The Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Louisville District, is revising the Green River Lake Master Plan. The Master Plan is intended to serve as a comprehensive land and recreational management plan with a life span of 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 Green River Lake.
About Green River Lake
Green River Lake was authorized under the Flood Control Act of 1938. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started construction in April 1964, and the lake was completed in June 1969. In addition to flood protection, recreation and natural resources management are authorized for this project. USACE, in cooperation with the Commonwealth of Kentucky, manages the land and water for wildlife, fisheries and recreation. Green River Lake provides immeasurable benefits to the local economy through flood protection and recreation. The 8,210 acre lake and surrounding area offers a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities, to include campgrounds, boat ramps, picnic shelters, beaches and a Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is a must see facility and is at the heart of Green River Lake. Located close to the dam, the Green River Lake Visitor Center was built in 1972 as the US Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District’s first Interpretive Center and was upgraded in 1978 to house the Corps Office staff. Today, the Visitor Center is a big attraction to tourists, locals and school groups due to its educational exhibits and helpful staff.
What is a Master Plan?
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 Corps water resource project. A Master Plan is a land use management document. It is focused on the operations and maintenance of an existing project and is no longer a “new project” document. Master Plans do not include water management operations and associated prime facilities (dam, gates, powerhouses, spillways, etc.). Of critical importance is the need to emphasize that a Master Plan is stewardship driven and must seek to balance recreational development and use with protection and conservation of natural and cultural resources.
Why do we need a new Master Plan?
The current Green River Lake Master Plan was completed in 1981, and has been used as a guide for recreational and environmental stewardship decisions. The Plan and the land classifications are in need of revision to address changes in regional land use, population, outdoor recreation trends and USACE management policy. 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. Public participation is critical to the successful revision of the Master Plan.
Public Involvement in Master Planning Process
Public participation will be a priority in the current Master Planning process. We will be seeking public input from key stakeholders and partners. In addition, open houses or public meetings will also be utilized to gather input from the general public. We really want to know what you want, what your vision is for the future management of recreation and environmental stewardship programs might be, etc.
Master Plan Classification
The master plan identifies classification (i.e. zoning) for the lakes. Public lands are allocated and classified into management categories which, based upon resources available and public needs, will provide for full utilization while protecting project resources. This zoning determines what types of development are permitted – for instance campgrounds are permitted in intensive use areas but not wildlife management zones. The original Master Plan used slightly different zoning terminology than the new plan will use and also included detailed construction diagrams for campgrounds, picnic areas etc., and this level of detail will not be outlined in the new plan.
We will again re-assess the project’s environmental attributes, public needs, etc. but will not be producing detailed site designs. Instead the focus will be on gathering public input and developing detailed natural resource inventories to guide in reassessing the future recreational needs and desired future conditions for natural resources.