Virtual public meetings held for Nolin, Barren River lakes’ master plan updates

Published Dec. 8, 2020

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District recently hosted virtual public meetings for Nolin River and Barren River lakes, as USACE is in the process of updating the master plans for both lakes.


Since public input is critical in the master plan update process, the Louisville District held the virtual workshops to provide the public and stakeholders with an opportunity to comment. 


The district also created a geographical public comment tool, available on the Louisville District website, for those who could not attend the workshops, which were held Nov. 17 and 18.


“A key component of the master plan is public involvement, both from stakeholders and the lake’s visitors,” said Glenn Myrick, Louisville District Master Plan project manager. “Public input is used to help guide the Project Delivery Team’s decision-making process in such matters as resource management and land classifications toward future use.”  


A Master Plan is intended to serve as a comprehensive land and recreational management plan with a life span of 15-25 years. It guides the stewardship of natural and cultural resources and the provision of outdoor recreation facilities and opportunities to ensure sustainability of federal land associated with the lakes.


“We’ve already gotten a lot of great comments and questions through the interactive lake maps, and we hope to get a lot more,” said Chris Boggs, Green River Lake Area manager. “People hit on a number of significant topics, including invasive species control, shoreline erosion and recreation development.”


A Master Plan is the document that conceptually establishes and guides the orderly development, administration, maintenance, preservation, enhancement and management of all natural, cultural and recreational resources of a USACE water resource project. Master Plans do not include water management operations and associated prime facilities (dam, gates, powerhouses, spillways, etc.).  In addition, lake shoreline management is not a part of the Master Plan revision process, nor is private exclusive use, such as private docks, private paths or roads.


“We want to hear from our stakeholders, visitors and neighbors,” said Deryck Rodgers Nolin River Lake project manager. “While we may not be able to implement each and every idea, knowing what folks want from the lake helps us with the big picture.”


The current Nolin River Lake Master Plan was completed in 1974 and has been used as a guide for recreational and environmental stewardship decisions. The plan needs revising to address changes in regional land use, population, outdoor recreation trends and USACE management policy.
“Our stakeholders showed a lot of interest and provided good feedback during the initial Master Plan meetings for both lakes,” Boggs said. “We plan to incorporate all the feasible comments we can into the draft plan.”


Similar to Nolin’s, Barren River Lake’s current Master Plan was completed in 1985. Key topics to be addressed in the revised Master Plan include revised land classifications, new natural and recreational resource management objectives, recreation facility needs and special topics such as invasive species management and threatened and endangered species habitat. 


“Our current Master Plans are pretty old, so we’re excited about updating them into documents, which can guide development at the lakes over the next 15-20 years,” Boggs said.


In addition to information collected during the public meetings, emails and social media, as of Dec. 8, the district has received 91 comments on the interactive lake map for Nolin River Lake and 61 comments for Barren River Lake, according to Myrick.


“Luckily for us, the response has been great,” Myrick said. “It’s obvious that the public has great concern for the future of these two lakes, and we plan to produce master plan updates that are representative of these concerns and useful for many years to come.”


Learn more about the Master Plan process and updates by visiting https://www.lrl.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Recreation/Lake-Master-Plan-Updates.