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.

Featured Stories

Filter Featured Stories

Featured Stories

Three Forks of Beargrass Creek Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study reaches major milestone with signing of Chiefs Report

Louisville District
Published May 26, 2022
Updated: May 26, 2022

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District recently completed an Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility study and recommended plan to restore both instream and riparian habitat within the Beargrass Creek watershed in Louisville, Kentucky.

Beargrass Creek has a 60 square mile watershed and is composed of three main branches (the South, Middle and Muddy forks), which reach throughout the city of Louisville. Historically, Beargrass Creek has suffered degraded habitat due to development and manipulation. 

On May 24, 2022, Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, USACE Commanding General and 55th U.S. Army Chief of Engineers, signed the Chief’s Report for the Three Forks of Beargrass Creek Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study recommending the project for congressional consideration — a major milestone for the project.

“The signing of the Chief’s Report progresses the project to Congress for authorization and is the next step in allowing the Louisville District and our non-federal sponsor to proceed with project implementation,” said Matt Schueler, USACE Louisville District Civil Works Planning, Programs, and Project Management Branch chief. “We are thankful for the efforts of our non-federal sponsor and our partners across local, state and federal levels for their strong support in advancing this project forward. Together, we will continue to work toward our collective goal of restoring habitat within the Beargrass Creek watershed.” 

Beargrass Creek has played an important role in the development of Louisville and flows through numerous neighborhoods as well as two historically significant Olmsted Parks: Cherokee Park and Seneca Park. The confluence with the Ohio River is connected to the Louisville Loop and Waterfront Park, which has over two million visitors a year and hosts events year-round.

The study, which began in 2019, was completed in cooperation with the non-federal sponsor — Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District, also known as MSD — and provides recommendations for aquatic ecosystem restoration of 620 acres and 8.8 miles of stream, wetland creation, barrier removals and floodplain access.

“Our Recommended Plan will restore habitat in the watershed at 12 sites, to include providing instream habitat for aquatic species, resculpting the stream to its natural meander, adding wetland areas, removing invasive plant species and establishing native plants,” said Laura Mattingly, Louisville District project manager. “In addition to the restoration actions, we propose the addition of a boat ramp, trails and trail enhancements, an outdoor classroom, and bird watching areas. The plan not only improves the environmental quality of the watershed, it will also give our community more access to green space and recreational opportunities.”

In addition, this plan adds 72 acres of wetlands, 110 acres of native canebrake, and 120 acres of bottomland hardwood as Kentucky has lost more than 81% of natural wetlands and 98% of all large canebrakes since the time of European settlement.

The project’s economic benefits include $106 million in regional construction expenditures, support for 1,780 full time jobs and $202 million in economic output for the local area.

“The creek has suffered from 100 years of abuse and our work won’t fix all the problems, but in addition to the improvements we are making, we want to show that Beargrass Creek is not beyond repair and hope that our work will inspire more groups to get involved,” Mattingly said.

The next step will include authorization of the recommended plan in a Water Resources Development Act and execution of a Project Partnership Agreement with MSD. Once authorized and funded, design and construction will be initiated.

Chick Lock

Through deeds, not words, we are BUILDING STRONG®