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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 and all testing supplies are provided.  Volunteers will be able to select a sample site in an area that is convenient and of interest to them. 

“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 20 years.  The stream sampling program is funded through the Virginia Environmental Endowment Fund and donations.  SRWW also has received funding for projects to plant trees along streams through Virginia Environmental Endowment.  In 2017, SRWW was awarded a Nonpoint Source Management Grant for environmental education.

Technical assistance is provided by the Kentucky Division of Water, University of Louisville and science advisors from public and private agencies.

SRWW 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 (E.coli)
  • Fall (Low Flow): Nutrients

Information about SRWW’s data can be located in the Watershed Watch KGS Data Portal or directly from SRWW’s website,

The SRWW has generated several reports on water health in areas of concern around the basin, like Floyds Fork and Big Rock. These reports as well as many other useful resources can be found on the SRWW Resources Page of the SRWW website.

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