NORTH OF BROWNSVILLE, Ky. (WBKO) -- After 65 years of being dormant, Green River Lock and Dam #6 will be a water block of the past.
"We're going to fill up the debris in the lock chamber and we're going to knock down the lock walls, and fill that in and slope it so it looks just like this river bank and then we're going to vegetate it, and let it grow up," Louisville District Army Corps of Engineers Biologist Mike Turner stated.
As the Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District, U.S. Department of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Mammoth Cave National Park, The Nature Conservancy and the Kentucky Waterways Alliance gathered to speak about the process of removing the dam, along with how it'll impact the river, engineer Mike Turner says the demolition was urgent due to the public safety concerns.
"If you fell in, and you got caught in that current, you're going under the dam. And, while there's a lot of water coming out the other side, there's no debris coming out," Turner Mentioned.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Fisheries Biologist David Baker says aquatic wildlife suffer from permanent blockage as well.
"These dams have kind of created an artificial pool above them, so we actually have the river in this section that's not really acting as a true river, and it's not a lake so, you know, the fish get caught in the middle and the fish don't flourish in these situations," Baker added.
As far as the environmental impact regarding the dam removal, State Director of The Kentucky Nature Conservancy David Phemister says just a change of flow for this stretch on Green River will improve the river's ecosystem tenfold.
"By restoring the natural flows, we're going to see great benefits for fresh water mussels, and fresh water fish, both non-game and game species," Phelmister stated.
And opening the river stream will open up opportunities for nature lovers and outdoorsmen, according to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Resources Commissioner Gregory Johnson.
"Paddle crafters will have 137 miles of free-flowing stream from the Green River Dam down to Lock and Dam #5, so we expect tourism in this area will really take off," Johnson mentioned.
A win-win situation for all living communities.
While demolition continues, the Nolin Lake Tailwater boat ramp and the Mammoth Cave National Park river access downstream of Green River Ferry will be closed.
The immediate area of Lock and Dam #6 is restricted to public access as well for present safety concerns.
Officials say the dam removal process can take up to three weeks to months, depending on the river conditions.