Construction on Bernheim’s Emergency Spillway Complete

By Bernheim

Throughout late 2019 and early 2020, Bernheim was hard at work on a new state-mandated Lake Nevin emergency spillway. Now complete, the new spillway is equipped to retain 26 inches of rain in a six-hour period. The spillway is designed to absorb water that would otherwise rise above and over the existing dam, keeping the dam from a catastrophic breach, ensuring the safety of our neighboring residents. The project increases resiliency against climate change, by addressing changes in severity of weather and other natural events.

Because we are committed to being a leader in ecological stewardship, we took steps to not only meet the requirements of the Kentucky Department of Water, but we also looked for ways to have less impact on our environment throughout the construction process.

Throughout the project, we removed nearly 40,000 cubic yards pounds of dirt from the northeast corner of Lake Nevin. All of it remained on site for reuse in other projects, including the new play space, Playcosystem, which is currently under construction across from the Visitor Center.

Once construction was complete, we were left with bare land that we could replant any way we chose. Instead of simply replacing the grass, we planted nearly forty varieties of wildflowers, including several varieties of sunflowers and coneflowers, native grasses, and more. These plants provide habitat for butterflies, bees, and other pollinators whose habitats are increasingly endangered each year, but whose very existence is vital for human food sources. Wildflowers also require less water and maintenance than grass, saving resources like water and fuel in that section of our arboretum.

Now that Lake Nevin Loop has reopened, we hope you’ll come out, take a stroll, and watch the natural regrowth process unfold before your eyes. Over the course of the next few years, you can find inspiration for your home garden.

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