The Watershed Watch organization is here to assist you with understanding, communicating and translating your findings to constructive action on your waterbody of interest. These general ideas may give you some inspiration for ways to use your newfound knowledge about local water quality to improve your stream, river or lake's conditions.
Click here to see our suggested next steps!
Watershed Watch Volunteer samplers are critical to protecting Kentucky's water resources because they are often the first to notice related concerns or threats. Our samplers are out and about, familiar with normal creek conditions, and have the training to recognize when conditions are deteriorating.
Regulatory agencies depend on conscientious citizens reporting problems when they find them, so that they can respond promptly to address and limit the damage. While stream conditions naturally fluctuate, there are instances when you may consider alerting the Kentucky Division of Water.
Click here for guidance on reporting a problem.
From Sampling to Action:
Several sampling efforts have led to group formation and grant funding or collaborative partnerships that have enabled water quality improvements.
Cane Run Watershed, Fayette County
Sampling of Cane Run led to a comprehensive watershed planning effort, led by UK's College of Agriculture. Several recommendations from this plan have been implemented and LFUCG continues to monitor and make improvements to the stream.
Clarks Run Watershed, Boyle County
Watershed Watch interest in Clarks Run grew into a broader effort that received 319h funding for the development of a watershed plan. The CREEC organization continues to provide community education, local outreach, and coordination of community projects.
Hanging Fork Watershed, Lincoln County
A Hanging Fork watershed plan was developed alongside the Clarks Run plan out of general interest in improving the greater Dix River/Herrington Lake watershed. Multiple improvement initiatives from the plan have been carried out, including the Lincoln County Sanitation District's provision of sanitary sewer connections in the Hustonville area of the watershed.
Headwaters of North Fork Kentucky River, Letcher County
Years of volunteer sampling and the presence of the local Headwaters organization enabled the 2020 completion of a watershed plan for three subwatersheds of the North Fork.
North Elkhorn Creek, Fayette County
Local samplers are collaborating with Lexington's stormwater management program to more intensively sample the stream and stormwater outfalls to detect any issues that may require corrective actions. Read the story in the link to read about a specific success!
Red River Watershed, Estill, Powell, and Wolfe Counties
The U.S. Forest Service and Kentucky Waterways Alliance (KWA) helped Watershed Watch samplers, members of the Friends of Red River, and other partners to further sample the upper reaches of the Red River and develop a watershed plan. The recommendations of this plan are now being carried out with the leadership of KWA and local partners.
West Hickman Watershed, Fayette County
Intensive sampling by Lexington and volunteer samplers enabled a city-funded watershed plan that spurred the formation of the Hickman Creek Conservancy. This plan will used an online community feedback tool to generate management recommendations for improving water quality in West Hickman Creek.
Wolf Run Watershed, Fayette County
Wolf Run is one of the first and most successful examples of volunteer-led studies and improvements to a Kentucky waterway. The Friends of Wolf Run continues to track threats to the creek, coordinate service projects, and have some fun along the way!
Joint Partnership between KRWW and Lexington's Stormwater Monitoring Program
The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government's Water Quality Division created a program to use KRWW's citizen samplers and other volunteers to help with monitoring waterways and storm drain outfalls throughout their urban service area. Volunteers are provided with additional training and equipment and work with city employees to gather water quality data and report back to the city.
This information is being used to identify and address "illicit discharges" of pollutants into the waterways. It is also being used to develop formalized watershed plans for more widespread water quality improvement. More information about the program can be found here.