Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Letter to the Editor - Barkley Dam: It's Worth Fighting For

Wade WhiteLYON COUNTY, Ky. (1/2/2013) - As most of you may already know, the Corps of Engineers Nashville District Commander James DeLapp has ordered to proceed with barricading the tailwaters of Barkley Dam and nine other dams on the Cumberland River. In doing so, I believe he is embarking on a disastrous move that will harm our tourism industry and local fishing industry and destroy a decades-old fishing heritage thousands enjoy. I won’t stand by and watch this happen – too much is at stake.

Livingston County Judge Executive Chris Lasher has joined the fight with us, and Congressman Ed Whitfield is leading the charge on the federal level. We all had a conference call with James DeLapp on Dec. 20. We spoke for 55 minutes but were not successful at changing Commander DeLapp’s mind on proceeding with the barricades. Therefore, it’s imperative that we reach those in Washington, DC who can stop this before it happens.

One of the topics we discussed was his plan to spend over $2 million on these barricades. Locally, there may be approximately $350,000 that will come out of current projects. We asked which projects would lose funding—he stated he did not know, and it was not his responsibility to know. We are hearing rumors (but can’t confirm) possibly a campground may close, and other facilities may not open or lose the funding in an already tight and depleted budget. This is an irresponsible move to spend more money when it’s not available and hurt our local economy by doing so.

Commander DeLapp claims he must proceed with a permanent barricade to keep boaters and fishermen out because of a regulation from 1996. The second reason he gives is due to the possibility of accidental drowning below the dam. So, I have investigated both of these claims, and here is what I found.

1. The Corps of Engineers have their own management plans that clearly state a permanent barricade is not practical. Their own plan also claims a barricade would not hold up under the debris flowing through the dam. The Corp’s plans state how important it is to keep this area open to fishermen and boaters. Adding more buoys and horns and signage to warn and educate the people is more efficient and meets all regulations from 1996. Why is Commander DeLapp refusing to go by the Corp’s plans, which are common sense approaches and will satisfy everyone?

2. The Corps posted on their website that 881 have died on their waters since 1970. Over the past 42 years, 14 have died below their 10 dams. Commander DeLapp will, despite establishing a permanent barricade, allow fishing from the bank. It’s our understanding that, possibly, more than half of the 14 drowned from bank fishing below the 10 dams as opposed to fishing from boats. So, over the past 42 years, there may have been seven drowned from boats at 10 dams. Another important issue is what will happen if someone falls into the water, and our Rescue Squad is not able to get a boat in to rescue them because of the barricades? Commander DeLapp claimed they were still studying that issue.

Unfortunately, we do not know the exact number of drowning victims from the bank or by boat, as the Corps refuses to release that information. I asked Commander DeLapp that question, and he said he didn’t know the number. I sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the Nashville Corps to get the drowning reports, which are only 3 pages long for the 14 drowning victims. They wrote back and advised it would cost our county $3,492.00 to get those documents. The Corps stated it would require 78 man hours and 400 copied pages to give us the (42 page) documents we wanted. This is preposterous. In my opinion, the information on how 14 drowned is an important piece of information, especially if you plan to barricade the best fishery around. Is the Corps claiming they have not researched bank drowning versus boating drowning accidents below the dams? If they had, they would have this information readily available.

Last week, we mailed a 40-page brief outlining other common sense option and why a barricade will not work to General Bostick, Chief of Engineers in Washington, DC. We have sent copies to the legislators that may help us. We have another conference call planned with Congressman Whitfield next week. We have received support statements from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, Pennyrile Area Development District, and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, all of which are in support of stopping the barricades. We are glad to have these agencies supporting our cause and fighting along with us. We started an online petition and paper petition, and we have more than 500 signatures and countless calls of support so far.

We are hearing from people all over Kentucky and the surrounding states who visit these waters yearly; but, most importantly, we have neighbors who make their living as commercial fishermen catching fish and bait in these waters. We have businesses that depend upon the tourists who drive long distances to fish below the dam. I grew up fishing here with my grandfather, and now I take my kids and fully plan to take my grandkids one day. We have the freedom to stand up and be heard when government oversteps its bounds. If we stand by and allow this to happen, it will hurt our economy, and we will lose another part of our freedom to fish and boat in these waters. I am fighting back daily and ask for your help.

Two things that you can do right now:

1. Contact U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., either by phone or email. He is very important to our cause to stop this barricade. Ask him to support us in stopping the barricade, and tell him why you oppose the barricade. His contact information is: email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (202) 225-4601.

2. Please make plans to show up at the Corps of Engineers public meeting about these barricades and be heard. The meeting will be at the Badgett Playhouse Theater (across from Patti’s restaurant) in Grand Rivers on January 10, 2013, from 6-8:00 p.m. Bring as many with you as possible, and dress warm, as we may fill up the theater!

Thank you for all you are doing. If you need more information on how you can help or a link to the online petition, contact me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by phone at (270) 388-7311.

Wade White
Lyon County Judge Executive

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

In Other News...

HPD Recommends Safety Tips for Halloween Trick or Treating

HENDERSON, Ky. (10/20/14) — The Henderson Police Department is recommending that children go Trick or Treating Friday,… Read More

Fall Frolic at Nature Station

GOLDEN POND, Ky. (10/20/14) — Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area invites the public to celebrate the… Read More
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week

October 17, 2014 11666

UK Women's Soccer Welcomes Ole Miss, No. 5/4…

in General Sports For All Sites by UK Athletics
October 20, 2014 4948

Uncle Lee's in Greenville is Closing Its Doors…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by www.unclelees.com
October 15, 2014 3733

Family Business, Graphics Pros to Open Friday

in Top News For All Sites by Shawn Freels
October 15, 2014 3570

Chamber Meeting and More Announced

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Dorothy Walker
October 17, 2014 3488

Single Vehicle Collision Results in One Injury

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper S. C. Recke
October 19, 2014 3392

Kentucky Energy Department Releases Virtual Solar…

in General News For All Sites by Dick Brown
October 15, 2014 3387

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 15, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 15, 2014 2909

Woman Arrested for Domestic Dispute in the Street

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 16, 2014 2709

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 16, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 17, 2014 2683

Woman Arrested at Taco Bell for DUI

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department

Stories Trending Today

October 20, 2014 4948

Uncle Lee's in Greenville is Closing Its Doors…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by www.unclelees.com
October 20, 2014 2486

Man Charged for Assaulting Pregnant Wife

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 21, 2014 2039

UPDATE: Pedestrian Struck by Vehicle on Shamrock…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Officer C.P. Haynie
October 20, 2014 1795

Man Arrested for Shoplifting, Assaulting Police…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 20, 2014 1654

Hopkins County Sheriff's Arrest Reports Released

in Hopkins News by Sheila Hopper
October 20, 2014 1549

Hopkins County Board of Education Recognizes…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
October 20, 2014 1525

Paul Simon Headlines COPD Tribute for Phil Everly

in Top News For All Sites by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
October 20, 2014 1509

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 20, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 20, 2014 1449

Muhlenberg Community Hospital Prepares for…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Erin Warren
October 20, 2014 1367

KU and LG&E to Fund Qualified Tree-Planting…

in General News For All Sites by Cliff Feltham

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss