Kentucky River Basin Asessment Report

Hickman Creek

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Geography. The Hickman Creek watershed covers south-central Fayette County and northeastern Jessamine County. The land is in the Bluegrass physiographic region. The watershed lies mainly in the inner subregion of the Bluegrass, characterized by undulating terrain and moderate rates of both surface runoff and groundwater drainage. Part of the watershed south of Hickman Creek in Jessamine County lies in the hills of the bluegrass subregion, characterized by hilly terrain, very rapid surface runoff, and slow groundwater drainage. Most of the watershed lies 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).

Waterways. Hickman Creek empties into the Kentucky River at Camp Nelson (near US 27). Among the creeks that feed it are East Hickman Creek, Shelby Branch, West Hickman Creek, Wymers Branch, and Marshall Branch.

Land and water use. Land in the watershed is about 75% agricultural, almost 5% rural and wooded, almost 5% commercial or industrial, and nearly 15% residential. Surface waters of the watershed contribute to the drinking water for Kentucky-Americanís system, since the Lexington Reservoir and Lexington Reservoir No. 4 are located on West and East Hickman Creek, respectively. Four 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 two that do not support some or all of their designated uses, based on biological and/or water-quality data. Two others only partially support uses, and one is threatened. Pathogens and nutrients from urban runoff, storm sewers, and 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 are monitoring sites on Hickman and West Hickman. Data from the Hickman Creek site indicate phosphorus levels were almost twenty times the level at which nutrient enrichment problems may be caused (> 0.1 mg/L). 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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