Kentucky River Basin Asessment Report

South Fork (lower)

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Geography. The South Fork Kentucky River (lower) watershed covers north-central Owsley County and south-central Lee County. The land is in the plateau area of the Eastern Kentucky Coal Field physiographic region, characterized by rolling terrain, medium to rapid surface runoff, and slow to 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. Unconsolidated silts, sands, and gravels occur along the flood plain of the river.

Waterways. This watershed includes the section of the South Fork between the National Forest and Beattyville, where the South Fork empties into the Kentucky River. Among the creeks that feed it are Betty Bowman Creek, Buck Creek, Fish Creek, Jerushia Branch, Caney Fork, Straight Fork, and Pawpaw Creek. Water from the Meadow Creek and South Fork Kentucky River (upper) watersheds also flows into this watershed.

Land and water use. Land in the watershed is about one-fourth agricultural and three-fourths rural and wooded. The surface waters of the watershed supply the drinking water for the municipal system in Booneville. Ten 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 segment of Lower Buffalo Creek that only partially supports its designated uses, based on biological and/or water-quality data. Siltation contributes 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 a moderate 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. No volunteer data were collected in this watershed in 1999.


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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