Post by Brian Roebuck on Mar 20, 2007 18:09:28 GMT -5
I suspect that since this was an unexpected event (from the viewpoint of cave environmentalists and cavers etc) there was no time to get prepared for what might happen to the cave animals when the water drained out. Apparently the dam has been repaired in the past with similar lake levels and effects to the caves. I suspect the cave animals survived the event then and hopefully will survive this one. Seven years is a long time to wait for your home to be returned to normal - even for a cave adapted crayfish! I am glad scientists are trying to help these animals but I am not so sure they will be successful. Where one species may perish another may make gains. I sure hope a colony of Indiana bats doesn't take up residence and have to be forced out when the water comes back up as it surely will. Even this sort of federally protected species can't trump the money making machines. There will be too much political pressure by angry lakefront landowners to not bring the water back up no matter what wildlife may be affected. Let's all hope for the best here. That's about all we can hope for.
Is it my imagination or does Kentucky have a lot of cave related serious issues (WC Dam, Transpark, Mammoth, etc) lately?
Post by Tony Anders on Mar 21, 2007 6:12:37 GMT -5
WOLF CREEK DAM CRISIS: THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
Some worry lower lake levels could harm ecosystem By the Associated Press
BURNSIDE, Ky. â€” — Dropping the water level in Lake Cumberland doesn’t just affect creatures in the water or on the ground.
The action can affect an immense ecosystem below ground.
Cavers and environmentalists who spend their weekends crawling, climbing and sliding through the Sloans Valley Cave System in Pulaski County, have begun to notice the effects.
“Now that the Cumberlands is draining, it affects the whole ecosystem of the entire river,” Mary Zriny, an environmentalist who navigated through a part of the cave system recently, told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “So many things are dying.”
Several organisms, including bats, salamanders and fish and crayfish, live in the 26-mile-long cave system, which stays a constant 56 degrees throughout the year. Some environmentalists are worried about the future of all the organisms living in the cave because the water levels will continually decrease for the next seven years, the length of the project to repair Wolf Creek Dam.
Zriny joined with others to find some albino crayfish, 3-inch-long organisms that until recently lived in dense pools of water in the caves. The crayfish are getting stranded and dying as a result of the dried pools of water. Led by Robin Cooper, a University of Kentucky associate professor of biology, a group spent several hours gathering about 50 crayfish recently. The creatures will be kept in UK laboratories.
Officials with the Army Corps of Engineers plan to keep the surface of the lake at 680 feet above sea level this year to lower the risk of a breach in the dam while repairs are made. The normal summer level is 723 feet above sea level. That means the surface of the lake will cover about 38,000 acres this summer instead of the usual 50,000.
“We just feel a personal responsibility,” said Hilary Lambert of the Kentucky Water Alliance and a member of the Bluegrass Grotto, a local caving group. “Even though it’s not something we have to do, a whole bunch of people are upset about it. These crayfish live to be 40 or 50 years old; they’re people.”
Lambert said that a few weeks ago cavers noticed there was an abnormally high number of dead crayfish. She notified Cooper, and he decided to rescue as many as he could.
When Cooper was in the cave four months ago, the water levels were much higher, and the crayfish were thriving. Cooper and his team were initially aiming to move the crayfish into other pools of water deeper into the cave system, but they couldn’t find pools that could sustain the creatures.
When the water levels were higher, the caves were teeming with crayfish, said Sonya Bierbower, a UK graduate student in biology.
“Typically there will be hundreds” of crayfish, said Sonya Bierbower, a UK graduate student in biology. These crayfish can survive out of water only for up to an hour, she said.
“When the dam was put in, it changed the whole environment and animals have tried to readjust since then,” said Zriny. “This is an opportunity to save something.”
I wonder if they plan to remove more crayfish. I applaud the efforts, just wondering if they plan to keep the crayfish at UK for seven years and then release them back in the cave as water levels rise again?
It's possible. After an ammonium nitrate spill in a spring, cavefish and cave crayfish were kept for many years at the St. Louis zoo before returning them to the spring. I know a researcher who kept some southern cavefish alive in a lab for this long. The question I have is: if they successfully fix the dam, will the water come back into Sloans at the previous level? Cave crayfish are extremely long lived (according to their exoskeletons. Seven years aren't a big deal.
Hindsight being 20/20 and all that, it seems like we would have been better off to have protected the original ecosystem of the cave when the dam was first built. Maybe we didn't have the knowledge and technology available then.
Considering that the dam was started the year the NSS was founded, and closed when it was about 10 years old, it's likely that this was the furthest from anyone's mind. Obviously they didn't have the technology to even build a decent dam on karst back then.
Some many trillion posts ago, I brought up the Meramec Dam. I'm sure the lessons of the Wolf Creek dam partially led to the deauthorization of Meramec before it was built.
Post by Tony Anders on Mar 24, 2007 9:21:13 GMT -5
Well it looks like they are going to make sure the 'Ohio Navy' and others can get on to the lowered lake this summer. I figured they would , due to the fact there is way to much money to be lost if the lake is closed or the inaccessible for the boating
WASHINGTON, DC.-U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) announced today that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' is releasing $2.25 million for a number of mitigation measures to ease the impact of reduced water levels at Lake Cumberland.
These measures include extension of marina launching ramps, protection and enhancement of recreation and parking facilities, and other improvements that will retrofit existing structures to accommodate the reduction of Lake Cumberland to 680 feet.
"This funding is an important step in the right direction," said Rep. Rogers. "The Lake Cumberland community is open for business, and I am pleased the Corps is working with us to provide the resources to help ensure that is the case.
Marina ramps scheduled for extension include Cumberland Point, Fall Creek, Waitsboro, Lee's Ford, Conley Bottom, Alligator 2, Jamestown, Girdler Hill Dock, Burnside Island State Park and LC State Park.
Rogers sought this funding as part of an ongoing approach of working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to repair Wolf Creek Dam and enable Lake Cumberland to continue to provide economic and environmental benefits to the area.
Post by Sharon Faulkner on Jul 24, 2007 9:07:10 GMT -5
An update on the Wolf Creek Dam issue. Not sure how much faith I have in the method of using grout to fill holes in karst terrain, but I'm not an engineer, so maybe this is the best option. ---------------------------------------------------
Astronomical amounts of concrete have been used at dam By Bill Mardis July 20, 2007
An official of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said astronomical amounts of grout (liquid concrete) are being pumped into leaky Wolf Creek Dam.
Donny Davidson, project engineer, said this week that some 60,000 gallons of grout have been forced into the dam since December. Advanced Construction Techniques, a Canadian firm, is general contractor for the grouting work.
“It (concrete) is going somewhere,” Davidson commented, explaining that engineers can tell grout is filling cavities in the dam.
The concrete is being pumped into the dam under pressure in an attempt to reduce seepage. Uncontrolled leaks through the structure have resulted in an outside panel of experts labeling the dam in high risk of failure.
The level of Lake Cumberland has been lowered more than 40 feet to ease pressure on the unstable dam. Effects of the grouting will be assessed this fall and a determination will be made about the lake level in 2008.
Municipalities and other water users along the lake have been directed to lower intake systems to 650 feet above sea level in case the lake has to be dropped lower. The level currently is at 680 feet.
Post by Brian Roebuck on Jul 26, 2007 6:29:06 GMT -5
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know the grout is filling up voids in either rock or mud under the dam. Since this is Karst it could be either or both. We all have seen many clay or mud plugged passages undergound. Imagine the pressure of hundreds of feet of water depth pushing those plugs out after many years. And they wonder why dams in the area always leak!
Brian Roebuck NSS 34626 RL (FE) ----- Caving is far too serious to be taken seriously.
Post by Sharon Faulkner on Jul 28, 2007 10:57:59 GMT -5
Corps of Engineers to hold Lake Cumberland at lower level July 27, 2007
Lake Cumberland will maintain a lower water level while repairs continue at the dam that impounds the massive reservoir, the Army Corps of Engineers said Friday.
Officials announced earlier this year that the water level would be dropped 40 feet from its typical summertime mark while work is done at Wolf Creek Dam in Russell County. The Corps has said the dam is leaking and is in urgent need of repair.
The lower water level "has reduced hydrostatic pressure on the dam and decreased seepage, therefore lowering the risks to people and property," the Corps of Engineers in Nashville, Tenn., said in a statement Friday....
Part of the $309 million repair project includes grouting, or pouring runny cement into underground caverns to plug leaks. That portion of the project should be completed by September, the corps said Friday.
The corps said it made the lake level announcement early to give business owners along the lake time to prepare for next year's recreation season. The lake attracts millions of annual visitors.
Maintaining the lower level of 680 feet has decreased the dam's ability to generate hydropower, and some communities that draw water from the Cumberland River have been forced to move water intake pipes.
Corps officials said they are working on criteria to make future determinations on the water level.
One Of U.S.' Largest Dams A Ticking Time Bomb kutv.com
"The devil is in the design. Wolf Creek Dam was built on porous limestone. Over time, water has seeped into cracks in the rock, eroding a Swiss cheese of holes and caves. A sinkhole could cause this entire earthen embankment to collapse.
The first town downstream is Burkesville, Ky. The state has handed out warning radios to all 1,700 residents.
"Have they told you how much time you'd have to get out if this thing went off?” asks Cordes.
"I've heard 4 to 6 hours," a restaurant manager said.
There are currently 3,500 dams in the United States listed as unsafe and the list is growing faster than the rate of repair. They may not all be as big as Wolf Creek Dam, but when they fail, the results can be catastrophic. "
Post by Sharon Faulkner on Oct 21, 2007 11:44:22 GMT -5
Call going out to build wall for dam By BILL MARDIS, Editor Emeritus October 17, 2007 10:17 pm
October 29 is the tentative date for placing advertisements for a diaphragm wall through the earthen section of Wolf Creek Dam to stop seepage that is undermining the integrity of the mile-long structure.
David Hendrix, project manager at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Nashville District Office, said the advertising documents are currently under review by Corps hierarchy. Seven firms, mostly international, have expressed interest in inserting the wall into the dam, Hendrix said.
The new diaphragm wall will be upstream from a similar wall put in the dam during the 1970s. The new wall will be longer and deeper than the original wall installed after more serious leaks were discovered in the late 1960s. An Italian firm, ISO Corporation, inserted the original diaphragm wall.
Hendrix said specifications of the new wall will have a minimum requirement of at least two feet thick. Its depth in the bedrock will range to more than 100 feet, depending on the formation of the rock.
“We’re taking the wall down to the Catheys Formation,” said Hendrix. He explained that this is more competent limestone rock that the Leipers Formation, a karst limestone region beneath the dam that is marked by sinkholes and interspersed with abrupt ridges, irregular, bulging rocks, caverns and underground streams. Seepage through this karst causes the dam to develop serious leaks.
Post by Brad Tipton on Nov 7, 2007 16:57:23 GMT -5
Anybody seen the movie "Evan Almighty" where he builds the ark but doesn't know why? Everyone in town makes fun of him then the dam breaks above the town. The name of the town was Huntsville no less........I wonder where they got the idea for the movie?
If I lived in Nashville I might think about moving to high ground.
Lowering of Lake Cumberland threatens another tourist season Tennessean
" For more than a year, contractors have been drilling holes into rocks under the dam and pumping in liquid cement — more than 700,000 gallons so far.
As contractors have drilled holes, they've found more spaces underground that need to be filled, said Allison Jarrett, a spokeswoman for the Corps of Engineers. But the work has also made the risk of a breach less likely, officials said. "
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Rapid settling in an area of Wolf Creek Dam has caused the Army Corps of Engineers to temporarily halt emergency repairs.
The Courier-Journal in Louisville reported Friday emergency repairs on the dam that impounds Lake Cumberland have been stopped while officials investigate the settling where an earthen portion of the dam meets a concrete section that includes the power house.
Lake Cumberland Level Remains At 680 Posted by Wildlife Resources Agency
NASHVILLE, TENN., June 24, 2008 – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports that as the grouting program at Wolf Creek Dam progresses, the Corps is in the final stages of evaluating a major contract for the installation of a concrete barrier wall. Meanwhile, visitation at Lake Cumberland continues to rise as the summer recreation season gets underway.
As work progresses, the Corps continues to take all appropriate measures to decrease risk, particularly at critical structural locations, by duly evaluating advanced instrumentation and considering all relevant information to ensure the dam is fully stabilized. “In the area adjacent to the concrete dam, we are reevaluating our grouting program. This is the area with the most caves and voids in the foundation and we are finding that closing the grout line with our current grout processes is not possible. Recent observations of changes on the embankment crest have led us to complete a detailed review of all available data and install additional instrumentation in the area of the embankment adjacent to the concrete structure. While this is a concern, it does not impose additional risk to the project.