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Buckhorn and Carr Creek Dams are operating as designed, providing flood damage reduction

Louisville District
Published March 2, 2021
Updated: March 2, 2021

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buckhorn Reservoir, Buckhorn, Kentucky, is currently at 818.4 feet or 56 percent full as of Tuesday, March 2 at 12:00 p.m. While Carr Creek Reservoir, Sassafras, Kentucky, is currently at 1037.7 feet or 47 percent full.

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 designed. The flooding currently being experienced in Lee, Estill and other Counties is from runoff downstream of the dams and from watersheds, mainly the South Fork of the Kentucky River, that have no dams for flood storage.

As of 12:00 p.m. on March 2, 2021, the Buckhorn Dam is releasing 240 cubic feet per second. Buckhorn lake is expected to stay above the pool elevation of 805 for the next 10-14 days. These reservoir elevations impact access to properties along Hwy 257 in Leslie County. Due to downstream flooding, we are unable to increase the release at this time. Forecasted river conditions indicate we may be able to begin increasing the release by the weekend.

The Corps continues to work with stakeholders to keep the community informed while managing lake releases.

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.

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

For the latest updates visit: or

Katie Newton
(502) 315-6773

Release no. 21-001

Chick Lock

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