Kentucky River Basin Asessment Report

South Fork (upper)

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Geography. The South Fork Kentucky River (upper) watershed occupies northeast Clay County, and southern Owsley 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. Unconsolidated silts, sands, and gravels occur along the flood plain of the river.

Waterways. The South Fork Kentucky River upper watershed includes the section from Oneida to just south of Booneville (approximately that portion of the river that flows through the Daniel Boone National Forest). Among the creeks that feed it are Crane Creek, Right Fork Buffalo Creek, Left Fork Island Creek, Lower Island Creek, Indian Creek, White Oak Creek, and Cow Creek. Water from the Goose Creek, Red Bird River, Bullskin Creek, and Sexton Creek watersheds also flows into this watershed.

Land and water use. Land in the watershed is mainly rural and wooded; about 5% is agricultural. One school holds a permit for discharges into the creeks. See tables for details.

Agency data assessment. The assessed creek segments in this watershed include one that only partially supports its designated uses, based on biological and/or water-quality data. Siltation and exotic species 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 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. The site at Bishops Branch showed elevated levels of chromium in 1999. 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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