Buffalo Lake drained to prepare for dredging

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Mary Alford / The News-Enterprise

Posted June 18, 2020

Over 50 years, silt changed depth from 30 ft to 5 ft

The water is gone from Buffalo Lake in Eliza­bethtown.

The lake was drained last week as part of the Buffalo Lake Restoration Project.

A major component of the project is to dredge the lake to remove sediment deposited over the past 50 years. Amy Inman, public relations for the city, said at one point it was a significantly deep lake and now its deepest point may have been around five feet or less.

Mayor Jeff Gregory said the original purpose of Buffalo Lake was to watershed capacity to prevent flooding.

“There’s no capacity as you can see because it’s full of silt,” he said. “Originally, (according to) the blueprints, at the dam part it was 30 feet deep. So we have almost 30 feet of silt that is built up at the dam.”

Gregory said it took two days to drain the lake. He said once the lake has been drained long enough for the bottom to dry, excavating equipment will be brought in to dredge it.

“They’re going to make it deep again. Remove all this silt,” Inman said.

Gregory said this is the first time the lake, since its inception in the 1960s, is being drained and dredged.

Through a partnership with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, the city was able to relocate hundreds of fish to Freeman Lake ahead of opening the gate valve to release the water from Buffalo Lake.

The city also has plans to improve habitat, create more recreational opportunities and renovate the outlet works of the dam.

Gregory said the city has budgeted $1 million for the project.

Mary Alford can be reached at 270-505-1741 or malford@thenewsenterprise.com.

Source: thenewsenterprise