Craig Givens, District Conservationist for USDA-NRCS, attended Tuesday’s Fiscal Court meeting bringing with him Maxine Hinton, Ken Knight and Bob Riggs, board members of the Mud River Watershed Conservancy District. Givens, who serves in an advisory role with the district, spoke about working together with the county to bring about a possible ordinance that would restrict building residences below lakes in Logan County.
There are 13 lakes in Logan County, with the watershed board is focusing on 11. Concern for people’s safety has prompted the board to action of putting something in place that will protect the community. What would happen if there were a great rain, said Givens, one which caused a breach in a lake dam and someone was living underneath it?
This is the big and scary question that a solution is being sought to prevent.
The 13 lakes in Logan County include: Hildabrand/White, Boy Scout Lake (owned by the city of Russellville), Bond Lake, Borders Lake, Tommy Brown, Spa Lake (owned jointly by cities of Russellville and Lewisburg), Turner Lake, Hoover Lake, Rendering Plant, Moats Lick, Logan Aluminum, Lewisburg City Lake and Winn Head.
There are currently three residences that are already living beneath some of these lakes which would be affected if there were a breach. The goal is to prevent others from putting themselves in direct danger if a breach occurred. Givens said the existing three residences would be grandfathered in if an ordinance was passed, but the district would still talk with them about possibly relocating for their safety.
The Watershed Board has been spending a great deal of time looking at impact areas around the lakes and properties. He said the USDA has completed a breach analysis to see what areas would be impacted around the lakes. The Mud River Watershed Board is requesting the county become involved. Givens asked Tuesday if a few magistrates would serve on a committee along with the Watershed board to come up with a plan that may include the passing of such an ordinance.
Magistrates Barry Joe Wright and Drexell Johnson both volunteered to be on the committee that will work together with members of the Watershed board on a possible solution.
Givens told the county that any suggestions they had would be appreciated.
The Mud River Watershed Conservancy District began in the 1950s when residents, mostly farmers, organized themselves and contributed funds for the purpose of sending a local attorney to Washington in effort to get protection against erosion and flooding damages in the area. Nothing was accomplished until Public Law 566 was authorized by Congress in 1954. As soon as 566 was passed by Congress, Soil Conservation Districts in Logan, Todd, Muhlenberg and Butler Counties applied for assistance on Mud River. The Mud River Watershed Association was organized at the same time. The Mud River Wastershed Association served as a coordinating organization until the local people voted in the Mud River Watershed Conservancy District.
“If it wasn’t for Mud River Watershed Conservancy District there would never be the many factories that are here today and that also include Logan Aluminum. With the watershed lakes, they provided the necessary water at a time when there wasn’t any and provided a way to stop the flooding of land, cities, and businesses,” said Dianna Penrod, District Manager for the Logan County Conservation Districts.
“It’s all about informing people about what could happen,” said board member Bob Riggs. “We are worried about people’s lives. If someone drowns it would be horrible. People would then be asking why someone didn’t tell them,” added Riggs.
Magistrate Thomas Bouldin commended Tuesday saying the Watershed board was being proactive in their endeavor. He added that it was a good thing they were looking into this issue now, instead of waiting until there are 100 residences living beside these lakes.