In wake of recent passage of the Freedom to Fish Act, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued the following statement regarding its plan to implement boating access restrictions below 10 dams on the Cumberland River system:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is complying with the Freedom to Fish Act (PL 113-13) by the reimplementation of conditions-based restrictions below dams on the Cumberland River and tributaries.
As directed by law, the conditions-based restrictions around dams on the Cumberland River and tributaries that were in place before August 2012 are once again in effect. The conditions-based restrictions were initially implemented in 1996.
The Nashville District will be removing the buoys recently placed below the following dams: Old Hickory, J. Percy Priest, Cordell Hull, Center Hill, and Dale Hollow. This work will begin immediately. The Corps will also convert recently placed “Restricted – Keep Out” buoys above its dams on the Cumberland River and tributaries back to “Danger Dam” buoys. The signs installed on upstream and downstream lock walls with the message “Restricted – Keep Out” will be replaced with signs that display the message “Danger – Dam.”
The enforcement of a restricted area below dams on the Cumberland River and tributaries is now the sole responsibility of the State of Tennessee and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Nashville District is working with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDF&W) to implement measures for alerting the public of hazardous water conditions and restricted areas.
Since June 1 2013, there have been three accidents immediately below dams in the State of Tennessee. The water areas above and below dams continue to be very hazardous. State laws for mandatory life jacket wear below dams remain in effect. All boaters are cautioned to stay clear of all turbulent waters released from these structures.