Kentucky Water Research Institute



The PRIDE (Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment) initiative was first announced by U.S. Congressman Harold "Hal" Rogers and Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet Secretary James Bickford in 1997. PRIDE is the first comprehensive, region-wide, local/state/federal cooperative effort designed to address the serious challenge of cleaning up the region's rivers and streams. The initiative is focusing on 40 separate counties located in the southeastern part of Kentucky that form the headwaters for the Big Sandy, Licking, Kentucky, Green and Cumberland river basins. Also included in the region are small segments of the Salt and Little Sandy river basins. Since it's formation in 1997, PRIDE has been responsible for the funding of numerous projects in the 40 PRIDE counties, many of which focus on the elimination of straight pipes and the upgrading of wastewater treatment plants.

In 2000, PRIDE contracted with the University of Kentucky to provide a baseline water quality assessment of the PRIDE region and to continue the on-going monitoring and assessment program. The efficient utilization of federal funds in improving the water quality and aquatic habitat of the region requires a process for assessing and evaluating the impacts of proposed and ongoing projects as well as some mechanism for prioritizing the allocation of additional funds. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of these projects, it is important to provide a formal monitoring and assessment program based on sound scientific principles. Four separate reports [see Reports tab] have been developed to provide an initial assessment of the existing water quality conditions in the 40 county PRIDE region (along with an identification of the water quality problems) and associated state and federal programs that have been designed to address these issues. In particular, the reports establish baseline conditions in the region for evaluating the impacts of the PRIDE programs and the extent to which such programs are satisfying their stated objectives of cleaning up the rivers and streams.

The annual ongoing assessment program is focusing on measuring the impacts of current wastewater projects on both pathogens (fecal coliforms) and nutrients (total nitrogen and total phosphorus). Because of the non-conservative nature of pathogens, monitoring assessments for pathogens have been made on a station (or project) basis as well as an aggregate county basis.

Because of the relative conservative nature of nutrients, monitoring assessments for nutrients have been made on a watershed basis. In evaluating the projects on a watershed basis, the 8-digit HUC watersheds have been used as identified using the U.S. Geological Survey Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) system. The HUC code is a multi-digit integer that is used to identify a particular watershed. A map of the various watershed assessment units that encompass the PRIDE region along with the associated county boundaries is shown below.

Map of 8-digit watersheds with counties

8 Digit Watersheds with Counties

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In addition to point and county aggregate assessments for pathogens, detailed pathogen models are being developed for selected 8-digit HUC watersheds using a 11-digit HUC desegregation scheme. Descriptions of the models are provided via the management model tab. A map of the 11-digit HUC watersheds that encompass the PRIDE region is shown below. It should be emphasized that use of the 11-digit watershed assessment scale is consistent with the Kentucky Watershed Management Framework Initiative, and will provide a strong synergism between the two programs. Previous and ongoing monitoring results from the Watershed Management Framework may be used to help support an assessment of the PRIDE projects. Use of a 11-digit HUC scale will provide the basis for the development of detailed watershed models that can be used to evaluate proposed and ongoing PRIDE projects more accurately as well as be used in the formulation of detailed watershed management plans as envisioned as part of the overall Watershed Management Framework Initiative.

Map of 11-digit watersheds

8 Digit Watersheds with Counties

click for larger image

By sampling and monitoring surface waters of a watershed , the physical, chemical, and biological parameters of a watershed may be measured in an attempt to determine the baseline conditions of a stream, the impacts of completed remediation efforts and to predict the impacts of subsequent remediation efforts or projects. As a result of the topography and terrain of eastern Kentucky, stream water quantity and quality can change dramatically over short periods of time. These changes can be due to weather effects (such as rapid changes in precipitation) or to human activities like water removals, water inputs, or intermittent pollutant inputs. As a result, it is best to monitor water quality and flow continuously. Unfortunately, implementation of a continuous water quality and flow monitoring program for the over 200 11-digit HUC watersheds within the PRIDE region would be cost-prohibitive. However, by using a general region-wide monitoring effort coupled with a detailed watershed monitoring and modeling effort, calibrated models of selected watersheds may be developed which can then be extrapolated to the remaining basins on the basis of similarity of topography, land use, soils, and the density of straight pipes and other pollutant sources. Such models can then be used to predict the impacts of aggregate projects and guide in the targeting of more detailed sampling efforts.

The impacts of the PRIDE projects will be evaluated using both a geo-political basis (i.e. by counties) as well as a geo-hydrologic basis (i.e. by watersheds). The watershed assessment will involve a two-tier approach: 1) an annual region-wide nutrient assessment at the 8-digit HUC level, and 2) a more targeted river watershed pathogen assessment at the 11 digit HUC level rotated through each major river basin in the region over a five year rotating cycle. This approach is consistent with the National EPA watershed management approach and will directly support the goals and objectives of that program.

You may visit the official PRIDE Homepage at