Corps of Engineers Undeterred in Plan to Restrict Tailwater Access

The Corps of Engineers held the first of four scheduled public meetings last night (Thursday, 1/10) in Grand Rivers, Ky., to explain its plan to restrict tailwater boating access at 10 dams (four in Kentucky; six in Tennessee) along the Cumberland River system.

IMG_6055Nashville District commander Lt. Col. James DeLapp (pictured), architect of the plan that, if implemented, would result in physical barriers blocking boat access to the fishing rich water below Barkley, Center Hill, Cheatham, Cordell Hull, Dale Hollow, J. Percy Priest, Laurel River, Martins Fork, Old Hickory and Wolf Creek dams, was met by a crowd of about 300.

None agreed with what DeLapp had to say, which was that the Corps was making the restrictive changes so they would be in full compliance with current regulations, which have been on the books since 1996. Other reasons were cited, of course, including the need for additional safety for boaters and security against terrorist types. But the issue seemed to hinge on the regulation. Follow the link below to read it.

Thirty five people spoke, ranging from recreation and commercial fishermen to local business leaders and politicians, including Kentucky 1st District congressman Ed Whitfield.

Whitfield was not impressed with the Corps’ stance.

“I’m personally disappointed because from the presentation it looks like the decision has already been made,” the congressman said to rousing applause. Whitfield later said he intended to work to prevent the Corps from making the restrictive changes.

Kentucky director of fisheries Ron Brooks said his agency is also against the plan. He came hoping to hear a compromise which wasn’t forthcoming.

“We have to disagree with the Corps on their stance on this,” said Brooks.

DeLapp, who had the first and last word, was apparently unmoved. “The Corps intends to follow the regulations. We’re going to proceed with enforcing the regulations as they are currently written.”

I’ll have a full report in Sunday’s Courier-Journal