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Russell Fork USACE Downstream study will happen!

Posted by jasonfoley 
Russell Fork USACE Downstream study will happen!
October 07, 2016 11:12AM
Im going to post this at HOME first then share with the rest of the world. Folks we have finally moved the mountain! This morning heard from Sen. Mconnells office that the USACE has approved a study for downstream recreation for the Flanagan Dam project.
What does this mean? Huntington District received funds to conduct an Initial Appraisal at Flanagan. This is the first of a 2-part process that is expected to take up to 4 years based on the Congressional budgeting process.
On a personal note I was emotional when I received this information this morning, I started working on this 20 years ago this month. It has quite consumed my personal and professional life and while on occasion became a bit apathetic to the process never gave up. Our voices weren’t heard until they were loud enough and persistent enough to overpower the mufflers of the process.
I couldn’t thank enough people and could double my message by trying but I want to especially thank the small group of Elkhorn City citizens that care enough about their future to not have paid attention to the naysayers and obstructionist even in their own community. You EC guys rock!

Jason Foley

text of original message
“I am pleased to report funding for the first phase of a Section 216 reallocation study examining the viability of enhanced downstream recreation at Flannagan has been received. As you may recall, studies conducted under the Section 216 authority are currently completed in two phases - Initial Appraisal and Feasibility. An Initial Appraisal is conducted using limited funds at full Federal expense to determine whether or not further study is warranted. An Initial Appraisal is largely based on professional judgement and readily available information. The Initial Appraisal simply assesses whether or not the possibility of reallocating storage to support another purpose exist and should be examined further. Should the Initial Appraisal conclude additional study is warranted, the results of this assessment would be used to support the initiation of a Feasibility study through the normal budgetary process under the Investigations (I) program. During the Feasibility phase, which is cost shared equally with a non-Federal sponsor, alternatives for reallocating storage for various project purposes would be formulated, evaluated, and compared and a trade-off analysis quantifying benefits allocated to various project purposes would be conducted. The findings and recommendations of the Feasibility phase would serve as the basis for congressional approval to modify project purposes and reallocate storage accordingly.

To recap, Huntington District received funds to conduct an Initial Appraisal at Flannagan. A detailed analysis will not be conducted during the Initial Appraisal. If, based on professional judgment, the Initial Appraisal concludes the potential for modifying the project exist, a more detailed study evaluating alternatives, benefits, and impacts would be necessary.

Our schedule for completing the Initial Appraisal is as follows:

Initiate Initial Appraisal - October 2016 Complete Preliminary Draft Initial Appraisal - 30 November 2016 Solicit Feedback from Local Stakeholders - 1- 30 December 2016 Finalize Draft Report and Complete Peer Reviews - 31 January 2017 Obtain Corps Approval - 15 February 2017

Given the Corps operates on a two-year budget cycle, completing the Initial Appraisal in the February or March timeframe will posture the District to submit a budget package for FY 19 should a feasibility study be warranted. Budget submissions are typically considered in the April-May timeframe each year.”
Re: Russell Fork USACE Downstream study will happen!
October 07, 2016 11:20AM
Outstanding news!
Jason, thanks for all your hard work on this process.
Brent, I'm sure you were involved, too. Great work, everyone.

Re: Russell Fork USACE Downstream study will happen!
October 10, 2016 04:29PM

I've been so busy getting Rendezvous up and going that I hadn't seen your post until Megan pointed it out. Wow, that is exciting news. I'm not sure how that whole process will end but more scheduled releases on the Russell Fork would be an amazing outcome. Let us know how we can help and great work to you and all those involved. WOW!!!

Re: Russell Fork USACE Downstream study will happen!
October 10, 2016 05:14PM
Jason this is spectacular news! I was at Ratliff when Brent read your post off his phone. I couldn't believe my ears. What a historic moment for the RF. Congratulations to you and everyone involved in making this happen.

Re: Russell Fork USACE Downstream study will happen!
March 18, 2018 11:11PM
The momentum continues in our favor as long as we continue to push to have our voices heard. The relationship with the Colonels and now the Commanding General being a native KY boy doesnt hurt.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/18/2018 11:11PM by jasonfoley.
Re: Russell Fork USACE Downstream study will happen!
March 21, 2018 07:05AM
What great news! Thanks to ALL involved for this step forward!!!!! Although, I am not quite for sure why this should take up to four years to come to a conclusion, but at least moving in right direction. All they (politicians) need to do is research how recreational rivers/boating has helped the economies of surrounding states Tennessee, West Virginia, North Carolina and any decision should be a no Brainer! Anyway, great for East Kentucky, Virginia and the people's of that area.!

B. J. - kayak bum and river guide

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/21/2018 07:07AM by bj196321.
Re: Russell Fork USACE Downstream study will happen!
March 22, 2018 12:39PM
Thanks for posting this Jason. As many of you know, Jason and I have been attending meetings with the Army Corp for most of this millennium once a year. This year, he and I noted that we were the only boaters in the room as many others have quit coming because it often seems so pointless to keep bitchin at them. I have been frustrated beyond belief and have long argued that we don't need a study, that the Army Corp can manage the dam now to include whitewater recreation downstream. They say not, and the reason is circular. I completely agree with Hal Rogers statement: "They're looking for a way to make a living and tourism is the best thing we've got going in those mountains and great streams, but we can't get the Corps engaged."

Keep the fire in the belly and get involved any way you can to help secure additional releases for future paddlers, if not us now...

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