against closing off waters close to Cumberland River dams to boaters and fisherman. Army Corp of Engineers officials say the restrictions would include closing off 400 feet of water upstream and 700 downstream from Barkley Dam.

Army Corps Sets Dates for Dam Restriction Meetings

Dec 28, 2012
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library

The Army Corps of Engineers will hear public comment on pending Cumberland River dam restrictions Jan. 10, in Grand Rivers. The Corps announced earlier this month it would restrict all water access above and below 10 dams, including the one on Lake Barkley because it's a dangerous area.

Lyon and Livingston County's judge-executives are seeking federal support to halt planned boating and swimming restrictions above and below Barkley Dam.

The Army Corps of Engineers announced they planned to put in 24-7 restrictions about 700 feet downstream and 400 feet upstream of the dam because the area poses a danger to the public.

lrn.usace.army.mil

The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers holds a public meeting in Paducah in January to talk about new restrictions above and below ten Cumberland River dams. The move sets up no access zones for boating, swimming or wading.

The proposed restriction for Lake Barkley Dam is 400 feet upstream and 700 feet downstream. The Corps previously had safety standards close to the dams, but Lieutenant Colonel James DeLapp says a recent review of Corps rules found the Cumberland River was not up to current standards.