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USACE to provide update on Rough River Dam Safety Modification at public meeting Dec. 7

Louisville District
Published Nov. 17, 2022
Rough River Public Meeting Announcement

Rough River Public Meeting Announcement

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, will host an informational public meeting Dec. 7, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. CST on the Rough River Dam Safety Modification project, as well as the status of the dam.

Date: Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Time: 6 p.m. Central Time
Place: Rough River State Resort Park Lodge, 450 Lodge Road, Falls of Rough, KY 40119
Room: Grayson and Breckinridge rooms

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) performs regular monitoring of Rough River Dam as part of the Dam Safety program. In addition to this monitoring, USACE is in the process of completing a Risk Assessment, which is an in-depth review and analysis of the dam and its foundation. The goal of the risk assessment is to evaluate the existing condition of the dam to ensure the structure will operate as designed in the event of a flood. As part of the evaluation, additional risk reduction measures may be identified as being necessary until Phase II of the Dam Safety Modification Project is completed. The next phase of the project will consist of a new outlet works and cutoff wall and is awaiting funding.

While the dam is currently operating as intended, and there is no emergency or immediate threat of a dam failure, there are some elevated risks until the dam safety modification project is constructed.

“When it comes to public safety, we want to be completely transparent,” said USACE Louisville District Commander Col. Eric Crispino. “We want to have a forum where we can thoroughly explain what we know and the additional steps that may be necessary to ensure life safety, which is always our main priority.”

As part of the on-going review and analysis, the drawdown to winter pool at Rough River Lake in Falls of Rough, Kentucky, paused at elevation 480 (10 feet above normal winter pool) for collection of data from the instrumentation on the dam. Additionally, USACE personnel have been performing drone surveys that will be included in the final Risk Assessment report, which is scheduled for completion in 2023.

“All of this information helps to inform the Risk Assessment and will give us a holistic picture of how the dam is performing and what, if any, interim risk reduction measures need to be implemented,” said Will Ailstock, USACE Louisville District, Chief, Civil Programs and Project Management Section. “We want to be clear that there is no decision on additional risk reduction measures at this time, but we also want to be fully transparent with where we are in this process,” said Ailstock. “While implementation of risk reduction measures will be informed by the Risk Assessment, they could include construction of a check dam in the tailwater and a possible pool restriction. These measures would help to reduce risk until Phase II of the Dam Safety Modification project is fully funded and construction is completed.”

The Dam Safety Modification project is a result of a report from July 2012, which highlighted unacceptable risk due to the dam being constructed on karst geology. The report recommended major rehabilitation to ensure the structure’s integrity and to lower the project’s risk. Phase I, which relocated the crest road and completed foundation grouting across the centerline of the dam, was finished in May 2017 and was intended to reduce risk during Phase II construction. Phase II includes construction of a new outlet works and a full-depth cutoff wall across the dam. Phase II is not currently funded, but the remedial repairs are still needed to provide necessary risk reduction.

USACE will continue working to reduce risk to the public. USACE regularly inspects and monitors instruments to check the health of the dam. This informs whether the structure is performing as designed and could help detect any areas of potential concern. A Tabletop Exercise was held with local emergency managers in June 2022, and the Emergency Action Plan is routinely updated.

USACE continues to be in full coordination with local, state and federal officials and will communicate 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 or visit 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.


Katie Newton
(502) 315-6773

Release no. 22-034

Chick Lock

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