We recognize that questions regarding docks are of utmost interest to the Rough River Community. For more information on the dock adjustments process click here.
Q: How soon will a pool restriction be implemented?
The pool restriction will be effective this season, with a new summer pool target of 490, or 5 feet below regular summer pool.
Q: How long would a potential pool restriction last?
The pool restriction will likely need to extend through completion of the Rough River Dam Safety Modification Project. The construction period is expected to take approximately 6 years. At this time Phase II of the construction project is not funded so the completion date/year remains unknown. As soon as we have more information available, we will share it with the Rough River Community.
Q: How will a delayed fill schedule work?
Typically, the reservoir begins holding back water for the recreation season on March 15. The operation of the dam will be revised to begin the rise to the new summer pool target approximately two weeks later (April 1). This allows for more time to store flood events that occur in late March or early April while starting near winter pool elevation. This reduces the elevation of water on the dam for those possible flood events which reduces the load on the structure.
Q: How quickly will you drop the lake when you get high pools? Or how long will I be able to use my dock when we get high pools?
We are limited to reducing the lake elevation by two feet per day and will be actively releasing until we reach 490. Daily lake levels can be viewed here: https://www.lrl-wc.usace.army.mil/reports/lkreport.html. The 3-day Forecast can also be found at: https://www.lrl-wc.usace.army.mil/reports/ceorlresfct.txt labeled as RRLK2.
Q: How many times in previous years has the lake been below or at 490 due to droughts, etc.? What were the significant impacts during that time?
Rough River Lake remained between elevation 490 and 491 from May 2012 through August 2012 and never rose above 490 in 2001. This data has helped us better understand the impacts that are expected to occur at 490. In 2012 approximately 60% of docks were impacted and the North Fork Beach remained closed for the entire summer. The 2012 low water period was what prompted the construction of a second public beach at Laurel Branch Recreation Area.
Q: If the construction project started immediately would a pool restriction still be necessary?
Yes, based on recommendations from the Risk Assessment and consensus from technical experts within USACE, it is necessary to implement interim risk reduction measures, such as the pool restriction, immediately to help lower the project’s risk. The construction period is expected to take approximately 6 years. At this time Phase II of the construction project is not fully funded so the completion date/year remains unknown at this time. These interim risk reduction measures help to reduce risk while the long-term repairs can be completed.
Q: Does USACE Louisville District have the authority to implement a pool restriction?
Yes, the authority to implement a pool restriction at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir resides with the Louisville District Commander. All levels of USACE have agreed with the implementation of a pool restriction as an Interim Risk Reduction Measure at Rough River Lake. Risk assessment findings were presented to the USACE dam senior oversight group (DSOG). The DSOG plays an important role in assessing risk; they are responsible for reviewing all risk assessments and making recommendations to USACE leadership on the risk characterization and risk management actions for each dam. Each district is then responsible for implementing IRRM.
Q: Is the dam being monitored for changes?
Yes, in addition to routine monitoring as part of the dam safety program, which includes in-depth periodic inspections, there are over 100 piezometers on the dam that provide real-time readings every 15 minutes. That information is immediately relayed to our dam safety experts for review and analysis to ensure the dam is operating as intended.
Q: Will recreation be impacted?
We value our partnerships with local, state, and federal agencies and all of those individuals throughout the Rough River community. We will continue to work with them to lessen the impact of interim risk reduction measures where possible. Based on the proposed elevation of 490, Rough River Lake will still be able to provide multiple recreation benefits to visitors. Two public beaches will be impacted (North Fork and State Park) and some private docks. Marinas, USACE-managed boat ramps, most licensed out granted boat ramps and USACE managed day-use areas should be able to operate as normal, or with minimal changes, this recreation season.
Q: Will the boat ramps be open?
Yes, at an elevation of 490 feet, all but three of the 21 boat ramps around Rough River Lake will still accessible. All USACE-managed boat ramps will still be accessible. For a full listing of the Corps-operated boat ramps that are accessible at various lake levels visit the Rough River Lake Facebook Page or the Rough River Lake website at: https://www.lrl.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Recreation/Lakes/Rough-River-Lake/
Q: Will there be any beaches open?
Laurel Branch Beach will remain open to the public. Axtel Beach will be usable, but it is only available for campers. North Fork Beach will not be usable.
Q: Why has the construction project not started? We have been hearing about it for years.
Phase II of the project, which includes construction of a new outlet works and a full-depth cutoff wall across the dam, is awaiting additional funding. The remedial repairs are still needed to provide necessary risk reduction. The district regularly requests funding for Phase II construction through the normal budget process as well as through the Work Plan. The project is consistently rated as a very high priority by the district for inclusion in the budget.