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Caney Fork To Experience Higher Water Levels

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Caney Fork To Experience Higher Water Levels

Changes to the Center Hill Dam Water Control Manual will result in raised water levels in the Caney Fork River this summer and fall.

That according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Management Section Chief Anthony Rodino. He said the dam’s continuous minimal flow has been increased to 250 cubic feet per second during summer and fall months. Rodino said this will create a wider range of aquatic opportunities downstream.

“It’s going to appear to be a wider river, if you will,” Rodino said. “And so, that gives a lot more opportunity for kayakers to share the river with fishermen and have that minimum flow in there that’s really helping to sustain the wildlife.”

Rodino said the manual had not been updated since 1998. He said the corps has been examining how the area has changed since then and how better to balance the different demands and purposes of the lake.

“What does the public see as a demand for the resource, right?” Rodino said. “So we have a fixed amount of water that we have behind our dams and at Center Hill, there’s a certain amount of storage that we’re able to keep water in. And so, finding the best use of that water as we release it downstream is something that we’re striving to do.”

He said hydropower ramp rates have also been adjusted. He said in the first hour that hydropower is activated, zero to one unit will be administered, which is no different than what the public is used to. He said after the first hour, up to three units can now be discharged, which will lead to water levels rising far more quickly.

“We’re also going to be putting some signage up to help notify people that, ‘Hey, there’s going to be some changes,’” Rodino said. “You should expect to see those changes within the next 30 days or so, and then as we get toward June, you should start seeing those minimum flow releases really take hold.”

He said bugs need high water levels to thrive, fish need bugs for food, and people need fish for fishing, making higher water levels a positive across the board.


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