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USACE provides an update about the Rough River Dam

Louisville District
Published Feb. 16, 2023
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News Release: USACE provides update about Rough River Dam

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District will implement Interim Risk Reduction Measures (IRRM) to ensure life safety and to further protect the integrity of Rough River Dam in Falls of Rough, Kentucky.

The IRRM implementation is based on a recommendation from a risk assessment that evaluated the existing condition of the dam and its foundation to assess the structure’s ability to operate as designed in the event of a flood. The evaluation identified several IRRM until Phase II of the Dam Safety Modification Project is complete. Phase II of the project will consist of a new outlet works and cutoff wall and is awaiting additional funding.

“The risk associated with Rough River Dam does not meet current tolerable levels in its current condition; therefore, action must be taken to reduce risk to human life and property,” said Will Ailstock, USACE Louisville District, Chief, Civil Programs and Project Management Section.

After thorough analysis, USACE technical experts recommend reducing water levels in the reservoir to relieve pressure on the dam. The Louisville District will target a summer pool elevation (water level) at Rough River Lake of 490, which is 5 feet below normal summer pool, until long-term repairs to the dam can be completed. Additionally, the lake will operate on a delayed fill schedule. Typically, the reservoir begins holding back water for the recreation season on March 15. The operation of the dam will be revised to begin the rise to the new summer pool target approximately two weeks later beginning on April 1.

“These interim risk reduction measures allow us to reduce risk to the public and help to ensure that the dam is safe until long-term repairs to the dam can be completed,” said Ailstock.
USACE will continue to monitor the dam, and implemented risk reduction measures will be re-evaluated annually. Adjustments will be made, as required, to ensure the safety of the Rough River community.

“Life safety and the integrity of the dam must be prioritized above all else,” said Louisville District Commander Col. Eric Crispino. “As we take action to reduce risk to the public, we recognize that there may be impacts to recreation. We value our partnerships with local, state, and federal agencies and all of those throughout the Rough River community. We will continue to work with them to lessen the impact of interim risk reduction measures where possible.”

USACE will host a public meeting Tuesday, March 7, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. CST to discuss findings from the risk assessment and plans to implement interim risk reduction measures. USACE officials will provide a brief presentation and be available to answer questions.

Date: Tuesday, March 7, 2023
Time: 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Central Time
Place: Rough River State Resort Park Lodge, 450 Lodge Road, Falls of Rough, KY 40119
Room: Grayson and Breckinridge rooms

USACE will provide updates as additional information is available. For more information, contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District Public Affairs Office at (502) 315-6766 or Additional information can be found on the project webpage at: or on the Rough River Lake Facebook page at:

Rough River Lake Dam went into operation in 1959 and helps to reduce flood damages along approximately 89 miles of the Rough River, 71 miles on the Green River, and to a lesser extent on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Flood risk management is the project’s primary purpose, but the dam also provides water supply to nearby communities, recreation, and fish and wildlife conservation.

Louisville District Public Affairs
(502) 315-6773

Release no. 23-006

Chick Lock

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