The Otter Creek
watershed covers north-central Madison County. The land is in the outer
subregion of the Bluegrass physiographic region, characterized by undulating
terrain, moderate to rapid surface runoff, and moderate rates of groundwater
drainage. Parts of the watershed lie over interbedded shales and limestones
(these are 20% limestone; water conduction is poor because of the clay content
of the shale). Other areas are underlain by interbedded limestones and shales
(>20% limestone, allowing groundwater flow where the clay content is low
Waterways. Otter Creek empties into the Kentucky River at Ford. Among
the creeks that feed it are Hicks Branch, Tribble Branch, East and West Forks
Otter Creek, Lost Fork, and Stony Run.
Land and water use. Land in the watershed is about 85% agricultural;
the rest of the land is divided roughly equally among commercial, residential,
and rural wooded categories. Six businesses and organizations hold permits for
discharges into the creeks. See tables for details.
Agency data assessment. The assessed creek segments in this watershed
include one (East Fork Otter Creek) that only partially supports its designated
uses, based on biological and/or water-quality data. Excess nutrients contribute
to the impairment of the stream. 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. Two volunteer sites were sampled in 1999. One, on
Dreaming Creek, had high levels of bacteria indicative of fecal contamination
(above 200 colonies/ml). See tables for details.