Reconnaissance Evaluation

Posted by Spalding Hurst

November 18, 2008

RiverRestoration.org is pleased to inform you that the Rubble Dam on the Beech Fork has excellent opportunity for enhancement of both municipal water supply and whitewater recreation.

The existing rubble dam is nearly 100-years old and has deteriorated, reducing the pumping pool capacity and potential water supply. Furthermore, the angle of the structure has created erosion of the right bank that will soon be problematic for the pump station access road and the dam itself. The necessary improvements to the dam can easily include fish passage, boat passage and whitewater recreation. Bank improvements can be designed for the dual purposes of a community river park and for erosion control.

The site has a number of advantages that make the project not only feasible, but will also keep costs down. 1) There is good construction access on a two track road, although this may cross private property and easements will likely be required. 2) The seasonal low-flows of the channel will ease construction and reduce environmental impacts. 3) There is a significant amount of material onsite that can be reused in construction, further reducing costs. 4) There are no sensitive species or other significant environmental issues that would complicate permitting or deter public support.

We have initiated project coordination by meeting onsite with KY Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. We have discussed the project with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Nelson County Floodplain manager and the KY Division of Water. These regulators see no glaring objection to proceeding with this project and permitting should be straight forward. The City Engineers see the project as maintaining existing infrastructure and expanding the potential for future water supply. The Bardstown Chamber has already enjoyed national press (National Geographic Adventure, September 2008) generated by the project buzz. Furthermore you have a local Whitewater Park Committee that enthusiastically represents public support for the project.

We have completed a channel survey of the site and drafted hydraulic models. We have done preliminary hydrologic analyses and understand the constraints and functions of the site. We have reviewed floodplain scenarios and obtained hydraulic information from the US 31E Bridge project. We are prepared to move forward with the design of the project.

We previously submitted to you a July 28, 2008 proposal to take this project to construction bid. This letter represents the completion of Phase I of that proposal. We are requesting a notice to proceed with Phase II. The next steps are to perform engineering, obtain permits, develop alternatives and costs, and assist seeking construction funds. Our experience has been that funding is always competitive and those projects that show diligence by obtaining permits and presenting feasible design are awarded funds; while projects that remain conceptual are told to re-apply next year in the hopes that funding will be less competitive. Conceptually, you should be seeking funds between $350K and $500K; however, we request the opportunity to legitimize the grant application process.

This project is a winner for Bardstown; enhancing water supply infrastructure while creating a recreation amenity for the community. This can be accomplished without environmental impacts. Our whitewater parks experience three times the passive users over the number of actual boaters. The community will also come to the park to watch the birds, picnic, fish or swim. The actual whitewater aspect can generate tremendous press among the young athletic crowd. Today’s young professionals choose to live where their lifestyles are supported and places that offer recreation have been revived by this trend.

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