From Sampling to Action:
Several sampling efforts have led to group formation, grant funding, or collaborative partnerships that have enabled water quality improvements. Read more about several examples below:
FRWW volunteers have been integral to the formation and implementation of KY Division of Water's Watershed-based Plan (WBP) in the Chestnut Creek watershed. Historical data from FRWW monitoring sites in Chestnut Creek have led to a tremendous amount of success with landowners willing to implement best management practices (BMPs) to improve water quality. In 2020, 15,000 feet of fencing, water lines, and 8 concrete pads with 300-gallon water troughs were installed to keep cattle out of Chestnut and Peter Creek (pictured above). There were also two successful septic replacements and six septic pump-outs provided to homeowners in the watershed.
For over 15 years, watershed planning has been ongoing in the greater Clarks River watershed. Jackson Purchase RC & D Foundation (JPF) and Strands Associates developed the WBP for Clarks River through an EPA 319 (h) grant in 2009. Damon Creek is one of four sub-watersheds within Clarks River Watershed focus area. The plan identified pollutants of concern, sources of these pollutants, and Best Management Practices (BMPs) that could be implemented to address these pollutants.
In 2012 a second grant was awarded to JPF to implement BMPs that would address water qualities for the critical areas in the Clarks River WBP-BMP Implementation Plan. In 2015, a third grant was awarded to develop a WBP for Damon Creek to identify the pollutants, sources, and implementation that would address these pollutants.
BMPs such as repaired gullies, rotational grazing, septic system replacement, and calf feeding pads were designed and installed to eliminate or reduce E. coli contamination and help prevent erosion within Damon Creek and its tributaries. The map above shows the installed BMP’s in the watershed in conjunction with their location to the stream, sample sites, road and the general landscape.
Red Duck Creek
During 2010 and 2011, FRWW volunteers worked with Murray State University and the City of Mayfield to investigate bacterial concentrations in the Red Duck Creek watershed. The City of Mayfield has used the results of the Red Duck Creek focus study to address the bacterial sources that were identified.
Marina Pump-out Stations
Targeted bacterial sampling by FRWW volunteers at Kenlake Marina and Buzzard Rock led to the two marinas installing pump-out stations for boats. Volunteers are still actively sampling several marinas.
Samples collected by FRWW volunteers identified high concentrations of bacteria in the Jonathan Creek embayment of Kentucky Lake near Pirates Cove Resort. This data was used to justify an EPA 319 project to install a cluster system for the Pirates Cove development in order to reduce nonpoint source pollution from failing septic systems.
In 2019, with assistance from the City of Murray, FRWW conducted an extensive monitoring program in the Bee Creek watershed in Calloway County to better define the sources of E. coli in this watershed, and identify best management practices that could be implemented to address these sources. This plan is under development, and is expected to be completed soon.
Big Springs Cave
During July and September of 2011, FRWW Scientific Advisors noticed high concentrations of bacteria at the Big Springs Cave sampling site in Princeton, KY. The Kentucky Division of Water Groundwater Section was contacted to discuss the findings. They indicated that because of the area's karst topography, the sources of bacterial contamination could be diverse and even include areas outside of Princeton that drain to the spring through underground conduits. A focus study completed in 2012 indicated bacterial concentrations well above the water quality standard designed to protect human health.
The potential health hazards associated with swimming in the water were communicated to the mayor, who immediately asked the Public Works Department to install signs warning citizens of the potential health hazards. Due to the 2011 samples collected by FRWW volunteers, the Kentucky Division of Water Groundwater Section partnered with the Princeton Water and Wastewater Commission to dye trace several sewer lines to determine the source of the high bacterial concentrations.