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
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.