The upgrades at the Roaring River State Park Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) rock falls and hatchery will be completed by the opening of trout season, said Kevin Bolling, park superintendent.
G & G Construction Co., of Carthage, began the $2,299,753 Roaring River improvement project in September. Construction upgrades include dam stabilization, walkway extensions and hatchery improvements.
"The old CCC falls structure was sliding out at the bottom," said Bolling. "In an effort to firm it back up the construction crew drove sheet piling in the back and front of the structure."
The original dam and falls were constructed in the 1930s. It was built on a gravel bed, said Bolling. The crew drove piling through 20 feet of gravel to hit bedrock.
"I think if nothing would have been done we could have lost part of the fall structure," said Jerry Dean, hatchery manager. "It could have led to significant fish loss also."
After G & G Construction stabilizes the base of the dam structure, the crew will complete a walkway around the falls.
The new walkway will tie onto the present fishing access and create an angler access platform near the bottom of the falls.
"The improvements with the extension should make a lot of people happy," said Dean. "They will be able to stand right by the falls and fish."
Construction crews are also in the process of removing the metal pipe near the falls structure. The pipe will be replaced with a concrete flume, which will be beneath the walkway out of sight.
One set of stairs will be added near the pump house, and a second stairway access will be added at the far end of the dam structure.
The original project improvements were recently expanded to include a reconstruction project at the south end of the falls, said Dean.
"They are taking it apart one stone at a time and building it back with footing and fill," said Dean. "When they started the project they found that area to be in such bad shape that they had to stabilize it."
In addition to the upgrades at the CCC dam, the Roaring River project calls for major improvements to the trout hatchery.
A new water supply structure from the mouth of the spring to the hatchery will help the hatchery catch water right at the spring and prevent excess water loss, said Dean.
"The hatchery requires 13 to 14 million gallons of water a day," said Dean. "For the last four years we have seen a significant problem with low water. We hope all this will save the water that is seeping through and help us manage the water better."
The hatchery upgrade portion of the project is around 70 percent complete.
"All the pools have been relined and the piping system is just about finished," said Dean. "The inner wall on the inside of the spring pool has been 80 percent renovated."
A second construction project to install a liquid oxygen system at the hatchery will begin after Jan. 3.
"This part of the work may continue even after Feb. 15 when we plan to bring fish back to the hatchery," said Dean. "The liquid oxygen system will improve growth and survival of trout raised at Roaring River."