Restricted areas surround locks, dams and power plants
On December 13, the Nashville Tennessee division of the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) finalized plans to close recreational access around ten dam facilities. ACOE considers the waters surrounding these facilities to be hazardous, citing three deaths and ten near miss or rescues since 2009. All forms of recreation would be prohibited in these areas, including boating and fishing.
These closures would affect tailwaters, both upstream and downstream of all ACOE owned facilities along the Cumberland River and its tributaries. Included would be Cheatham Dam, Old Hickory, Percy Priest and Center Hill fishing areas, which are popular with Tennessee’s almost one million anglers.
Enforcement of these plans and closures are set to take effect in April of 2013. Failure to comply with these closures could result in fines, court dates and collateral forfeiture citations. The areas to be closed will have signs, buoys and potentially physical barriers to enforce the no-fishing areas.
Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) wrote to the ACOE stressing his concerns for the closures and asking for the Corps to reconsider their decisions. Sen. Alexander also wrote that his understanding of the current recreational practices do not cause a high enough risk for closures. Mr. Bobby Wilson, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency chief of fisheries, also wrote the ACOE stressing that the economic impacts would be great and urged the Corp to consider alternative plans.
Public information meetings have been planned for January 2013 in Kentucky and Tennessee.
- Jan. 10, 2013 in Grand Rivers, Ky.: The first public information meeting is 6-8 p.m. (Central Standard Time), Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013 at the Badgett Playhouse Theater located at 1838 JH O’Bryan Ave., in Grand Rivers, Ky.
- Jan. 15, 2013 in Nashville, Tenn.: The second public information meeting is 6-8 p.m. (Central Standard Time), Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013 at the McGavock High School Auditorium located at 3150 McGavock Pike in Nashville, Tenn.
- Jan. 17, 2013 in Baxter, Tenn.: The third public information meeting is 6-8 p.m. (Central Standard Time), Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 at the Upperman High School Auditorium located at 6950 Nashville Highway in Baxter, Tenn.
- Jan. 24, 2013 in Somerset, Ky.: The fourth public information meeting is 6-8 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time), Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013 at the Somerset Center for Rural Development located at 2292 U.S. Highway 27, Suite 300, in Somerset, Ky.