Geography.The Elkhorn Creek watershed covers northeast Franklin County. The land is in the inner subregion of the Bluegrass physiographic region, characterized by undulating terrain and moderate rates of both surface runoff and groundwater drainage. The watershed lies partly 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. Other areas lie above interbedded limestones and shales (>20% limestone, allowing groundwater flow where the clay content is low enough). Unconsolidated silts, sands, and gravels occur along the flood plain of the creek and on adjoining upland terraces.
Waterways. Elkhorn Creek empties into the Kentucky River in northern Franklin County. Among the creeks that feed it are Sulphur Lick Creek, Camp Pleasant Branch (Pleasant Branch), Gregory Branch, and Long Branch. Water also flows into the watershed from the South and North Elkhorn watersheds.
Land and water use. Land in the watershed is about 5% residential, 45% rural and wooded, and 50% agricultural. Four businesses and organizations hold permits for discharges into the creeks. See tables for details.
Agency data assessment. The assessed creek segment in this watershed does not support its designated uses, based on biological and/or water-quality data. Pathogens from agricultural sources 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 the highest 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. There is a volunteer monitoring site on Elkhorn Creek. See tables for details.
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.)
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