The Quicksand Creek
watershed covers the northeastern part of Breathitt 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. Quicksand Creek empties into the North Fork Kentucky River
near Quicksand. Among the creeks that feed it are Big Caney Creek, Hunting Fork,
Hawes Fork, Spring Fork, and Laurel Fork.
Land and water use. Land in the watershed is mainly rural and wooded.
Three businesses and organizations hold permits for discharges into the creeks.
See tables for details.
Agency data assessment. The seven assessed creek segments in this
watershed include four that do not support some or all of their designated uses,
based on biological and/or water-quality data. One is threatened. A variety of
activities contribute to the impairment of these streams. 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 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 indicative of fecal
contamination in Quicksand Creek (above 200 colonies/ml). Levels of sulfate,
copper, and thallium were also elevated in 1999. See tables for details.