Contractors working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District install a 23-foot-tall concrete shaft enclosure weighing approximately 120,000 pounds as part of the guard wall at the Monongahela River Locks and Dam 4 in Charleroi, Pennsylvania, Nov. 16, 2023.

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USACE hosts workshop to help improve the future of the Green River Basin

Louisville District
Published Sept. 1, 2023
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District, along with national, state and local partners came together to discuss environmental opportunities present within the Green River Basin

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District, along with national, state and local partners came together to discuss environmental opportunities present within the Green River Basin as part of the Green River Basin Sustainable Rivers Program in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, Aug. 29-31, 2023.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District, along with national, state and local partners came together to discuss environmental opportunities present within the Green River Basin as part of the Green River Basin Sustainable Rivers Program, also known as SRP. The workshop was held at Mammoth Cave National Park in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, Aug. 29-31. 
“The goal of the workshop was to gather our stakeholders together to identify ecosystem problems and opportunities within the basin, including those that could be addressed by the SRP, and to work towards establishing a new ecological baseline condition for the basin,” said Jenny Stromberg, Louisville District project manager.

Participants from USACE Nashville District, St. Paul District, Institute for Water Resources, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves, Kentucky Division of Water, Kentucky Rural Water Association, Western Kentucky University, and others partnered with the Louisville District for the workshop.

The Sustainable Rivers Program is an ongoing nationwide partnership between USACE and TNC to improve the health and life of rivers in part by changing the operations of USACE dams, while maintaining or enhancing project benefits.

“I thought the workshop went really well,” Stromberg said. “Several people described the discussions and ideas that came out of the workshop as inspirational.”

The three-day event included presentations about the program, the history of the green river basin, USACE capabilities, breakout sessions and field trips. 

“My favorite part of the workshop was getting to see the entire three days unfold,” Stromberg said. “It was a humbling experience to be a part of such an outstanding team and seeing firsthand all the hard work, energy, and passion the team and partners invested over this past year to make this workshop possible. Seeing it all come together and the positive response from the participants – it was rewarding to get to see new relationships made and ideas created – all for the future of the Green River Basin.”

The Green River is a 384-mile-long tributary of the Ohio River that rises in Lincoln County in Southcentral Kentucky. With its karstic landforms, the Green River is home to more than 70 species of mussels (21 imperiled, 11 listed) and 152 species of fish (seven endemic, 12 globally rare), Green River has one of the richest aquatic collections in the nation.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky constructed a series of lock and dams on the Green River to support navigation in the mid-1800's and in the early 1900's. One lock and dam was also constructed on the Barren River in the 1930's. A number of these lock and dams were congressionally deauthorized and have been subsequently removed, or partially removed, through partnerships with USFWS, USACE, Kentucky Waterways Alliance and TNC. 

These lock and dam removals allow for improved passage and the restoration of instream habitat for aquatic organisms in the river system. The need for a healthy watershed not only benefits the environment, but also benefits water supply, recreation and tourism, flood risk management and economic development, according to the team.
From this workshop, a final report will be produced to summarize a prioritized list of potential ecosystem projects, resources and studies that would improve the health and sustainability of GRB aquatic ecosystems.

Approximately 60 people participated in the workshop. 

“From initial development to execution, this workshop was an amazing experience. It is incredible to look back and consider how many moving parts and how many partners from all levels and organizations came together to support this effort from across the country,” Stromberg said. “The relationships, partnerships, and ideas that developed out of this will be critical to the future of the Green River Basin. Each partner with their own area of expertise is helping to lay the foundation for the future of the basin right now. We have essentially started creating a central hub of partners, knowledge, and capabilities, that can be utilized as we move forward and continue to define the future of the Green River Basin.”


Chick Lock

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