Politicians and Anglers are teaming up to stop the U-S Army Corps of Engineers from installing barriers next to its dams on the Cumberland River which will keep boats from accessing the dam’s tail waters. Senators Mitch McConnell, Lamar Alexander and Rand Paul, and Congressman Ed Whitfield took part in a “Freedom to Fish Rally” this weekend at Barkley Dam to protest to Corps’ plan.
U.S. Senators from Kentucky and Tennessee along with Congressman Ed Whitfield are holding a “Freedom To Fish” rally this weekend to gain support for a bill that prevents the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers from imposing restriction on fishing near Corp dams on the Cumberland River.
Kentucky First District Congressman Ed Whitfield (R) 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.
Congressman Whitfield says the enforcement changes are unnecessary. He says,
“There have been like three deaths since ’96 and there’s been one death at Barkley. The goal is no deaths. But there has not been any number of deaths or increase in dangerous activity or deaths to justify changing this management plan.”
The Corps of Engineers says the access restrictions are already part of their river management plan, but have not been enforced. Whitfield says he plans to meet with the head of the Corps early next month to request that they don't change the management plan and allow boaters to fish near the dams.