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Energy and Environment Cabinet

Division of Water

Division of Water
Salt River Watershed Watch

How clean is the stream in your neighborhood?  Is it safe enough for fishing, swimming or boating?  The Kentucky Watershed Watch Program is looking for volunteers to help answer these questions. More than 3,000 volunteers across the state are currently monitoring and helping protect the water quality of streams in Kentucky.

Trained volunteers are needed for the Salt River Watershed Watch (SRWW) to conduct biological and chemical tests for water quality.  The training class is free and open to the public. No prior experience is necessary. Participants should bring a lunch and shoes suitable for wading.  Interested persons may register online at or by calling 1-800-928-0045.  During the training, volunteers are asked to select a stream and are provided with testing kits. 

“Even if you know almost nothing about water quality, we can train you to understand the fundamentals of assessing water quality," said Russell Barnett, chair for the Salt River Watershed Watch. "After the training, you’ll never look at a creek the same way again.  In fact, you’ll start seeing creeks and streams you never noticed before even though you pass them every day.” 

Barnett has been monitoring Hammond Creek near his home in Anderson County for more than 10 years.  The program is funded through the Virginia Environmental Endowment Fund, EarthForce and the Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District.  Technical assistance is provided by the Kentucky Division of Water, University of Louisville and science advisors from public and private agencies.

SRWW is primarily a “synoptic” program that samples streams across the Salt River Basin three times a year.  Each time volunteers measure pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature and conductivity and record information about recent rainfall and stream flow.  Once a year the volunteers assess biological diversity and habitat quality and record information about the physical condition of the stream.

The parameters tested by partner laboratories in samples collected at the three synoptic sampling events are:

  • Spring and Summer (recreation season): Bacteria (fecal coliform and/or e. coli)
  • Fall (Low Flow): nutrients, turbidity, etc

Information about SRWW’s volunteers and the locations of their sampling sites is maintained in databases managed by the Water Watch program of the Kentucky Division of Water. Laboratory reports on samples collected during the synoptic events are in MS Excel files maintained by SRWW and shared with the Water Watch office. Files on laboratory results available on this Web page are DRAFT; they have not been analyzed for quality assurance purposes.

Big Rock Final Report is Available

 Big Rock After nine years of almost weekly sampling, SRWW’s special study of pathogens at Big Rock, a popular picnic destination in Louisville’s Cherokee Park, has ended.

Eleven SRWW volunteers generated 480 data points, which were analyzed for the final report.  The stream at Big Rock rarely met standards for swimming but often met standards for wading during normal flow conditions. The stream is listed as impaired by the Kentucky Division of Water.

Download the Big Rock Final Report (PDF 2.1mb)

Download the Big Rock Report Data (available in Excel)

Purchase a hard copy for $10.89.

 Back to Watershed Watch Main Page


 Salt River Watershed Watch Reports

Synoptic Sampling Results Year
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