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Archive for January, 2016

OFFICIAL “FOR” COMMENT ON QRR PLAN FROM KERR LAKE PARK WATCH SENT TO CORPS

Kerr Lake Park Watch has sent its comments for the official record to the US Army Corps of Engineers.  “This is a precise and concise document in favor of the QRR (Quasi-Run-of-River) Plan, partly from us and partly from the RRBA,” said Frank Timberlake, Kerr Lake Park Watch spokesman.  “We have a number of people who have copied the short version off of our Facebook page and the public is certainly free to use this example, but it must be sent to the Corps by tomorrow night at 11:59.”

The Corps email address is:  eric.k.gasch@usace.army.mil

Mr. Eric Gasch, QRR Comments
US Army Corps of Engineers

Although we have not been in touch with the entire membership of the 400+ persons of Kerr Lake Park Watch, the majority of those reached concur that we as a group are in support of the Corps’ adoption of the QRR (Quasi-Run-of-River) Plan.  As the Public Affairs Lead, I am requesting that our opinion and comments go into the official comments record.

COMMENT:

The Roanoke River’s flow has been significantly affected by three dams near the Virginia/North Carolina border. Current dam operations hold large amounts of water in place for unnaturally long periods of time during wet years – causing long periods of flooding, damaging timber, wildlife, and fish. In turn, people who live along the river and depend upon it are also hurt. Since 2000, many conservation stakeholders, resource agencies, local property owners, and other conservation partners have worked with the Corps of Engineers (COE) to improve dam operations at Kerr Reservoir, reducing consequences to people and nature. Today the COE is proposing changing its operations.

Our first reasons are of course, based on recreational and tourism motives.  We feel that QRR will provide:

Improved Conditions in Public Parks & Public Areas – Controlling the flow of the Roanoke River through Kerr Lake using the QRR Plan would help prevent as much water as now that gets onto public parks lands.  If water levels did elevate to where it covered public areas, the use of the QRR plan would get that water off faster.

Improved Conditions for Public and Private Roads Near Flood Prone Areas – With the QRR Plan in effect, the COE could move flood waters off of public roadways and private areas much faster which has to be a huge factor towards public safety not to mention erosion and the costs of road, bridge and public area repair.

Improved Timber Stands Scientific research shows that continuing current operations, with long periods of flooding, will lead to loss of valuable hardwood trees such as oak and hickory. Over time, the forest will convert to trees with less value on the timber market such as sweet gum and red maple. Changing dam operations will reduce flood times and allow oaks and other hardwoods to flourish, which is good news for property owners along the river.

More Time on the River and in Forests of the FloodplainCurrent operations, with their high water levels, block access to the floodplain for long periods of time. Changing the dam operations will give anglers, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts more time to enjoy the area. That’s good news for recreational users of the river; it is also good for the many businesses that cater to recreational users.

More Food for WildlifeAs oak trees disappear so do their acorns, which are a major source of food for deer, squirrels and other wildlife.  Changing the dam operations will keep the acorns dropping and ensure continued abundance of wildlife, which is good news for hunters and wildlife enthusiasts.

Improved Water Quality Holding large amounts of water behind dams or in the downstream floodplain for long periods of time leads to lower levels of oxygen in the water. The fish and other animals are hurt, particularly in hot summer months. Changing the dam operations will improve oxygen in the water – reducing fish kills and ensuring that fish thrive in the Roanoke, which is good news for anglers.

Reducing ErosionLong periods of flooding lead to banks eroding and collapsing. Changing dam operations will reduce shoreline erosion on the river and in the Reservoir, which is good news for property owners.

Increasing Flood StorageCurrent operations result in sustained high reservoir levels, reducing capacity for storage of additional storm events.

Again, please see that my supportive email for the passage of the QRR plan is included in the record and counted as a very loud, “FOR!”

Thank you and best wishes,

Frank Timberlake
Lead, Public Affairs
KERR LAKE PARK WATCH
Office (919) 269-4300
Cell (919) 805-0055

Posted in: KLPW - Environmental, KLPW - MAIN NEWS, KLPW - US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, KLPW - WATER RELATED

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YOU CAN MAKE THE WATER LEVELS AT KERR LAKE BETTER…WITH JUST ONE EMAIL

Kerr lake Park Watch is working right up to Friday’s deadline to get its members and the public to support the adoption of the QRR Plan by the U S Army Corps of Engineers.  Kerr Lake Park Watch public affairs lead, Frank Timberlake appeared on Henderson radio station WIZS’s TOWN TALK this morning urging people to send just a short email to the Corps.

4     wizs-listen-live

The urgency is that this is the last week to make comments that count in the Corps’s official record of the 216 or water administration plan for Kerr Lake. THIS IS THE LAST WEEK TO MAKE COMMENTS TO CORPS.

Timberlake told the radio audience, “If people want higher and more consistent water levels on Kerr Lake, they have this one window of a few days to help make that difference. QRR = better water levels and conditions for Kerr Lake.”

Kerr Lake Park Watch wants to help Kerr Lake sustain more consistent levels to help recreation and tourism and is asking its members and interested citizens around the lake and those who visit Kerr Lake to take a few minutes to help for years. “It’s just a few minutes to write an email that can help so many aspects of Kerr Lake, its residents and its visitors, said, Kerr Lake Park Watch spokesman, Frank Timberlake.  “You need to write to the U S Army Corps of Engineers in support of adopting the QRR plan during the last days of the comment period.  QRR is simply, Quasi-Run-of-River, which means letting the water flow downstream more naturally than holding it up.

As a property owner, camper, hiker, fisherman or other Kerr Lake user, the adoption of QRR by the Corps into the overall 216 plan that dictates the administration of Kerr Lake would benefit you by less flooding as witnessed recently, more public areas not under water, more consistent and higher lake levels because water would be more naturally sent downstream, quicker.”

The Roanoke River Basin Association (RRBA) puts passage of QRR like this: “Restoring more natural flow to the Roanoke: It’s good news for people and nature, improved timber stands, more growth time on the river and in forests of the floodplain, promotes more food for wildlife, improved water quality, provides for reducing erosion, and increasing flood storage.”

Timberlake, the public affairs officer for Kerr Lake Park Watch said, “Our two big points we actually want to insert in the front of that list are: (1) to keep more water off public areas and (2) to increase tourism traffic to Kerr Lake both in the secondary and primary seasons. So it’s now or never, put up or shut up regarding Kerr Lake Water Levels.  If QRR is adopted by the Corps of Engineers, everyone wins.  Write the emails, now!”

The time to enter public comment about QRR being adopted by the Corps, is now as the last date in the comment period is Friday, January 29th.

Kerr Lake Park Watch has both short and long email/letter samples, which are free to the public and easily can be obtained by writing to info@kerrlakeparkwatch.org.  The official and the email address at the U S Army Corps of Engineers that public comment about QRR should be sent to is:

Eric Gasch at eric.k.gasch@usace.army.mil.

Late 2015 and early 2016 have seen a number of flood days on both local Kerr Lake roads and public areas. A Comparison of Existing and QRR Flood Operations — 2015-2016 which is plot graphic provided by Ashley Hatchell of the Water Management section of the Corps of Engineers, clearly shows the advantages of the QRR plan. The only disadvantages of QRR would be what power companies call “water spillage” which means water that moves through the system freely without having generated hydroelectric power.

QRR_current_thruFeb(11x17)

“What the QRR plan does in effect is to move the flow quicker and to allow for higher lake levels when normal conditions exist,” said Timberlake, adding, “And with Kerr Lake Park Watch, really high lake levels are among our top complaints for recreation and tourism.  So now the public can either help make QRR happen or learn to like what’s been happening to Kerr in recent years.  At Kerr Lake Park Watch, we hope they’ll write the public comment emails.”

Posted in: KLPW - MAIN NEWS, KLPW - US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, KLPW - WATER RELATED

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