Kentucky River Watershed Watch (KRWW) organization is a non-profit (501c3) organization that was formed in 1997 to support a citizen monitoring effort. It’s mission is to improve and protect water quality by raising community awareness and supporting implementation of the goals of the Clean Water Act and other water quality initiatives in the Kentucky River Basin.
KRWW was formed through the cooperation of the Sierra Club, the Kentucky Waterways Alliance, and the Division of Water’s Water Watch program. The KRWW organization is also affiliated with a larger organization, the Watershed Watch in Kentucky (WWKY), which includes similar organizations from eight different watershed basins in the state.
KRWW currently includes approximately 250 volunteers living throughout the Kentucky River Basin. The Kentucky River Basin extends over much of the central and eastern portions of the state and is home to approximately 710,000 Kentuckians. The watershed includes all or parts of 42 counties and drains over 7,000 square miles, with a tributary network of more than 15,000 miles. The landscape varies greatly from its mountainous headwaters in southeastern Kentucky to the rolling knobs of central Kentucky to the flatter terrain near its mouth at the Ohio River.
KRWW organizers have trained approximately 900 citizens on the proper techniques for collecting water samples, assessing aquatic habitat and macroinvertebrate presence, and identifying potential causes and sources of water pollution. Some KRWW volunteers have applied sampling results toward their development of Citizen Action Plans, which interpret localized water quality findings and make subsequent recommendations for improving and/or protecting water quality. Other volunteers have simply used their sampling experience and findings to help educate others in their communities.
The majority of KRWW’s activities and supplies, including training workshops, field test kits, mailings, and sample analysis are made possible through grant funding, much of which is provided by the Kentucky River Authority. A volunteer Board of Directors and regional Area Coordinators oversee KRWW’s activities throughout the year.
KRWW operates on an annual cycle which includes an Annual Watershed Protection Conference in February, training workshops in the spring, three synoptic sampling events (May, July, and September) and habitat and biological analysis in May – June.