Kentucky River Basin Asessment Report

Jessamine Creek

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Geography. The Jessamine Creek watershed occupies central Jessamine 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 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. Jessamine Creek empties into the Kentucky River between Pollys Bend and Handys Bend, south of Wilmore. Among the creeks that feed it are Town Fork (Town Branch, Nicholasville) and Wilmore Town Branch.

Land and water use. Land in the watershed is more than 80% agricultural, almost 10% residential, and roughly 2% industrial, 2% commercial, and 4% rural and wooded. The surface waters of the watershed supply the drinking water for the municipal system in Wilmore. Six businesses and organizations hold permits for discharges into the creeks. See tables for details.

Agency data assessment. The assessed creek segment in this watershed fully supports its designated uses, based on biological and/or water-quality data. 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. Data show high levels of bacteria indicative of fecal contamination in Town Fork and Jessamine Creek (above 200 colonies/ml). Phosphorus levels in Town Fork were more than fifteen times the level that may cause potential nutrient enrichment problems (> 0.1 mg/L). Town Fork also exhibited elevated levels of sulfate and of some metals. 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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