The first reading of an ordinance that would prohibit any residential development in the “breach impact” areas within the Mud River Conservancy district of Logan County was approved Tuesday by the Logan County Fiscal Court. A second reading will have to be approved before the ordinance is official. The proposed ordinance is to promote and regulate the health and public welfare and safety of the citizens in these possibly dangerous areas.
Craig Givens, District Conservationist for USDA-NRCS, attended a fiscal court meeting in earlier August bringing with him Maxine Hinton, Ken Knight and Bob Riggs, board members of the Mud River Watershed Conservancy District. Givens, who serves in an advisory role with the district, spoke about working together with the county to bring about a possible ordinance that would restrict residential development below lake areas in Logan County.
Certain areas of Logan County below Floodwater Retarding Structures (FRS) would be subject to substantial flooding should a breach occur.
There are 13 lakes in Logan County, with the watershed board is focusing on 11. Concern for people’s safety has prompted the board to action of putting something in place that will protect the community. What would happen if there were a great rain, said Givens, one which caused a breach in a lake dam and someone was living underneath it?
The 13 lakes in Logan County include: Hildabrand/White, Boy Scout Lake (owned by the city of Russellville), Bond Lake, Borders Lake, Tommy Brown, Spa Lake (owned jointly by cities of Russellville and Lewisburg), Turner Lake, Hoover Lake, Rendering Plant, Moats Lick, Logan Aluminum, Lewisburg City Lake and Winn Head.
There are currently three residences that are already living beneath some of these lakes which would be affected if there were a breach. The ordinance says that no buildings presently located within the FRS Breach Impact Areas shall be relocated, extended, converted, or structurally altered with the exception that a building may be relocated to an approved site out of a FRS Breach Impact Area.
The Watershed Board has been spending a great deal of time looking at impact areas around the lakes and properties. He said the USDA has completed a breach analysis to see what areas would be impacted around the lakes. The Mud River Watershed Board is requesting the county become involved.
Magistrates Barry Joe Wright and Drexell Johnson both volunteered to serve on a committee along with the Watershed board to come up with the ordinance.
The Mud River Watershed Conservancy District began in the 1950s when residents, mostly farmers, organized themselves and contributed funds for the purpose of sending a local attorney to Washington in effort to get protection against erosion and flooding damages in the area. Nothing was accomplished until Public Law 566 was authorized by Congress in 1954. As soon as 566 was passed by Congress, Soil Conservation Districts in Logan, Todd, Muhlenberg and Butler Counties applied for assistance on Mud River. The Mud River Watershed Association was organized at the same time. The Mud River Wastershed Association served as a coordinating organization until the local people voted in the Mud River Watershed Conservancy District.
“It’s all about informing people about what could happen,” said Mud River Water Shed board member Bob Riggs. “We are worried about people’s lives. If someone drowns it would be horrible. People would then be asking why someone didn’t tell them,” Riggs added.
Magistrate Thomas Bouldin commended Tuesday saying the Watershed board was being proactive in their endeavor. He added that it was a good thing they were looking into this issue now, instead of waiting until there are 100 residences living underneath these lake dams.