Nolin River Lake Master Plan Revision
The Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Louisville District, is revising the Nolin 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 Nolin River Lake.
About Nolin River Lake
Nolin River Lake was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938. The primary project purposes are flood risk reduction, water supply, fish and wildlife and recreation. Nolin River Lake is located in Edmonson, Grayson, and Hart counties in Kentucky. The lake varies from 2,890 acres in the winter to 5,795 acres in the summer. Construction of the operating tower and outlet works began in January 1959 and was completed in July 1961. Construction of the dam and spillway began in June 1961 and the reservoir was placed in complete operation on March 4th, 1963. The Corps, in cooperation with the
Commonwealth of Kentucky, manages the land and water for wildlife, fisheries, and recreation. The Corps manages the major recreation areas including approximately 350 campsites, and Kentucky manages a state park lease and a fish and wildlife management area license. The lake's staff administers a shoreline management program with over 1,500 shoreline use permits.
The lake offers boating, fishing, swimming, and other recreational activities to the general public. The project averages 1.49 million visitors annually, contributing $26.48 million dollars to the local economy. This represents a sizable component of the economy in the local community.
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.
The Shoreline Management Program is not a part of the Master Plan Revision process. Private exclusive use, such as: private docks, private paths, or roads will not be included in the master plan.
Why do we need a new Master Plan?
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 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.