Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Congressmen Hal Rogers (KY-05) and Ed Whitfield (KY-01) announced today that Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell personally informed them that Lake Cumberland’s water level will be restored to 723 feet by mid-May.
The members said, “Recently we met with Administration officials to request that the water levels of Lake Cumberland be restored to pre-2007 water levels in a timely manner, and we appreciate the Secretary of the Interior making an expedited, 45-day decision for their Biological Opinion, which prompted the Corps to sign the order today allowing water levels to be restored to 723 feet – levels adequate to support robust tourism in 2014. This announcement is great news for the thousands of people who rely on the lake for recreation and tourism, and to the local communities, businesses, and individuals whose livelihoods are being impacted because of the lower water levels.”
Background: On February 11, 2014, at the request of Senate Republican Leader McConnell and Senator Paul, Daniel M. Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, met with Senators McConnell, Paul and Alexander and Congressmen Rogers and Whitfield to discuss the water levels at Lake Cumberland. During the meeting in Senator McConnell’s leadership office, the members urged the agency to complete its study on the Duskytail Darter, a 2.5 inch fish on the endangered species list, in a timely manner that would allow for restoring the pre-2007 water levels on which the local community relies. In addition to that meeting, Senators McConnell and Paul and Congressmen Rogers and Whitfield contacted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the issue.