Community Project Ideas
The Arkansas Watershed Steward Handbook is also an amazing resource. Chapters 4 and 5 of the handbook focus on Improvement Activities and Community-Driven Opportunities.
STreambank Tree PLantings
Tree planting events are a good way to engage community members in a project that beautifies the community and improves water quality.
Trees protect waterbodies by providing shade, limiting erosion, and absorbing excess stormwater and runoff pollution.
Trees for Wildlife Event Planning Guide, National Wildlife Federation
Living Along a Kentucky Stream, UK Cooperative Extension Service
Planting Along Your Stream, Pond, or Lake, UK Cooperative Extension Service
Tree Planting Demonstration video, UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment
Community and youth groups are often looking for service projects. A creek cleanup can show immediate impact!
Litter pickups can be conducted along a stream, river or lake, in your neighborhood, or on public property. Be sure to request landowner permission in advance!
Cleanup Guide, Kentucky Waterways Alliance
Tips on Handling Litter, Bluegrass Greensource
Organize Your River Cleanup, American Rivers (applies to creeks too!)
Kentucky’s Litter Abatement Program for local and state support, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet
Ohio River Sweep, can help with supplying shirts, bags, and gloves
storm drain stencling
Help draw attention to the fact that water that enters storm drains goes STRAIGHT to a natural waterway, rather than the local treatment plant.
Storm Drains, Bluegrass Greensource
Lexington’s Adopt-A-Storm Drain Program, Lexington Fayette Urban County Government
Create a rain garden in a low area of your lawn where stormwater runoff can collect and slowly percolate into the ground. This reduces flooding and filters out pollutants!
Rain Gardens for Health Rivers and Streams: An At-Home Guide to Improving Water Quality, Cumberland River Compact
Rain Garden Manual, Bluegrass Greensource
canoe or kayak outing
Organize a group outing to appreciate your waterway firsthand and enjoy some kindred nature lovers!
Blue Water Trails, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
wetland or wildlife enhancement
Create habitat areas that support local wildlife and provide important ecological functions.
Certified Backyard Habitats, Kentucky Waterways Alliance
Kentucky Habitat Improvement Program, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife
Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Natural Resources Conservation Service
10 More Ideas for Taking the Next Step...
#1 Work with other samplers in your area to better understand your water quality data and publicize your efforts. Your local newspaper or library can be helpful ways to get the word out.
#2 Use the Watershed Watch Data Portal to find and compile your results and create interpretive maps. A tutorial is linked at the top of the homepage.
#3 Contact your Basin Coordinator to find out if additional water quality data is available through the Kentucky Division of Water or other sources. The Kentucky Water Health Portal and the EPA's How's My Waterway are both helpful resources.
#4 Research some interesting historical and natural tidbits about your creek and share them with local leaders and community groups during a creek walk outing.
#5 Find and enhance a public access point or trail for visitors to appreciate the stream, river or lake. With greater appreciation, will likely come greater willingness to do things that will improve and protect it.
#6 Contact your local newspaper or radio station to develop a special interest story on a local stream, river or lake or make a short video explaining any issues and current efforts to protect or improve its condition and post it online.
#7 If issues are identified, work with others in your community to determine potential causes. Google Maps is a great way to get an overview of land activities taking place around your stream site.
· If agricultural in nature, contact your local NRCS or Soil Conservation District to discuss and try to find possible solutions.
· If stormwater-related, contact your city or county engineer to discuss possible measures to better manage urban runoff.
· If septic-related, contact your county health department about issues and how they can possibly be addressed.
· If sewer-related, contact your local sewer district or city manager or engineer to discuss leak detection and other methods of further investigation.
#8 Form a “Friends of _____________ Creek” group to strengthen efforts.
#9 Work with others to pursue funding donations or grants for water improvement projects.
#10 Work with your local drinking water provider as a potential partner. They want to protect your water source too! Click here to learn more about your drinking water provider.