This watershed is home to 43 endemic species, including the state’s only endemic mussel, the Kentucky Creekshell (Villosa ortmanni). Eight endemic fish species are found in the Green including: Kentucky darter (Etheostoma rafinesqui), Highland Rim Darter (Etheostoma kantuckeense), and Blackfin sucker (Thoburnia atripinnis). Restoration will benefit ORBFHP signature species for both Medium and Large Rivers including: Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu), Spotted Bass (Micropterus punctalatus), Tippecanoe Darter (Etheostoma tippecanoe), Sauger (Sander canadensis), and multiple federally threatened and endangered mussels [Rink Pink (Obavaria retusa), Rough Pigtoe (Pleurobema plenum), Pink Mucket (Lampsilis abrupta), Northern Riffleshell (Epioblasma torulosa rangiana)]. The project site also falls within the highest priority Conservation Area for both Fish and Mussels within Kentucky’s State Wildlife Action Plan.
Removing Lock and Dam #5 and #6 on the main stem of the Green River and restoring connectivity between the Green and Barren Rivers by removing Barren Lock and Dam #1 are part of a watershed scale, partner-driven effort to improve the natural hydrology of the Green River Watershed. Removal of these barriers represents one of the largest watershed scale restoration efforts ever undertaken in Kentucky and the nation. Agricultural best management practices are also being advanced on a watershed-scale basis thanks to a long-standing partnership between TNC and NRCS, with priority efforts towards nutrient reduction, soil health, and sustainable agriculture throughout the entire basin. The Corps of Engineers in investigating modifications to reservoir releases from Barren River, Rough River and Nolin Lake for ecological and other environmental benefits similar to those implemented at Green River Lake in establishing the nation’s first Sustainable Rivers Project.
TNC will utilize private consultant(s) and partner resources to evaluate the following: Biological– Assessment of fisheries, wetlands, aquatic nuisance species, and federally threatened and endangered species and evaluation of existing mussel communities (TNC and KDFWR). Human and Political Environment – Assessment of land ownership, water intakes and withdrawals, irrigation and political environment, and impact upon recreational boating (consultant and/or Corps of Engineers) Bathymetry- (consultant and/or Corps of Engineers) Sediment Volume & Chemistry (consultant) Design & Construction Costs (consultant) Demolition Alternatives & Comparisons (consultant) Water Volume & Flow Frequency (consultant) Water Uses/Volume of Uses