Army Corps of Engineers removes Green River Lock and Dam #6


When there’s a hole in your dam
sometimes the best thing to do is tear it down. That’s what a multi-agency team
did to Lock & Dam #6 on the Green River near Brownsville, Kentucky.
This facility began operating in 1906. Like others of its kind, it was born of a
simple need to move commodities up and down the river. Demand for commercial
navigation on the Green declined, and in 1951 the Army Corps of Engineers
closed the facility for good. After years of slow deterioration, in November 2016 a large hole developed in the dam near the lock wall. This hole created a hydraulic force
that was hazardous to people who could get pulled underwater and trapped. Through the winter with warm weather rapidly approaching and paddlers looking
forward to getting out on the water, the public safety risks mounted. With funding
and technical support from the Corps of Engineers and dam removal experts from
the US Fish and Wildlife Service, a team came together to remove the dam before
anyone could get hurt. The team began chipping away at the
dam on March 27, 2017 and worked tirelessly only pausing when daylight and river conditions failed them. Over the next 17 days the team broke apart the concrete and used the rubble as a
work pad to move across the river. Breaking apart the lock chamber
walls was an especially delicate task. Thankfully the team was able to complete
the work safely as well as quickly. For the first time in 111 years the river
flows freely in this area of Kentucky. With this section of river returning to
pre-impoundment characteristics, many environmental benefits are expected. The Green River is one of the most biodiverse rivers in the country. It is
home to more than 150 fish species and more than 70 mussel and endangered species. Congress directed the next steps for the former lock and dam site, which were signed into law by President Obama on December 16, 2016. The land on the west side will be added to Mammoth Cave National Park. On the east side the land will be conveyed to the Commonwealth of Kentucky for conservation and public recreation. We thank everyone who helped complete this project safely and quickly. Organizations that contributed to this project include Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Kentucky Waterways Alliance,
the National Park Service, the Nature Conservancy, US Army Corps of Engineers,
and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

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