Kentucky River Basin Asessment Report

N. Fork (upper)

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Geography. The North Fork Kentucky River (upper) watershed covers the northwest corner of Letcher County and part of Perry 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. This watershed includes the section of the North Fork between the mouth of Rockhouse Creek (near Blackey) and the mouth of Big Creek (between Combs and Typo at the Daniel Boone Parkway). Among many creeks that feed it within this watershed are Bull Creek, Big Branch, and Buckeye Creek. Water also flows into this watershed from the North Fork (headwaters), Rockhouse Creek, Line Fork, Leatherwood Creek, Maces Creek, Carr Fork and Lotts Creek watersheds.

Land and water use. Land in the watershed is nearly all rural and wooded. The surface waters of the watershed supply the drinking water for municipal systems in Blackey and Hazard. Nine businesses and organizations hold permits for discharges into the creeks. See tables for details.

Agency data assessment. The assessed creek segment in this watershed does not support some or all of 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 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. Two sites were sampled in 1999. Data show high levels of bacteria indicative of fecal contamination at one of the sites (above 200 colonies/ml). Phosphorus levels there were elevated enough to cause potential nutrient enrichment problems (> 0.1 mg/L). Both sites also exhibited high levels of several 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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