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.