Kentucky River Basin Asessment Report

Benson Creek

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OVERVIEW

Geography. The Benson Creek watershed covers southwest Franklin County, eastern Shelby County, and northern Anderson County. The land lies mainly in the hills of the bluegrass subregion of the bluegrass physiographic region, characterized by hilly terrain, very rapid rates of surface runoff, and slow rates of groundwater drainage. The eastern section of the watershed is in the inner bluegrass subregion, with moderate rates of both surface and groundwater drainage. Much of the watershed lies above interbedded limestones and shales (>20% limestone, allowing groundwater flow where the clay content is low enough). Other parts of the watershed lie above thick layers of easily dissolved limestone that form carbonate aquifers: groundwater flows through channels in the limestone, so caves and springs are common in regions with this geology.

Waterways. Benson Creek empties into the Kentucky River at Frankfort. Among the creeks that feed it are North and South Benson Creek, White Oak Creek, Goose Creek and Pigeon Creek.

Land and water use. Land in the watershed is 57% agricultural, 35% wooded, and 6% residential. Twenty-one businesses and organizations hold permits for discharges into the creeks. See tables for details.

Agency data assessment. The assessed creek segments in this watershed include one segment of Benson Creek that does not support its designated uses, based on biological and/or water-quality data. Five creek segments only partially support their uses, and two are categorized as threatened. Agricultural activities, construction, road runoff, failing septic systems, and runoff through storm sewers may contribute to the impairment of these streams. See tables for details.

Watershed rankings. The ranking formula provides a preliminary ranking by synthesizing a broad spectrum of watershed characteristics, current conditions, and threats. This watershed ranks in the group with a moderate need for protection and/or restoration. This rating is for the watershed on average: particular sites and particular waters within the watershed may vary widely. See tables for details.

Volunteer data. One of the three volunteer sites sampled in 1999 had high levels of iron and thallium and relatively high lead and selenium levels. Phosphorus concentrations at both sites on Benson Creek were elevated enough to cause potential nutrient enrichment problems (> 0.1 mg/L). See tables for details.

TABLES

Click here to view tables for this watershed, in PDF format. These tables include land-use characteristics, designated uses, stream assessments, public water supply and water withdrawal sites, permitted discharge sites, gaging and sampling sites, volunteer data, and values for the 35 indicators used in calculating watershed rankings. (You need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the tables: Adobe Systems will let you download a free copy.)

MAPS                    [You may click the maps below to view them close up.]

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