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Buckhorn, Carr Creek dams continue operating as designed, providing flood damage reduction

Louisville District
Published July 31, 2022
Buckhorn and Carr Creek Dams continue operating as designed

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District continues to monitor the dams at Buckhorn Lake, Buckhorn, Kentucky, and Carr Creek Lake, Sassafras, Kentucky, following severe flooding which occurred in eastern Kentucky. The Buckhorn and Carr Creek Dams on the Middle Fork and the North Fork, respectively, of the Kentucky River are currently storing water and providing a reduction to the flooding occurring downstream. The dams are structurally sound and operating as intended.

Buckhorn Lake is currently at 802.7 feet or 24 percent full as of today July 31. Carr Creek Lake is currently at 1047.5 feet or 67 percent full. As of 6:00 a.m., the Buckhorn Dam is releasing 190 cubic feet per second with no expected release change today and Carr Creek Dam is releasing 120 cubic feet per second. Carr Creek will begin to release stored flood waters today at a rate of 350 cubic feet per second in accordance with the water control plan. This is a planned release and will be closely monitored. If conditions downstream of Carr Creek dam change, this release will be reduced to store additional flood water.

“Our normal operating procedures are to release a minimum amount of flow during flood periods and open up and increase releases only after downstream river levels have receded,” said Adam Connelly, USACE Louisville District, Water Management. “Our water management team evaluates all current information and modeling to help inform our release decisions in accordance with our approved water control plans.”

Buckhorn and Carr Creek Lakes are part of an overall system of reservoirs managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The system is designed to minimize flood damages by storing water caused by heavy rains until the rivers and streams are at levels that releases from the reservoirs will not cause additional flooding downstream. At this time, these lakes are still providing flood damage reduction benefits. Since becoming operational, Buckhorn Dam has provided more than $118 million in flood damage reduction benefits to communities downstream and Carr Creek Dam has provided more than $126 million in flood damage reduction benefits.

At this time, all USACE recreational areas at both Buckhorn and Carr Creek Lakes remain temporarily closed until further notice.

The Corps is closely monitoring the situation and will continue to keep the community informed.

To monitor real-time lake and river level information, visit the USGS web site at:

For the latest updates visit:

Katie Newton
(502) 315-6773
Abby Korfhage
(502) 315-6767

Release no. 22-022

Chick Lock

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