Dam on Doe Creek near Blue Springs Cave, TN?

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Dam on Doe Creek near Blue Springs Cave, TN?

Postby Don Cuevas » Jun 28, 2011 2:41 pm

I just received an email from an old family friend, who, as it happens, owns some acreage overlying Blue Springs Cave, TN. This property does not include an entrance.
This is what she wrote, and this is all I know about the subject at this point. I've never been to either the cave or the property.
Recently we read an article in our Sparta, TN newspaper about a company from Boston that has applied for permits to study the feasibility of building a dam on Doe Creek. That area is above the large cave under our property that is still being mapped out. I believe you said that you have been in it in the past. We have no idea how the dam would affect the cave, but thought you might like to alert some of your spelunking friends. We are sending out feelers to get more information from a lawyer as well as friends and land owners in the area. The request for the feasibility study is the beginning of a 5 year process according to the article, so we have plenty of time to learn more, but I believe in beginning right away.


I have asked her for the name of the newspaper and for the date the article appeared.

That's all for now, from Michoacán, México.

Saludos,
Don Cuevas
(Mike Warshauer)
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Re: Dam on Doe Creek near Blue Springs Cave, TN?

Postby John Lovaas » Jun 28, 2011 5:56 pm

http://www.spartaexpositor.com/articles ... 573515.txt

The Doe Creek application:

http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/common/o ... =12663280#

and the Wildcat Creek application:

http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/common/o ... =12663274#

Looks like Reliable Storage 1 LLC (and Reliable Storage 2 LLC) has all sorts of plans for Tennessee... ;-(

As of 6:00PM Eastern TIme today, there is no corporation or LLC named "Reliable Storage" registered in Massachusetts-

http://corp.sec.state.ma.us/corp/corpse ... hinput.asp

The LLCs are likely shells for Free Flow Power-

http://free-flow-power.com/AboutUs.html
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Re: Dam on Doe Creek near Blue Springs Cave, TN?

Postby tncaver » Jun 28, 2011 6:49 pm

I too read that article in the Sparta Expositor. I was disappointed that the news article did not include a map to show exactly where
those dams are being proposed. I do know that LARGE earthen dams are known for failures around the country. The US can use more
clean electric power but it needs to be safe power. I'm sure some landowners may also be worried about the use of imminent domain
to take their land. I don't blame them.
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Re: Dam on Doe Creek near Blue Springs Cave, TN?

Postby nathanroser » Jun 28, 2011 9:47 pm

If the lake formed is over cave passages it will probably over time raise the water table and flood parts of it. My Dad a long time ago before I was born lived in TN for about 2 years. There was some cave he went in that had a stream canyon with an upper and lower entrance, however he said a through trip is now not possible since the lower portion got flooded by a lake. I know nothing of Blue Spring's hydrology but I imagine a rise in water level could also do weird things besides just flooding in such a large complex system.
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Re: Dam on Doe Creek near Blue Springs Cave, TN?

Postby boreholio » Jun 28, 2011 11:56 pm

There are at least two swallets in Geer Cove (Doe Creek) and the S survey goes almost all the way to one. The S survey averages about 4-5' high and 20 - 30' wide so if the proposed lake(s) plan are over it, the dam literally won't hold water.

I wonder if they have any idea that TAG's longest cave is there or know much about the geology. They're talking about a 5 year plan to implement so we have some time to fight this ill conceived plan.
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Re: Dam on Doe Creek near Blue Springs Cave, TN?

Postby rchrds » Jun 29, 2011 4:38 am

If someone happens along more information relating to this project, please direct them to either myself or Mike Rogers, as we are both managing the complete map of Blue Spring at the moment, and can accurately overlay the cave in 2D or 3D under the appropriate areas with the latest survey. It is likely that the people who are planning these developments have no idea the cave is under their proposals, and much worse thing can happen than just leaking into the cave- it is more likely they will pump concrete into the leaky areas.

Thanks, and I will copy any traffic to Mike Rogers.

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Re: Dam on Doe Creek near Blue Springs Cave, TN?

Postby tncaver » Jun 29, 2011 8:27 am

I suspect the dams would be located on top of the plateau rather than below the escarpment as the top is nearly flat or gently sloping and the rock is nearly impenetrable. Below, the escarpment is not only extremely steep but karsty and probably would not hold water. Both of the creeks mentioned start out on top of the plateau long before they pour over the escarpment. Of course the proposed dams could also be built at the bottom of the plateau in the coves. That
area is very karsty but sediment and clay deposits might be able to hold water near the mouth of the coves.
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Re: Dam on Doe Creek near Blue Springs Cave, TN?

Postby John Lovaas » Jun 29, 2011 8:46 am

Here's the text of the Doe Creek filing-

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION
Reliable Storage 1 LLC Project No. 14151-000
NOTICE OF PRELIMINARY PERMIT APPLICATION ACCEPTED FOR FILING
AND SOLICITING COMMENTS, MOTIONS TO INTERVENE, AND COMPETING
APPLICATIONS
(May 18, 2011)
On March 25, 2011, Reliable Storage 1 LLC filed an application, pursuant to section
4(f) of the Federal Power Act, proposing to study the feasibility of hydropower near the town
of Ravenscroft, on Doe Creek, in White and Putnam Counties, Tennessee. The sole purpose
of a preliminary permit, if issued, is to grant the permit holder priority to file a license
application during the permit term. A preliminary permit does not authorize the permit holder
to perform any land-disturbing activities or otherwise enter upon lands or waters owned by
others without the owners’ express permission.
The proposed pumped storage project would consist of the following: (1) a 70-foothigh,
7,500-foot-long earth embankment dam; (2) an upper reservoir with a surface area
of 100 acres and an 7,100 acre-foot storage capacity; (3) a 150-foot-high, 1,300-foot-long
earth embankment dam creating; (4) a lower reservoir with a surface area of 150 acres
and an 10,500 acre-foot storage capacity; (5) one 30-foot-diameter, 5,800-foot-long
penstock; (6) a bifurcation to three penstocks each 16-foot-diameter, and 100-foot-long;
(7) an underground powerhouse/pumping station containing three pump/generating units
with a total generating capacity of 600 megawatts; (8) a 30-foot-diameter, 850-foot-long
tailrace tunnel; (9) a 24-foot-diameter, 1,500-foot-long access tunnel; (10) a substation;
and (11) a 12.8-mile-long, 500 kV transmission line to an existing distribution line. The
proposed project would have an average annual generation of 1,500,000 megawatt-hours
(MWh), which would be sold to a local utility.
Applicant Contact: Mr. Daniel R. Irvin, Free Flow Power Corporation, 239
Causeway Street Suite 300, Boston MA 01244; phone (978) 252-7631.
FERC Contact: Michael Spencer, (202) 502-6093.
Deadline for filing comments, motions to intervene, competing applications
(without notices of intent), or notices of intent to file competing applications: 60 days
from the issuance of this notice. Competing applications and notices of intent must meet
the requirements of 18 CFR 4.36. Comments, motions to intervene, notices of intent, and
competing applications may be filed electronically via the Internet. See 18 CFR
20110518-3045 FERC PDF (Unofficial) 05/18/2011

and the Wildcat Creek filinf-

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION
Reliable Storage 1 LLC Project No. 14150-000
NOTICE OF PRELIMINARY PERMIT APPLICATION ACCEPTED FOR FILING
AND SOLICITING COMMENTS, MOTIONS TO INTERVENE, AND COMPETING
APPLICATIONS
(May 18, 2011)
On March 25, 2011, Reliable Storage 1 LLC filed an application, pursuant to section
4(f) of the Federal Power Act, proposing to study the feasibility of hydropower near the town
of Sparta, on Wildcat Creek, in White County, Tennessee. The sole purpose of a preliminary
permit, if issued, is to grant the permit holder priority to file a license application during the
permit term. A preliminary permit does not authorize the permit holder to perform any landdisturbing
activities or otherwise enter upon lands or waters owned by others without the
owners’ express permission.
The proposed pumped storage project would consist of the following: (1) a 70-foothigh,
7,500-foot-long earth embankment dam; (2) an upper reservoir with a surface area
of 100 acres and an 7,100 acre-foot storage capacity; (3) a 120-foot-high, 7,430-foot-long
earth embankment dam creating; (4) a lower reservoir with a surface area of 101 acres
and an 7,594 acre-foot storage capacity; (5) one 30-foot-diameter, 6,800-foot-long
penstock; (6) a bifurcation to three penstocks each 16-foot-diameter, and 100-foot-long;
(7) an underground powerhouse/pumping station containing three pump/generating units
with a total generating capacity of 700 megawatts; (8) a 30-foot-diameter, 1,200-footlong
tailrace tunnel; (9) a 24-foot-diameter, 1,000-foot-long access tunnel; (10) a
substation; and (11) a 16-mile-long, 500 kV transmission line to an existing distribution
line. The proposed project would have an average annual generation of 1,600,000
megawatt-hours (MWh), which would be sold to a local utility.
Applicant Contact: Mr. Daniel R. Irvin, Free Flow Power Corporation, 239
Causeway Street Suite 300, Boston MA 01244; phone (978) 252-7631.
FERC Contact: Michael Spencer, (202) 502-6093.
Deadline for filing comments, motions to intervene, competing applications
(without notices of intent), or notices of intent to file competing applications: 60 days
from the issuance of this notice. Competing applications and notices of intent must meet
the requirements of 18 CFR 4.36. Comments, motions to intervene, notices of intent, and
competing applications may be filed electronically via the Internet. See 18 CFR
20110518-3041 FERC PDF (Unofficial) 05/18/2011

There are other Reliable Storage/Free Flow Power projects proposed in Tennessee- and elsewhere; you can scroll through the database here-

http://www.ferc.gov/for-citizens/projec ... =Southeast

Seaching for "Reliable Storage" doesn't generate any specific results, sadly- you can only sort items alphabetically by each category.
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Re: Dam on Doe Creek near Blue Springs Cave, TN?

Postby ejohnso4 » Jul 1, 2011 8:48 am

You can figure out who has the land big enough for this on the Tennessee Property Data:
http://www.assessment.state.tn.us/SelectCounty.asp
Narrow down by near by street ( used "ENGLAND" for England Cove or England Rd.) This field is case sensitive, all upper case.
This produces a list of property owners on that road.
Click the map link on any one of them.
Scroll out on the map and go to Doe Creek.
Zoom in to a specific property and click IDENTIFY in the top right.
This will pull up details of the ownership, assesment and property details.
Here's an example only on Doe Creek: Owner- BRADLEY HAYDEN JR has 294 acres.
On the right pane there's a "Click here for the most up-to-date ownership and assessment information" that will give the property details.
The aerial photography overlay in the map is pretty handy too.
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Re: Dam on Doe Creek near Blue Springs Cave, TN?

Postby TNCave » Jul 1, 2011 10:34 am

Hello All,

I've passed this on to our TNC water folks, however unless there is a rare species in the area, there's not usually much we can do.
With luck the engineers will take one look at the geology and run like heck.

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Re: Dam on Doe Creek near Blue Springs Cave, TN?

Postby tncaver » Jul 1, 2011 10:42 am

I hope the water quality division of TN state government will take a good hard look at the proposals. Large earthen dams are renowned for failure.
Eminent domain usage for acquisition of generational farms could have some folks in the Sparta area up in arms. And of course the karst factor
should be addressed as well. Clean power is desirable provided there is no danger to citizens below the dam but the feasibility of this project
is questionable.
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Re: Dam on Doe Creek near Blue Springs Cave, TN?

Postby boreholio » Jul 1, 2011 3:32 pm

Doe Creek only drains a few square miles off the top of the plateau so it doesn't seem like there would be enough flow to generate power on a regular basis.
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Re: Dam on Doe Creek near Blue Springs Cave, TN?

Postby l lambert » Jul 1, 2011 5:00 pm

Looks like it is a pump/storage project. Drain and generate during peak demand and pump in the off hours.
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Re: Dam on Doe Creek near Blue Springs Cave, TN?

Postby andyburk » Jul 2, 2011 12:44 am

l lambert wrote:Looks like it is a pump/storage project. Drain and generate during peak demand and pump in the off hours.

I think Mr. Lambert has hit the nail on the head with the pumped storage facility. Energy storage is the name of the game for integrating all of the new intermittent renewables coming on line. I speculate their motive is towards the storage of renewable power generated off peak (like when raccoon mtn is full and they don't want to turn town their base load units and the wind is blowing in Idaho (if the power ever makes it from Idaho to TN)) and other ancillary services.
After reading the FERC applications, looking at the proposed creeks in White county, and looking at Free Flow Power, it has to be a pumped storage facility. At each site they specify 2 dams (lower larger than upper), 2 reservoirs (lower larger than upper), reversible pump/turbines, and small creeks. So once they fill up the lower reservoir I guess they just hold that water and pump it from lower to upper, then back down when needed, then back up, and back down.

TNCave wrote:With luck the engineers will take one look at the geology and run like heck.

I am no geologist so this is what I want to know. Is the ground there like swiss cheese? If it is like swiss cheese, would this even be possible?

Also does anyone know if there are any independent hydro power produces in TVA's service territory?
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Re: Dam on Doe Creek near Blue Springs Cave, TN?

Postby boreholio » Jul 2, 2011 3:17 am

I'm not a geologist either but I waller around in the dirt a lot. :wink:

I think once streams drop off the Cumberland Plateau and form a gorge in the western escarpment they reach limestone within a couple hundred feet or so where the water can start sinking.

As the gorge erodes into the plateau, swallets are successively formed, abandoned and reformed, creating numerous braided dendritic type drain passages that coalesce into major conduits to active or abandoned resurgences.

So in other words, yes, in at least the lower 3/4 or so of the gorge, it could be swiss cheese.

If the proposed reservoirs are to be over any past or present swallets then their water will likely be pirated and they'd have to try to plug it as Jason said. If it is a pumped storage plan then it would probably have a reservoir on top of the plateau and one in the bottom of the gorge or where it widens to an alluvial valley in order to attain the maximum drop to generate. A reservoir on top would be on impermeable rock but a lower one could be on limestone.

The water diversion could decrease water flow in Blue Spring Cave and adversely affect cave life. A biological survey of the cave could turn up rare or perhaps new species as was the case in Rumbling Falls Cave when it was threatened by sewage. An upper reservoir might prevent floods in the cave but that's not much of a hazard. If a dam did fail the flood could be epic.
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