Notice of Intent To Operate Wolf Creek Dam, Lake Cumberland, Russell County, KY at Below Normal Pool Levels Due to Emergency Conditions and Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement
Pursuant to 30 CFR 230.8, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is issuing this Notice to document emergency actions and set forth the steps to be taken in the future to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Wolf Creek Dam impounds Lake Cumberland in south central Kentucky. Several engineering studies have identified a high level of risk at Wolf Creek Dam. Accordingly, on January 19, 2007, the Corps made the decision to take emergency action and begin lowering the lake level to ease the stress on the dam's foundation until repairs can be effected. This action has been taken to reduce risk to the public's safety and welfare. The temporary target elevation will be 680 feet above mean sea level (msl) at Wolf Creek Dam. This elevation was selected because it provides the greatest reduction in stress to the dam without creating other public health and safety concerns. This operation will be in effect until repair of the dam or new information allows the pool elevation to be raised. This pool elevation may also drop if worsening conditions create the need for even further lowering of the pool. The Corps believes that the need for action regarding the Wolf Creek Dam is so urgent and compelling that there is no time to follow the usual NEPA procedures before the Corps makes decisions and begins to implement them. The Corps is, therefore, invoking its authority ``Emergency Actions'' under 33 CFR 230.8 and declaring an emergency, making decisions, and taking necessary actions accordingly. The Corps has consulted the President's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regarding alternative arrangements under NEPA pursuant to 40 CFR 1506.11. This notice serves to initiate the NEPA process. The Corps plans to prepare and circulate an EIS which serves to cover any actions it deems necessary during the repair of the dam's foundation.