Kentucky River Basin Asessment Report

Middle Fork (headwaters)

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Geography. The Middle Fork Kentucky River (headwaters) watershed occupies much of central Leslie County and the northern edge of Harlan County. The land is in the Eastern Kentucky Coal Field physiographic region, characterized by mountainous terrain, rapid surface runoff, and moderate rates of groundwater drainage. The watershed is underlain by coals, sandstones, and shales: this geology is generally conducive to productive wells, although water quality may be low for wells that draw from coal layers.

Waterways. The Middle Fork Kentucky River (headwaters) watershed includes the Middle Fork up to its confluence with Cutshin Creek at Dryhill (near the Boone Parkway). Among the other creeks that feed the river in this watershed are Greasy Creek, Beech Fork, Stinnett Creek, Rockhouse Creek, and Bull Creek.

Land and water use. Land in the watershed is rural and wooded. The surface waters of the watershed supply the drinking water for the Green Hills and Hyden Leslie County Water Districts. Nineteen businesses and organizations hold permits for discharges into the creeks. See tables for details.

Agency data assessment. The assessed creek segments in this watershed fully support their designated uses, based on biological and/or water-quality data. One segment of Greasy Creek is designated as threatened. 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. Data show high levels of bacteria (above 200 colonies/ml) indicative of fecal contamination at one of two sites sampled in 1999. Data also show elevated sulfate and chromium at one site and elevated antimony, chromium, selenium, and thallium at the other. 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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