Kentucky River Basin Asessment Report

Middle Fork Red River

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Geography. The Middle Fork of Red River watershed covers the western tip of Wolfe County and part of eastern Powell County. The land is in the escarpment area of the Eastern Coal Field physiographic region, characterized by hilly terrain and very high rates of surface runoff and moderate 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. Parts of the watershed lie over sandstone aquifers. Other parts lie above interbedded clay shales and siltstones.

Waterways. The Middle Fork of the Red River drains the eastern part of the watershed via numerous tributary creeks and flows into the South Fork of the Red River near Lombard. The South Fork of the Red River drains the western part of the watershed and empties into the Red River at the bottom of the watershed near Bowen.

Land and water use. Land in the watershed is primarily rural and wooded; about 5% is agricultural. The surface waters of the watershed supply the drinking water for Natural Bridge State Park. Five businesses and organizations hold permits for discharges into the creeks. See tables for details.

Agency data assessment. The creeks assessed in 1998-1999 in this watershed fully support all of their designated uses, based on biological and/or water-quality data. However, three streams did not support uses in past years, and TMDL (total maximum daily load) plans for managing these streams have been approved. Brines released during oil well operations raised the levels of chlorides, salinity, and total dissolved solids in these streams and led to their failure to support the aquatic life designated use. 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 lowest 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 were collected at one site on the Middle Fork and one on the South Fork. 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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