Kentucky River Basin Asessment Report

Data Assessments

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Stream assessments are completed by the Division of Water in compliance with sections 303(d) and 305(b) of the Federal Clean Water Act. The state lists the conditions of streams and rivers in reports named after those sections of the law. The 305(b) is an assessment of water quality in Kentucky's streams and rivers. The 303(d) is a list of impaired waters. Detailed descriptions of the data assessment process can be found at the Division of Water's web pages covering the 1998 305(b) Report and the 1998 303(d) Report. The Division also posts information about its TMDL program, which addresses problems identified on the 303(d) report (EPA information on TMDLs is here).  

Basically, state agencies collect chemical and biological data at established sampling sites. Specialists analyze the results to determine whether the stream at each site is meeting its designated uses. Designated uses include aquatic life support, primary contact recreation (swimming), fish consumption, and drinking water supply. Not all stream segments are designated for all uses. Also, assessments are made only about the uses for which there are relevant data. The Division of Water issues the reports, indicating full support, partial support, or no support for each designated use of each waterway. The assessment applies only to a certain segment of the stream around the sampling site where the data for the assessment were collected.

The  assessments used to determine watershed rankings in this report are those from the 2000 305(b) report, which is based on data collected in 1998-1999. Streams designated as impaired in earlier reports may or may not have been sampled during 1998-1999, and may still be listed as impaired on the 303(d) report. The last 303(d) report was issued in 1998, and the next will be in 2002.


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